Stehle struck me as a prim, immaculately coiffed, perfectly mannered mother and homemaker. This was not a new accusation. Eisendle found a human femur a kilometer and a half below where Messner had last seen him, but it was very long—longer than Reinhold's femur, and Günther was several inches shorter than his brother—so Hubert said it couldn't be Günther's. He took me to Villnöss, the valley in the nearby Dolomites where he grew up. Suddenly, he noticed another climber below him, coming up fast. Now he longed for an opportunity to tackle the big boys: the 14 eight-thousanders in Central Asia—in the Himalayan, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir ranges. I did a lot of climbing in my teens—enough that I became the youngest person to make several ascents in the Alps. But von Kienlin didn't want me to see the loose sheets. What other choice did we have? That year, in a mountain hut, Messner met a pixie-like Austrian woman 18 years his junior named Sabine Stehle, and they have been together ever since. We stopped to pick up Uschi Demeter, who was living in a farmhouse she and Messner had purchased for a song and fixed up in 1971, after she left von Kienlin. Up the Schnalstal Valley is the Similaun Glacier, where the 5,300-year-old Iceman was found in 1991. outburst—von Kienlin writes that he plans to go to the market the following day and buy some hats for his children. Demeter went on several of Messner's expeditions, but it was boring for her sitting at Base Camp and watching 30 men climbing up and down. But now there were fresh allegations: von Kienlin claimed that he had found his old diary of the expedition in the wine cellar of his castle, in South Wittenberg. Siegfried invece ha sbattuto con la testa contro la roccia e si è fratturato il cranio. We were having a good time with each other. Messner showed me pictures of the Günther Messner Mountain School he had built in the village of Ser, which sits at 10,000 feet, at the foot of the Diamir Face. A doctor, Herrligkoffer regarded the climbers as little more than chess pieces to be moved up and down the mountain from his command center at Base Camp. "), One entry in the diary shows a different side of von Kienlin from the endearing ham that I was seeing, one that was capable of self-righteous maleficence. "Günther was more submissive than I was, so he got beaten more," Messner continued. According to Reinhold, he and Günther had spent three freezing nights on the mountain without food, water, or shelter and had made it almost all the way down the Diamir Face. It was known for its anti-Semitism and in the 30s became associated with National Socialist ideology. But if this had been so, wouldn't Kuen and Scholz have found Günther farther up the Rupal Face, after Messner waved them on? They were in big trouble. His career was on the line in 1970, so he had little patience for the insubordination that the Messner brothers soon manifested. "We couldn't continue along the southwest ridge either, because it is very long and up and down. Reinhold and Günther had done easily a thousand climbs together, starting as little boys in their valley in South Tyrol, a German-speaking enclave at the border of Austria and Italy that has been under Italian rule since the First World War. He was a few inches shorter and hadn't been able to put in the same hours of practice and training because of his job as a bank clerk. All rights reserved. I have a relic of Günther in my museum. "But he was a strong, gifted sportsman, and he wanted to get to the top as much as Reinhold did. "Reinhold said many times it is O.K. "I wrote the book for the sake of my living comrades and the children and grandchildren of my dead comrades," von Kienlin told me. Starting in 1963, the best German climbers had pitted themselves against it. "I never said it was a perfect diary," he told me. I shit on flags." "I left him because he was a man-eater," Demeter explained. He tried to get eight climbers to the top, but they all died, as did Merkl. He got up and started pacing and declaiming and expostulating, and kept it up for eight hours without a break. L' altro ieri Siegfried aveva accettato, nonostante le non buone condizioni atmosferiche, di portare in cima alla torre Stabeler (3805 metri) un' intera famiglia di alpinisti germanici, Wilhelm Renk di 44 anni, sua moglie e il loro figlio ventenne. In 1985, Messner topped out on Annapurna. Messner was the second of nine children - Helmut (born 1943), Günther (1946-1970), Erich (born 1948), Waltraud (born 1949), Siegfried (1950-1985), Hubert (born 1953), Hansjörg (born 1955) and Werner (born 1957) and grew up in modest means. In conformity with the German stereotype, von Kienlin was meticulously organized. ", But if Messner hoped that the discovery would rid him of von Kienlin, he was mistaken. Inside he had tremendous anger, but he couldn't express it, so he took it out on us." "Reinhold is a very talented climber, and his problem was not on the mountain but on the flat land," von Kienlin went on. Ed Douglas, a journalist-climber who is the former editor of The Alpine Journal, told me, "I don't think anyone seriously says he killed his brother. But it meant that he had to have absolute confidence in himself. Si sa solo che, prima di chiudere la sua sbalorditiva carriera di alpinista, intende conquistare tutte le cime che al mondo svettano oltre gli ottomila metri. Messner remembered the bone. Whether anyone will notice remains to be seen. He has a castle, a vineyard, and several small farms in South Tyrol. Messner rejects the idea that his affair with Demeter broke up a blissful union. "Reinhold thinks he can get up Everest without oxygen? My own Keller is too stuffed with carpets and paintings. I medici non disperano di salvarlo, ma non nascondono la gravità delle lesioni riportate dall' alpinista: frattura della base cranica con emorraggia interna, oltre a varie lesioni al tronco. They are in my daughter's Keller, 50 kilometers from here. "If I had planned to go down the Diamir Face," Messner told me, ticking off the reasons for the umpteenth time, "I would have brought along my passport and some money and a map of the face. (Messner himself has put the odds of his making it at 1 in 2,000.) Il più anziano dei tre fratelli, Gnther, è morto nel 1970. And that's exactly what they are. So how can he be sure about anything that transpired up there after all these years? "But this is not a world-political question. The fastest ascent until then had taken three days; three previous expeditions had met with disaster and death. It was the holy grail of German mountaineering. Von Kienlin also claimed that Reinhold had expressed his desire to make the traverse days before he went to the summit. But Messner disagrees: "Günther and I always shared the work. Von Kienlin claimed that Günther had gone down the Rupal Face alone the afternoon before, and that Messner was shouting down to him. But he must have been a lovely man and merits a better reputation.". Reinhold Messner secured his status as the most phenomenal mountaineer of all time in 1978, when he and his Tyrolean countryman Peter Habeler became the first climbers ever to reach the top of Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen. And she started to cry herself, just thinking about it. Johann was born on May 17 1880, in … Four days later, Reinhold appeared on the other side of the mountain, at the foot of the western, Diamir Face, which is encrusted with hanging glaciers and seracs (precariously poised blocks of ice) that are forever breaking off and causing avalanches. Non si sa cosa abbia indotto Siegfried a violare questa legge non scritta ma ugualmente importante. So I found it surprising that the diary pages wouldn't be close at hand, especially when they were the only substantiation for his claims about what he had been told by Messner. When Günther threw down the hopelessly tangled rope that he was supposed to be fixing the Merkl Couloir with and said to Gerhard Baur, "The hell with this. "Reinhold is ambitious, like Caesar," the baron said. Demeter went on to marry a textile designer named Peter Seipelt, and they were helping Reinhold put together his mountain museum. One of the entries recorded that Reinhold, when he finally met up with the rest of the expedition, had frantically shouted to von Kienlin, "Where's Günther?" In May 1970, the expedition's 22 climbers and their teams of high-altitude porters began working their way up the Rupal Face, setting up tent camps along the way. "This I was interested in," Messner told me recently. "There is still no final answer from the court in Hamburg," he told me, referring to von Kienlin's appeal of the 2003 ruling which required him to delete the special page and other contested passages from his book. In 1953, Willy Merkl's much younger half-brother, Karl Maria Herrligkoffer, led another German expedition to Nanga Parbat. (Messner denies this charge, saying, "Nobody would leave his brother or anybody dying, but in the case of no possibility, you are not going to sit beside a dead man and die yourself. He wore his shirt open, with a clutch of Tibetan good-luck beads at his throat. [A descent down the Diamir Face would eventually lead to Rawalpindi, the city they'd flown into.] The chance came late that year, when a climber dropped out of a German expedition that was going to Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-highest mountain (26,658 feet), and Messner was invited to take his place. Van Kienlin claimed this had nothing to do with it; the marriage was already over. You go down. "No one has seen this, not even the judge," he told me. He said nothing about the controversy for years, but in 2000 he agreed to help his comrades, he says, after being approached by Baur and Winkler. In essence, Messner was being accused of fratricide. Several critics invoked an old charge against Messner—that his brain had been damaged by anoxia, or lack of oxygen, during all those high-altitude climbs. But this is absolutely ugly and not a good example for young people. The mountains became the brothers' secret kingdom, their escape from their brutal father and the stifling provinciality of the South Tyroleans, their way of transcending "the confines of the valley and our home, into which the lottery of birth had thrown us," as Messner writes in The Naked Mountain. In August 2005, Messner returned to the Diamir Face after climbers found the rest of his brother's body, minus the femur and the head, which he told me in December 2005 "probably washed away in the water. Instinct forces you down. He was going to find a job that would let him do more climbing when he got back. And I had to reconstruct what happened from that. Sette anni fa Reinhold aveva fondato una scuola di alpinismo in Alto Adige, dove affluiscono patiti della montagna da ogni parte del mondo, e specialmente dalla Germania. Agatha Christie couldn't have come up with a better ending. Since then, only a handful of climbers have matched these superhuman feats of endurance and survival. We also found one of his boots. Messner was able to move so quickly because he climbed alone, alpine-style—meaning he took only a rucksack. In December 2003, Messner took me to his stunningly sited castle, in Juval, South Tyrol, on a knoll guarding the head of the Schnalstal Valley, which was one of the main routes north through this part of the Alps for a bunch of armies, from Charlemagne's to Napoleon's. After the disaster and their shocked reunion, Messner told him, according to the diary, "I knew how much Günther wanted to get to the warmth of the tent, but I had to think that the opportunity to make this traverse would not come again." How, I asked, had he reconstructed the polished, lengthy diary included in the book from notes on scraps of paper? Messner says he and "the baron," as they all called him, hit it off immediately. The special page had been reproduced on the back endpapers of the first edition of the book but was gone from the second. With more than 600,000 members, the German Alpine Club is the largest organization of its kind in the world and a bastion of conservatism and "good German values." Von Kienlin had not been one of Herrligkoffer's climbers. It was first made by the leader of the expedition, Karl Maria Herrligkoffer, who was attacked upon his return for not going to look for the Messners on the Diamir side. "Reinhold went up on the glaciers, and he did not come back and he did not come back and there were avalanches coming all day long," Demeter told me. Von Kienlin argued that Messner had been shouting down not to Kuen and Scholz but to Günther, who was somewhere below him on the Rupal Face. Günther had started hallucinating during the night, fighting with Messner for a nonexistent blanket as they huddled together on the Merkl Gap, and was barely able to walk. Each of us carried his own sleeping bag and tent, and porters carried the rest, until the highest camp, when we were on our own. "I climbed every [mountain] wall in Villnöss by the most difficult route by the time I was 18," he told me. La scuola è infatti stata in pratica affidata a Siegfried, che è anche presidente delle guide alpine dell' Alto Adige. Norbert Ihms aus Wiesenburg/Mark (Brandenburg) Norbert Ihms früher aus Wiesenburg/Mark in Brandenburg bzw. Except that Messner probably wouldn't have waved them on and shouted, "Alles in Ordnung," if Günther had been on the Rupal Face; he would have made sure Kuen and Scholz knew that his brother was above them. One will only say, for instance, 'Got to Camp Three on June 17.' Demeter is four years older than Messner—a classy, highly educated, very emotional and attractive woman. He had all the documents from the lawsuit, for instance, chronologically filed in a thick binder. Una buona norma alpinistica dice di non avventurarsi mai in roccia quando ci sono temporali in giro. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. Alex Shoumatoff was a fanatical rock climber in his youth, having scaled mountains in the Swiss Alps and Grand Teton by the age of 16. It had entries for three separate days, but it appeared to have been written in a single shot, with a neatness and a uniformity suggesting that it was not the first draft. Later that month, he said, he and 24 members of his family, including his five surviving brothers, his sister, and some of their spouses and children, would make a pilgrimage to Nanga Parbat in memory of Günther. "It was something I discussed like a future dream, like something that would be nice to do someday if it was possible.". Reaching the top of the Merkl Couloir, Kuen and Scholz saw Messner shouting and waving from the overhanging cornice of the Merkl Gap, 300 feet above them. The true human being is not this raptor mentality, eat or be eaten." After Demeter and Messner got married, she suffered terribly from being separated from her kids, and Messner was gone a lot of the time, climbing in New Guinea, guiding some rich Italians up a 24,000-foot peak in Nepal. He realized that he had to show me something or he would lose credibility, though, so he decided to show me the special page, which was in his study. It is the logical consequence if someone thinks. This was the fifth. This had been his real transgression, I was starting to think. Juli 1985, verlor sie einen weiteren Sohn: Siegfried Messner wurde in den italienischen Dolomiten im Seil hängend vom Blitz gestreift. "After the museum, there will be a new challenge," he assured me. Take his explanation for why Kuen and Scholz heard Messner shouting above them from the Merkl Gap as they were making their way up the Merkl Couloir. "If this is a forgery, Max, it's a very good one," I said, and he laughed. I have told the people of Ser where to look in the summer, when the snow is gone, and have offered a reward for whoever finds anything," he told me. The local newspapers called him a Heimatverräter (a traitor to his homeland) and a Nestbeschmutzer (someone who besmirches his own nest). This fit in with his theory that the brothers had separated the night before—with Günther heading back down the Rupal Face and Messner proceeding to the Merkl Gap en route to the Diamir Face. Von 1990 bis 1994 war Messner Präsident der Bezirksgemeinschaft Eisacktal. According to von Kienlin and other expedition members, Günther always carried a heavier load than Reinhold and set up their tent and cooked for him. Part of the conflict was a culture clash: South Tyroleans aren't as regimented as Germans from the fatherland. It was the first time he wasn't obedient. ", "Günther is often portrayed as the smaller brother who was misused by Reinhold like a marionette," Demeter told me. "Everything he said is burned in my mind. The two brothers had crossed Greenland together the long way, from north to south, and now the five of them were trying a new line up the Diamir Face, but they bailed out high up on it because of the avalanche danger and spent several days looking for traces of Günther further down. He sees a porter eating snow and writes: "This is very dangerous, as dangerous as it is to drink rain water without minerals, because when you sweat, you lose the rest of the minerals in your body. Herrligkoffer, who always made the climbers sign the rights to their stories over to him in his expedition contracts, would sue Messner for the very same reasons in 1970. The Alpine Museum, in Munich, hosted a big party for both von Kienlin's and Saler's books. Messner agreed to meet me in Brussels at the European Parliament, to which he was elected in 1999 as an independent in the Green faction for Italy.

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