Reinhold Messner guest of DF Sport Specialist: “Let’s save traditional mountaineering”

In the extreme situationsthose that make us feel like a tennis ball on the net, ready to stay where we are and go further, it’s easier to get lost or found. Reinhold Messnerin his long life since mountaineer and explorerhe often found himself accepting himself and the thought that those accounts might be the final ones.

But today Messner, a 78 yearsclear eyes, revealing the soul of an eternal adventurer, thick hair and beard, now almost completely white with the passage of time, can still explain their experiences and emotions lived for decades around the world. He also did so on the evening of June 18th “Face to face with the greats of sport” organized by DF Sport Specialist in Sirtori in the province of Lecco.


“It simply came to our notice then young climber which was first measured by the famous and most difficult routes drawn from the rock of the Dolomites, the place where I was born – says Messner at the press conference that preceded the meeting with the public – when I partially lost toes, I quit climbing and since 1970 I have become a high-altitude climber“.

The memories of this true living legend of a specialty capable of going far beyond the sport are lost almost in time. Messner, in fact, was between 1970 and 1986 the first man to reach the summit of the fourteen peaks that exceed 8 thousand meters without the aid of oxygen. Business in progressHimalayasin particular that of Everest, even solo in 1980, has given it to history and the popular imagination.

“Between the ages of 40 and 50, I left mountaineering to become a mountaineer explorer horizontally, from intersections to Antarctica when we were exposed to freezing temperatures for 92 days a Greenland until the Gobi DesertMessner, a native of Bressanone in South Tyrol and raised in a large German-speaking family, explains.


Messner and Bonatti

“After the age of 50, when my physique began to weaken due to a broken heel, I became more and more involved in the study of mountain populationseven the sacred ones – he continues – I created the project of Messner Mountain Museuma museum circuit that has several locations and deals with the many aspects of the mountain, among them agriculture“.


Messner, from the beginning of his long and exciting life path, who has also seen him busy as writer and politicianhad a role model, Walter Bonatti. “The King of the Alps”which in particular for the Brians and Lombards, as he recalls Sergio Longoni, skipper of DF Sport Specialist“He continues to be an important reference in the world of mountaineering and exploration,” he belonged to the generation before Messner.

His bond, however, which was mostly ideal, still remains intact almost 11 years after Bonatti’s death. So much so that on the afternoon of June 18, “Face to face with the greats of sport” was also seen the screening of the film “It simply came to our notice then. Tribute to Walter Bonatti, the man from Mont Blanc “by Alessandro Filippini and Fredo Valla.

The film, a true documentary dedicated to 50 years of mountaineering, also shows footage of some of the encounters between Bonatti and Messner. Specifically one, unpublished, which took place in Dunino, in the province of Sondrioin the Valtellina farmhouse where the Lombard mountaineer, also known for having participated in the 1954, spent the last years of his life spoke of the Italian expedition to conquer K2.


The film, which from the title revolves around the strong friendship between two great characters who for years avoided each other and they first met in person only in 2004, connects three eras in the history of mountaineering through images. The 1930s of the great climbs of Riccardo Cassinmountaineer and partisan of Friuli, the 50s and 60s of Bonatti and his exploits on Mont Blanc, the Andes and Patagonia and the 70s and 80s of the 8000ers of Messner.

In “Brothers you become” is precisely the visit of Bonatti and Messner to Cassin for his 100th birthday to seal a common spirit and a similar view of mountaineering and adventure. That, today, they take on more and more different contours. Definitely less mystical and fascinating.


That’s why one of Messner’s current missions, which is always looking for new goals to achieve, is preserve the memory of traditional mountaineering. And indeed, if possible, make it clear to the younger generations that you can still experience the mountain, look for new routes and businesses, without relying too much on the means that technology offers today with extreme ease.

mountain-free network

Mountaineering is a cultural fact and not just sports or tourism, Messner says the art of surviving in a wild world where it is taken into account the possibility of deathit is the attempt to understand what is happening in us, it is the strongest way we each have to give the answer to ask what we are doing on this earth“.

Ambitious aspirations, in short, of high altitude, you could say, are in danger of disappearing. “Today the 8,000 meters are ready for sherpa leading to the different base camps of Everest and oxygen tanks – explains the mountaineer from South Tyrol- in May, then, they arrive tourists who climb to the top almost without knowing where they are. They are looking for silencebut 400 go up, fit in and most of the time without even knowing each other. “

“Too climbing is increasingly a sportan Olympic discipline, which is done on rocks that are very difficult to face, but in the interior, where everything is perfectly measurable and repeatable ”, he continues.

The safeguarding of what has been traditional mountaineering, that of Bonatti and Messner, is also made more difficult by the massive use of social network. “There narration and the emotions it flows too fast and leaves no room for reflection and the news of a company – says the king of the 8000 – we have to regain a deeper dimension which allows us to understand to what extent only we ourselves can give meaning due to our life“.

The more I went to the mountains, the more success I accumulated and the more I felt small in front of the mountain.That is the message that Messner is leaving to the new generations. A lesson in love and respect for the beauty of nature around us.

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