Nanga Parbat 1970
Tragedy and Controversy
with Richard Sale
In 1970 a German-Austrian-Italian team succeeded in climbing the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, a climb which heralded a new era in mountaineering on the world’s highest peaks. But with success came controversy as the first climbers to reach the summit, two young South Tyrolean brothers, did not return to the top camp but descended the other side of the mountain. Only one survived the ordeal: Reinhold Messner, who became the greatest, and best known, high-altitude climber in the world. His brother Günther was lost on the mountain. The decision to descend the other side of the mountain and the circumstances of Günther Messner’s death were to lead to controversy, claim and counter-claim, and court cases.
This book explores the events of 1970, drawing on contemporary diaries and other records, on later interviews given by, and books written by, the team members, and on private conversations with some of the survivors. It draws heavily on the writings of Reinhold Messner – accounts which have varied over the years, variations that suggest a story behind the story.