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Man's Mystery Mountain Death Is Finally Solved After 50 Years With Discovery

Lisa McLoughlin

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Man's Mystery Mountain Death Is Finally Solved After 50 Years With Discovery

Günther Messner’s mysterious death has finally been solved 50 years after the discovery of his entombed boot in a Himalayan glacier.

The young Italian climber died in 1970 on the slopes of Naga Parbat in Pakistan after being swept away in an avalanche.

However, his death was plagued by rumours that his brother, Reinhold Messner, who he had been climbing the 26,660ft mountain with, had abandoned his sibling on the mountain to win the glory of reaching the top alone – quite the morbid suggestion.

According to Reinhold, he barely escaped the avalanche with his life, managing somehow to make it down the mountain before he wandered for six days in the terrain until he was rescued.

Italian mountaineer Geunther Messner’s mysterious death has finally been solved. Credit: Alamy
Italian mountaineer Geunther Messner’s mysterious death has finally been solved. Credit: Alamy

World renowned mountaineer Reinhold, who went on to become the first person to climb Mount Everest without oxygen, always said he 'cheated death' by surviving the tragedy.

He explained: "When they found me down in the valley, I hadn’t eaten for six days, and I weighed 56kg [171lbs]. I cheated death."

But now, 52 years on, Reinhold's insistence that he didn’t abandon his younger brother rings true thanks to the location of Günther’s boot in the glacier.

The climbing boot, which was specially made for him for the expedition, was found by locals at the foot of the mountain’s western Diamir face, exactly where Reinhold said his brother had been swept to his death.

Alongside this new development, a bone belonging to Günther had been found in the same area in 2005, along with his other boot.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the revered extreme climber said: "This is further proof that I did not abandon Günther. People said I left him to die, sacrificing him for my own ambition.

The location of Geunther Messner’s boot has proven his brother's innocence. Credit: Instagram/@reinholdmessner_official
The location of Geunther Messner’s boot has proven his brother's innocence. Credit: Instagram/@reinholdmessner_official

"The remains were found on the slope which I had always said was the place where I saw him disappear.

"The mountain never lies and, if there was still the need, the discovery of this boot definitively establishes the truth of my brother’s death," he added.

"This is incontrovertible proof that Günther disappeared during the descent, not during the ascent."

In light of the find, Reinhold has expressed his want for the boot sent back to Italy, where it will go on display in the Messner Mountain Museum, which was designed to educate visitors the history of mountaineering and rock climbing among other things.

Günther opened the museum in his native South Tyrol, a German-speaking corner of northern Italy, in 2006.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Alamy

Topics: News, World News

Lisa McLoughlin
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