You can tell it’s a slow news sort of day when the Guardian
devotes the best part of full page to the discovery of Gunther
Messner’s remains on the Diamar face of Nanga Parbat.
The discovery of the body of Reinhold Messner’s brother looks set
to call a halt to the unseemly spat that’s had mountaineers
at each other’s throats in recent years. The Messner brothers were
descending from the summit of the mountain in 1970 when in horrific
conditions, Gunther, trailing behind his brother disappeared.
Reinhold, who went on to become a legendary mountaineer, survived
despite losing seven toes and several fingertips to frostbite.
However two other climbers on the expedition, Max von Kienlin and
Hans Saler have published books accusing Messner of leaving his
brother to descend the difficult Rupal Face of the mountain while he
alone attempted the unexplored Diamar Face in pursuit of glory.
The discovery of Gunther’s body on the Diamar Face seems to
contradict that version of events and will hopefully draw a line
under the whole affair. Reinhold has just returned from Pakistan
where he reportedly identified clothing and equipment found with the
body as his brother’s, though DNA tests may be needed for final
The friction between the mountaineers may owe something to the
Reinhold’s affair with, and subsequent marriage to, Kienlin’s wife,
in the early 1970s.
More about Reinhold Messner at his official home page: www.reinhold-messner.de