At the end of July 1970, two
very young Reinhold and Günther Messner crowned the Nanga Parbat and
they resolved for the first time the wall of Rupal the biggest precipice in
the Earth with its 4,500 meters of height. After, they faced
descent down the difficult slope of Diamir but
only one of them managed to reach the base camp.
This was a turning point in the
life of Messner : on the one hand, he shot a race that took him
all summits of the emchiles for the first time; on the other, what
involved in serious and harsh accusations to fit against those who did not
He was able to provide evidence until many years later, when appeared on
body of his brother .
Today, 48 years after Günther
Messner lost his life in the Nanga Parbat, we recovered this
fragment of the book Reinhold Messner. Life of a survivor .
It all started with a bivouac in the
Merkl corridor at an altitude of 7,800 meters. Although the wind does not
It blew hard, the night was terribly cold. We had
tried to avoid dying frozen based on continually changing
posture and to move the fingers to avoid the pain of seizure.
Impossible! We do not stick eye that night. To evade the
feeling of abandonment and that we were lost, we took refuge
in the consolation of daydreaming. But we did not manage to shake
our miserable situation . The only thing that could have freed us
it would have been losing consciousness or dying. Maybe the
arrival in the morning.
From time to time, Günther played the
face with a gloved hand, leaned back against the wall
of rock in which we both snuggled and mumbled figures. As
if I said sensible things. Did the foolishness count? The seconds?
Whenever his exhaustion threatened to turn into apathy, he
Startled A sigh escaped her that made her clothes tremble
frost and it made me realize that he was next to me. For about
Instants seemed to be alive again.
of the heroism of death, but nobody knows what it is like "
Then, a blow of wind
shook our bivouac tent and uncovered our fear again: the fear of not
already part of this world! The next day was comparatively
best. Not because our situation during the descent by the
Diamir slope was out (conditions were really much
worse), but because when is fighting to survive you do not have
fear of the end. Then the second night arrived. Back to the plain. I, for my part,
He was too thirsty and cold to think about dying.
Günther suffered to such an extent that the only thing that consoled him was
the idea that death would end his pains.
of the heroism of death, but nobody knows what it is like. It's easier to die under a
avalanche or in a crack of glacier that freeze at night to
thirty degrees below zero, without any shelter. The eternal dream is like
a release. But by surviving that night, the
obligation to move forward. Nonetheless.
To find a way by which
we could get out of that chaos, I continued descending first . Y
I did it for the glacier basin located at the foot of the wall,
waterfalls of ice under us and barriers of seracs above. Each
I stopped more often to wait for Günther. But he did not come.
weather. I drank water from the glacier, I waited, I screamed. He was still
without appearing . So, I undid my steps during a stretch, shouting,
but I could not see him anywhere. Silently (I was dead
of sleep and at the limit of my strength) I hoped that I was on the other side of the
seracs that I had surrounded on the left, and that he had
descended there and continued descending. We would return
find in the valley.
"We were in the
most dangerous stretch of that mountain "
Without stopping looking for you with your eyes
only moment, I descended enough to be able to see the two
paths that could have descended, but I saw no trace
some of é l. Now, scared and confused, I struggled to come back from
new back and I saw that in the place where we had separated
for the last time an avalanche had been released . At that time of
day, between 9 and 11 in the morning, on the slopes of Diamir
avalanches fell regularly. They fell everywhere and everyone
I still did not imagine that my brother
I was dead, but I did know that we were in the
most dangerous stretch of that mountain. More dead than alive, after
I looked for him for hours and spent another night in the open, I crawled
Valley. I was in a kind of trance, because my brother
he had died buried by an avalanche and had already stopped
suffer, but I should not die I should not lie down. Should
get to get home.
Who can imagine the loneliness of
a man who does not dare to die because he is the only one left in
a cruel game that we call mountaineering ? It's horrible to be the only one
survivor and at the same time be forced to be. I have to continue!
Unable to think anymore, I found the first human beings. In
your empathy, agreeing that life can be more difficult
to endure that death, the peasants who found me
they remained silent, unable to show the slightest gesture of
comfort. They gave bread to the dying man, the first food he drank
in five days. That food allowed me to survive .
The tragedy of the Nanga Parbat supposed a
turning point in my life. After that I was not the
same. The dramatic descent down the Diamir slope, death
of my brother, the meeting with the first locals … were
instants dictated by the destination that were printed in my memory
more deeply than all previous experiences. And I had to
learn to live with that memory, with which others forged their
complaints And also to find a path to the future .
Memories of a survivor:
Reinhold Messner. Life of a survivor
by Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner, the first winner of the 14 eight-thousanders, has shown on innumerable expeditions what it is to live on the edge and survive.