Climbing pioneer Reinhold Messner turned 71 on Sept. 17. The climber is arguably the most famous mountaineers of all time.
Messner made a name for himself early in his climbing career. Between 1950 and 1965, he led over 500 ascents in Italy and France.
In 1965, he climbed a new route on the north face of the Ortler and a year later he climbed the imposing north face of the Grandes Jorasses.
In 1968, he made the first ascent of the middle pillar on the Heiligkreuzkofel and the direct south face of Marmolada.
He later made the first solo ascent of the Droites north face via a new route. Messner was invited to Nanga Parbat in 1970, the climb was a turning point in his life.
Between 1970 and 1986, he became the first person to climb all 14 eight-thosand-metre peaks without supplemental oxygen.
The list of Messner’s accomplishments is long, there are dozens of books by him and about him. Recently, Forbes magazine’s Jim Clash interviewed Messner at one of Messner’s six museums, the Firmian Messner Mountain Museum.
Here is an excerpt from said interview: “Traditional alpinism is slowly disappearing. It is becoming sport, indoors on small walls with holds where you cannot really fall.
“Every year they prepare a piste [route] to the summit of Everest. It’s business and tourism, and it has nothing to do with alpinism. Alpinism means you go by yourself with your own responsibility, knowing that you could die.”
– Follow Messner on Facebook @ReinholdMessner.