Reinhold Messner: Great Mountaineer Of All-Time

Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer who conquered all fourteen eight-thousanders without supplemental oxygen, making history in humankind. Not only expedition on the mountain, but Messner expedited to ice-covered landmass: Antarctica and Greenland by foot as well as the 6th largest desert, the Gobi desert alone. Considered one of the greatest mountaineers of all time, Reinhold Messner made things possible that seem beyond possible for mankind.

Reinhold Messner Bio (Early Life & Brother)

The Tragic Story of Günther Messner
Credit: Youtube | MrDeified

Brixen, South Tyrol native, Reinhold Andreas Messner was born on 17th September 1944. He is a Virgo.

His parents: mother was Maria, and his father, Josef, was a soldier who served in the German army and joined World War II on the Russian front. With the end of the war, Josef took as an auxiliary teacher before becoming the director of the local school.

The second of nine children, his delivery was regarded the most difficult by his sister as Messner was born with an overweight child during an air raid. His siblings are: Helmut, Günther (also a mountaineer), Erich, Waltraud, Siegfried, Hubert, Hansjörg, and Werner.

Reinhold’s relationship with Mountain is as old as him. His first mountain summit was at the tender age of five, led by his father, Josef. He spent his early years climbing in the Alps and eventually falling for the Dolomites, his first love.

By 13, he was climbing together with his brother, Günther Messner, who was just 11. By their twenties, the brother duo was prominent in Europe as best climbers. Inspired by Austrian mountaineer Hermann Buhi, he believed that using supplemental and other expedition styles disrespects mountains. An alpine-style mountaineer, he carried minimal stuff during the expedition.

Mountaineering Career

Reinhold Messner mountain career

Early in his career, Reinhold extensively explored the Alps, leading over 500 ascents in the early 60s. From the mid-60s to late 60, he climbed: Ortler (3906m), Grandes Jorasses, Rocchetta Alta di Bosconero, Agnér, Furchetta, Heiligkreuzkofel, Marmolada, Yerupaja (6635m), Yerupaja Chico, Droites, and Civetta across Europe. With this achievement, Reinhold Messner became a household name in the climbing mountains in Europe.

In 1970, Messner was offered to be part of the unattempted Rupal face of Nanga Parbat. This would be the breakthrough of his mountaineering career, but side by side, a tragic expedition, where he would lose his brother, Günther, during descending Nanga Parbat Diamir Face. Not only that, but the victory over the Nanga Parbat cost Messner seven toes that needed amputation. He was criticised heavily for Günther death. On this account of the events, a movie was made, Nanga Parbat (released in 2010), by Joseph Vilsmaier.

Unbeaten mountaineer, Messner further recorded fast ascents in the Alps of the Eiger North Wall at 3,967m (10 Hours), Les Droites at 4,000 m (8 Hours), and Gasherbrum I at 8,080m (3 days) in 1975 at, without supplemental oxygen with Peter Habeler.

And his biggest achievement, Messner, summited the world’s tallest peak, Mt. Everest (8848m), without supplementary oxygen alongside his climbing partner, Peter Habeler. That same year, he made a solo ascent to Nanga Parbat from a new route on the Diamir Face. However, the course was never used since.

In 1979, Messner led six climbers for the K2 Expedition. However, Messner and only one among six climbers, Germans Michael Dacher, summited on 12th July and again without supplemental oxygen. The rest of the climbers could not reach it due to bad weather.

In 1980, he returned to Everest. This time, he would ascent solo without bottled oxygen via the North Face. After returning, his health condition totally deteriorated. Even the medical team at the base camp asked Messner, “why would you go up there to die?” Messner responded with he went up there to live.

In 1981, Messner summited the last eight-thousanders Shishapangma (8,027 m). Messner came up with being the first to summit three eight-thousanders in a year. He did it first, summiting Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), then Gasherbrum II (8,034 m), and ultimately, Broad Peak (8,051 m). Also, he attempted an ascent of Mt Cho Oyu during winter but failed.

Messner successfully summited Cho Oyu the following year on a partially new route. In 1984, he became the first traverse of two eight-thousanders, summiting Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II without returning to base camp, Hans Kammerlander.

In 1985, he attempted an ascent of Annapurna’s unclimbed North-West Face (8,091 m ). After a successful summit, he climbed Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). Both ascents with Hans Kammerlander.

In 1986, he climbed Makalu (8,485 m) with Hans Kammerlander and Friedl Mutschlechner. Subsequently, he summited Lhotse (8,516 m) with Hans Kammerlander. With this, Reinhold Messner becomes the first to climb all 14 eight-thousanders.

Other Notable Work

Messner Mountain Museum in Monte Rite, Dolomites.
Messner Mountain Museum in Monte Rite, Dolomites.

Not only a mountain person, Messner is also the first person to cross Antarctica on skis alongside a German explorer and writer, Arved Fuchs.

Also, he starred in the TV documentary, The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Werner Herzog.

Further, he landed his career in politics as a Member of the European Parliament for the Italian Green Party from 1999 to 2004. Also, he was among the guarantors of Mountain Wilderness, an NGO for preserving mountain areas, both in natural and cultural aspects.

In 2004, he went on a solo Gobi desert expedition.

In 2006, the Messner Mountain Museum was founded. The main motive of the museum project is educating the history of mountaineering and rock climbing, dealing with the science of mountains and glaciers, the history of mythical mountains, and mountain-dwelling people.

Reinhold Messner’s Spouse: Is He Married?

Reinhold Messner has married thrice in his life. He first married Uschi Demeter in 1972. Later, five years, the couple parted ways.

Further, he dated Nena Holiguin, A Canadian Photographer. In 1981, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, Layla Messner. Nevertheless, Messner and Holguin’s relationship turned sour. They are never married.

Subsequently, Messner found love with Sabine Stehle. The duo dated very long before tying the knot on 31st July 2009. His wife, Stehle, is an Australian textile designer. With Stehle, the mountaineer shared three children. After a decade of marriage, the couple concluded their relationship and divorced in 2019.

In May 2021, Messner became married for the third time. He walked down the aisle with Diane Schumacher in South Tyrol.

How Much Is Reinhold Messner’s Net Worth In 2023?

net worth of reinhold messner

As of 2023, Reinhold Messner’s net worth is estimated at an eight-digit figure, probably above $10 million. No doubt, he is living a lavish lifestyle.

As reported, Messner renovated the Juval Castle, which he purchased back in 1983. The castle now is his summer residence as well as one of 6 Messner Mountain Museums.

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Reinhold Messner’s Books

To date, Messner has published over eight books about his climbing. Some of the hits are:

Books Published Year
Everest: Expedition to the Ultimate 1978
Solo: Nanga Parbat 1979
The Crystal Horizon: Everest – The First Solo 1982
All 14 Eight-thousanders 1987
Free Spirit: A Climber’s Life 1989
My Quest for the Yeti: Confronting the Himalayas’ Deepest Mystery 1998
The Second Death of George Mallory: The Enigma and Spirit of Mount Everest. 1999
Annapurna 2000
The Naked Mountain 2002
Reinhold Messner: My Life at the Limit 2004
Gobi. Die Wüste In Mir 2005
Die rote Rakete am Nanga Parbat Reinhold Messner 2010
Mountains: Mapping The Earth’s Extremes 2016

What Is “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner”?

In 1999, a popular album, “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner,” was released by the American rock band Ben Folds Five, which was unrelated to Messner.

Who Was The First Person To climb Everest without Oxygen?

Definitely, Reinhold Messner.


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