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When next I encountered Messner it was during the year 2000 Mountaineering extravaganza at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada, a "Who's Who" red-carpet assembly of many of the world's greatest climbers.
I spotted Reinhold at an evening reception, engulfed by a gaggle of European journalists and hangers on. Later he agreed to autograph some mountaineering books, ones he'd authored, plus others—about twenty-five. The 50th anniversary of the first American ascent, including Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld's ahead-of-their-time new route up Mt. It also was the 30th Anniversary of the second American first ascent up Everest, the 1983 American Everest Expedition, the first to successfully ascend the mountain's most dangerous and daunting aspect, the East or Kangshung Face, in Tibet.
And it was the 25th anniversary of the 1988 International Everest Expedition, marking my team's No 02-No radios-No Sherpas new route up that same face.
With reference to the letter you have received from the Trento Film Festival, it is with pleasure that I personally confirm the invitation to take part in the mountaineering event of May 3rd, 2013, to be held in Trento. You presence as a leading representative of an entire era, will give added prestige to this event that is to me very dear and that is important for the Festival and I think also for mountaineering. The festival's opening night event consisted of Messner interviewing live, on stage, Norman Dhyrenfurth, leader of the 1963 American Everest Expedition, myself, Conrad Anker, and several Italian Himalayan climbers.
Two days later, on May 5, we reconvened at Messner's primary Mountain Museum at Firmian, located in Sigmundskron Castle outside the city of Bolzano. In today's era of professional sponsorship, a mountaineer's financial success is determined by the difficulty and media-salability of their climbs, exploits, and summits reached.
Messner's beloved Mountain Museums (MMM) consist of five separate museums, each in a different locality and having a unique theme: Firmian (Man's Relationship with the Mountains), Juval Castle (The Magic of the Mountains), Dolomites at Monte Rite (Geology), Ortles at Sulden (The History of Mountaineering on Ice and the World's Glaciers), and Ripa at Bruneck Castle (Mountain Cultures, Religions, and Peoples). Sitting on Firmian's hilltop, lawn-covered grounds within the walls of an ancient, ruined (but now partially rebuilt) castle on a bright, warm, sunny day was beyond delightful. At Firmian, Peter Habeler and Reinhold Messner celebrate the 35th anniversary of their 1978 Mt.
Earlier, I'd jotted down cryptic notes for ideas I wanted to express at Life After Survival. I got lots of positive feedback from the audience at lunch that day, and later Peter Habeler emailed me: "All you guys on stage got across to us such strong and good feelings, emotions too, which everybody understood clearly. Reinhold Messner gives a press conference in Munich, Germany, after his astounding 1980 first solo and oxygenless ascent of Mt. Years ago, back in that distant, antiquated, bygone, pre-email era, Reinhold answered me in a letter, written on his stationary with an image of Juval Castle at the top.


When I read Reinhold's words, this time it was me who got choked up—not on bites of a yak-cheese omelet, but on the quiet surge of humble emotion rising within me. Perhaps I had truly earned the youthful nickname that once upon a time my climbing partners gave me.
Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed.
It's designed to protect the President from terror attacks but Barack Obama was left red-faced after one of his armour-plated Cadillacs was brought to a halt as it left the U.S.
It was in Moneygall (pop'n 350) that his thrice-removed maternal grandfather once lived and worked as a shoemaker. Slainte: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sip Guinness at a pub in Moneygall, Co. President McAleese greeted President Obama at the front steps of the Aras.'Thank you so much.
As I approached, he saw me, burst from the horde, hand extended, and shouted: "I put you in my Yeti book!" which we both had a good laugh about. In his hand he held his partner Peter Habeler's book about their historic 1978 First-No-Oxygen-Bottle "By Fair Means" Mt. When Messner's invite popped into my inbox, I'd only just returned with my wife and daughter from London and North Wales after celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Neverest Buttress, my Everest Kangshung Face new route. The focus was on the first American Everest ascent led by Dhyrenfurth, the Golden years of 1960s Yosemite climbing, a bit on George Mallory, and my team's new route up Everest's Kangshung Face. Messner's key question that he challenged all the panelists to answer was this: "How will the sponsored professional climbers of today earn their living once they become too old, when they will naturally be forced to stop their extreme ascents?" It was so very typical of Messner, I reflected, to tackle, head-on, yet another subject no other climber had ever mentioned! But only as the tension built as Messner made his opening remarks to the audience before taking his seat twenty feet from me did I finally get a brainstorm.
For the love of the rocks and the love of the mountains—and when I came home I had no money.
You especially did a fantastic job, including humor, which I think is getting rare in some of the younger generation. Everest, I heard from a friend that during one of his American lectures Reinhold Messner had made complimentary statements highlighting the "good style" of my 1988 team's Everest Kangshung Face new route.
Everest than Messner himself had boldly accomplished, completely alone upon the mountain, without using bottled oxygen, in part via a new route—but my team came close. The two greatest Himalayan mountaineers in history saw their friendship crumble directly after their most noteworthy ascent.


Our entire team plus spouses and children all had assembled for a sold-out "Everest 1988" evening lecture at Britain's Royal Geographical Society—an unforgettable event.
An eco-powered green bus drove us and other ticket-buying tourists up the long, curving, steep driveway to the entrance. Answering Reinhold's thought-provoking, philosophical, and rapidly-delivered interview questions on the spur of the moment in front of a packed house was a bit nerve-wracking. Conrad hadn't been able to stay, but the rest of us attended, his wife Jennifer and I being the sole Americans present.
Reinhold had given me his mailing address, so I wrote him to ask if his rumored praise was true. Then we went off cragging in Snowdonia at the Idwal Slabs and shared meals and pints in the pub at the legendary climbers' hostelry, the Pen-Y-Gwyrd, or PYG.
It was an enchanting and fantastic home Messner had created, now predominantly a museum graced with Buddhist artwork and sculpture, although Reinhold and his family still live there each summer.
Obviously, it was not only technological advances in gear (chromoly steel pitons, aluminum carabiners, and more) but the psychological prowess and adaptability of these hardy Yosemite pioneers that led to the first of the Big Walls being climbed by Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, Yvon Chouinard, Tom Frost, and others—but I forgot to add that last bit. Robert Schauer, who'd pioneered the West Face of Gasherbrum IV in 1985 with Polish legend Voytek Kurtyka, and the Slovenian light-and-fast alpinist Marko Prezelj, who in 1992 made the first ascent of Menlungtse (see Big Reinhold, Little Reinhold, Chapter 2) with fellow Slovenian ace, Andrej Stremfelj.
And if so, could I use his laudatory comments as an endorsement on the back cover of my new book, my "Everest-years" autobiography, Snow in the Kingdom? The uniqueness of the partially unfinished castle, its isolated and singular setting, the views of the surrounding mountains and green valley below were sublimely beautiful.
Hanging out with Norman Dhyrenfurth, age 95, Norman's "live-in girlfriend" Maria Sernetz (known as Moidi), Conrad Anker, and Jennifer Lowe-Anker, all of whom I'd met before, was equally memorable. Trento Mountainfilm would cover my plane fare and in-Italy expenses, but how was I going to pay the rest of my family's bills? As wine glasses were placed around the table, I realized in a bolt that with beautiful serendipity we were gathered here to help them celebrate their own special occasion.




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