Italian mountaineer Gühnther Messner died in an avalanche in 1970 while on an expedition to reach the summit of Mount Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, located in Pakistan. Last week, 52 years after his death, the discovery of a boot of this climber on the slope of that Asian peak allowed to definitively solve the mystery of his death, which for a long time rumors attributed to his brother Reinhold, also a mountaineer. , who was with Gunther on the same climbing excursion.
“Last week, locals found my brother Günther’s second boot at the foot of the Diamir Glacier, after 52 years. The tragedy of Nanga Parbatas well as Guntherthey will remain forever in the memory, ”wrote his brother Reinhold on his Instagram account four days ago, along with the image, indeed, of the shoes of Gunther nestled on a rock.
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The June 29, 1970 Gunther Messner, 24 years old, was pronounced dead after being hit and disappearing under an avalanche while descending from the Nanga Parbat down the face of the glacier Diamir. Due to the difficulties of conquering this 8,125-meter summit and the deaths that had occurred among the mountaineers who wanted to climb it, Nanga Parbat was known as “killer mountain”.
And after the death of this mountaineer from the Italian region of south tyrolmany were the voices that pointed to his brother Reinhold responsible for this tragedy. Basically, the accusations said that Reinhold he had abandoned his familiar on the mountain to gain the glory of reaching the summit alone.
“The mountain never lies”
“The memory of that experience is still alive in me, also because I was forced during 50 years to defend myself from those who tried to accuse me of letting my brother die, for having abandoned it to make me news”, said Reinhold Messner to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.
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“Emotionally I live in peace, but that tragedy will always be part of my life,” added the mountaineer, who would become over the years the first climber to conquer the summits of the 14 mountains higher than 8,000 meters and the first to climb Everest without an oxygen supply.
“They called me fraticide by the will of some of fame and money, a true crime”, added the mountaineer, who considers that the discovery of that boot completely exonerates him from the accusations, since the position of the footwear proves that Gunther he was in the descent and not in the ascent of the mountain.
In 2005, in a place close to where this boot was found, the remains of the dead mountaineer had already been found along with another piece of footwear. “The remains were found on the hillside that I had always said was the place where I saw him disappear. The mountain never lies and, if the need still exists, the discovery of this boot definitively establishes the truth of my brother’s death,” he asserted. Reinholdwho concluded: “This is irrefutable proof that Gunther It disappeared during the descent, not during the ascent.”
As Reinhold assures, the two mountaineer brothers had already reached the maximum peak of the Nanga Parbat when Günther died. They did it on June 27, 1970, with an expedition that lasted three days and was led by the German Karl María Herrligkoffer. In addition, the ascent to this mountain had the heroic component that the summit was reached for the first time by the Rupal slopewhich has a vertical wall of 4,500 meters, the highest on the planet.
“I cheated death”
After reaching the top of the “naked mountain”, according to its meaning in Sanskrit, the brothers undertook the return and it was two days later, when they were close to the base, that they were hit by the deadly avalanche. Then Ghunter disappeared under the snow and his brother, who was miraculously saved, searched for him for a day and a night. He then collapsed exhausted.
Six days later, a group of sherpas They rescued the mountaineer when all his fellow expeditioners believed him dead. “When they found me in the valley, he hadn’t eaten for six days and weighed 120 pounds. I cheated death ”, the mountaineer would later say about his incredible survival, which only left him with the partial amputation of some of his toes.
Due to the mythical ascent to the Nanga Parbat and the other feats he performed on the highest peaks of the planet, Reinhold Messiner is considered by many within the climbing world to be the greatest mountaineer of all time. However, the shadow of the accusations accompanied him for more than half a century, until the discovery of the second boot of his brother.
Regarding this shoe, Reinhold he expressed his wish that the boot be sent back to Italy, by the time Günther died. They did it on June 27, 1970, with an expedition that lasted three days and was led by the German Karl María Herrligkoffer. In addition, the ascent to this mountain had the heroic component that the summit was reached for the first time due to the fall in northern Italy.