Reinhold Messner On The State Of Mountaineering Today

Reinhold Messner is arguably the greatest mountaineer of all time. His resume is practically unmatched and his list of achievements is well known. So when the 69-year old alpine legend has something to say, you can bet that the mountaineering community will listen. Recently, Stefan Nestler caught up with Messner in Cologne, where he was able to ask him some interesting questions. The result was a brief, but quite revealing, interview on a host of subjects.

In the article Messner talks about the aftermath of the massacre in Nanga Parbat Base Camp this past summer and its impact for future expeditions to that mountain. He also touched on Nepal’s plans to set up a government outpost in Everest BC to keep an eye on the teams there each spring. He even weighs in on Ueli Steck’s recent solo summit of Annapurna, calling it “typically Ueli Steck.”

While the interview isn’t particularly long, there is a lot of information to be gleaned from it. Messner even addresses some questions regarding Ueli’s lack of evidence for a successful summit on Annapurna. As you may recall, he dropped his camera on the way to the top and doesn’t carry a GPS with him, so there is no real evidence to support his claims of a solo summit. But, considering this is Ueli Steck we’re talking about, most everyone accepts that he managed to top out, including Messner. Apparently there are some rivals back in Switzerland that have been raising doubts about the climb. It should be noted that Ueli’s teammates on Annapurna claimed that they could see his footsteps leading to the summit when they surveyed the mountain through a spotting scope in ABC.

Tip of the hat goes out to Stefan for this excellent interview that covers so much ground. Really interesting stuff out of Messner as usual.

Kraig Becker