From Summit to Scrutiny: Reinhold Messner’s Mountaineering Record Controversy
A Record Uphill Battle
Reinhold Messner, the renowned Italian mountaineer, has been removed from the Guinness World Records as the first person to climb all the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 meters. This decision follows claims by German amateur Himalayan chronicler Eberhard Jurgalski that Messner and his climbing partner, Hans Kammerlander, did not reach the top of Anapurna in 1985. As a result, the record now belongs to American Edmund Viesturs.
Messner’s Outrage and Kammerlander’s Concern
Messner expressed surprise and outrage at the decision, insisting that he and Kammerlander did reach the summit of Anapurna. He argued that mountains change over time, and the technology to prove their achievement did not exist when they made their ascent almost 40 years ago. Kammerlander also reacted to the decision, stating that the debate over whether they reached the true peak of Anapurna seemed “ridiculous” and that such controversies are destructive to mountaineering.
Support from The Mountaineering Community
Viki Grošelj, a well-known Slovenian mountaineer and a good friend of Messner, expressed his disbelief at the news. He emphasized that due to the occasional presence of a large snow cornice on top of Anapurna, it isn’t always possible to step right on top as the cornice could break off, causing the climber to fall on the other side. Grošelj also pointed out that Messner never aimed for recognition in the Guinness World Records, but climbed for himself, not to satisfy the public or Guinness representatives.
The Controversy: Evaluations and Personal Accounts
Jurgalski’s claims are based on evaluations of photographs taken at the summit and personal accounts from other climbers. The Guinness World Records organization also responded, stating that they had to urgently reassign the records affected by the reclassification of ‘true peaks’. They emphasized that this should not diminish the incredible pioneering achievements of some of the most important mountaineers over the last 50 years.
Mountaineering and Marathons: A Comparison
The organization also stated that mountaineering achievements need to be treated like marathon running, where the full course of 42.195 kilometers must be completed. Thus, the same holds true for mountaineering achievements. To be recorded in the Guinness World Records, a climb from base camp to the true peak must be observed, in accordance with updated guidelines.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.