One of the most significant controversies to ever hit the world of mountaineering, the mystery over the disappearance of Guenther Messner has finally been solved. One of Mr Messner’s boots that was buried in a glacier was discovered by the local people in the Himalayas, laying the mystery of his death to rest. Guenther Messner was a young Italian climber who died while scaling the slopes of 8,126 metres high Nanga Parbat in Pakistan in 1970.
Guenther made this journey along with his brother Reinhold Messner, who survived the expedition to Nanga Parbat and later became the first person to climb Mount Everest without oxygen support, cementing himself in history.
However, before Reinhold became legendary within the mountaineering community, he became embroiled in controversy as rumours began circulating that he left his younger brother to die.
During the 1970 expedition to Nanga Parbat, the brothers scaled the summit via the then-unclimbed Rupal Face.
However, they were later forced to climb down from the summit from the unknown Diamir Face of the mountain when an avalanche hit them.
Reinhold barely survived the incident, while Guenther was buried under the thick snow.
However, two other climbers, Max von Kienlin and Hans Saler, who did not reach the summit had claimed that Mr Messner sent Guenther down the Rupal Face alone as he wanted to reach Diamir Face by himself.
They wrote: “In effect, Messner sacrificed his brother to his own ambition.”
Reinhold Messner always denied these accusations, and after barely surviving the avalanche, he staggered down the mountain for six days until he was finally rescued.
Now, the discovery of the boot in a glacier appears to confirm that Mr Messner was telling the truth about not abandoning his younger brother.
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“People said I left him to die, sacrificing him for my own ambition.”
He added that in 2005, a bone that belonged to his brother was discovered in the same area, along with the other boot.
He said: “The remains were found on the slope which I had always said was the place where I saw him disappear.”
He then noted that the recently discovered boot definitely belonged to Guenther as it had been specially made for the expedition.