Reinhold Messner, who was born in South Tyrol in 1944, climbed his first 3000 metre peak with his father when he was only 5 years old. After studying engineering he worked for a short time as a secondary school teacher before devoting himself entirely to mountaineering – and became an explorer of limits.

Since 1969 Reinhold Messner has made more than a hundred journeys to the world’s mountains and deserts. He has achieved numerous first ascents, climbed all fourteen 8000 m peaks and the Seven Summits, traversed the Antarctic, the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts and crossed Greenland diagonally. He has also written four dozen books.

In contrast to modern adventurers, Reinhold Messner is less concerned with records than with being exposed to natural landscapes in the raw and making his way with a minimum of equipment. He followed Albert Frederick Mummery’s dictum “by fair means” on Nanga Parbat and Fridtjof Nansen’s “call of the North” to the ice packs of the Arctic and crossed the Antarctic via the South Pole on the basis of an idea suggested by Shackleton.

Opposing travelling on foot to the possibilities available in the age of communication, he forgoes the use of expansion bolts, oxygen masks and satellite phones – an anachronism perhaps, but one that preserves an inexhaustible source of experience in the wilderness for future generations.

Reinhold Messner is the father of four children. Between his various travels, Reinhold Messner lives with his wife and children in Meran and at Juval Castle in South Tyrol, where he runs mountain farms, writes and develops museum projects.

As a commentator on television and as a public speaker, he is in great demand worldwide by mountaineers, tourism professionals and business leaders. Following his term as a Member of the European Parliament (1999-2004), Reinhold Messner spent many years building up his Messner Mountain Museums (MMM) and his MMF Foundation, which supports mountain peoples worldwide. Now he is dedicating himself to his new passion, film, as another form of storytelling on the subject of mountains.

Messner has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographic Society for his contribution to mountaineering and mountain areas. This is one of the most prestigious awards approved by the British Monarchy.


“My first mountain climb was probably a turning point in my life because I felt that learning was almost instinctive, a kind of gut process.”

Reinhold Messner


“Making the impossible possible” – that is my motto in life. Today I run farms and museums, tasks that I find just as satisfying as the mountains used to be. Besides, I never paid into the pension fund – because there were times when I didn't think I'd make it to seventy any way….”

Reinhold Messner


First 3,000 m peak (Sass Rigas in the Dolomites).
1950 - 1964
500 ascents in the Eastern Alps, mainly in the Dolomites.
Ortler north face direttissima (ice ridge), 1st ascent.
Walkerpfeiler, Grandes Jorasses; Rocchetta Alta di Bosconero, north face, 2nd ascent.
Civetta, “Friends’ Route”, north-west face, 1st ascent; Agnér north edge, 1st winter ascent; Furchetta north face, 1st winter ascent; Agnér north-east face, 1st ascent.
Agnér north face, 1st winter ascent; Heiligkreuzkofel middle pillar, 1st ascent; Eiger north pillar, 1st ascent; Marmolada, south face direttissima, 1st ascent.
Andes expedition; Droites north face, 1st solo ascent; Philipp dihedral on the Civetta, 1st solo ascent; Marmolada di Rocca, south face direttissima, 1st solo ascent.
Rupal face on Nanga Parbat (8125 m), 1st ascent.
Journeys to the mountains of Persia, Nepal, New Guinea, Pakistan, East Africa.
Manaslu (8156 m), south face, 1st ascent; Noshaq (7492 m) in the Hindu Kush.
Dolomites: Pelmo north-west face, 1st ascent; Marmolada west pillar, 1st ascent; Furchetta west wall, 1st ascent.
Aconcagua (6959 m), south face, 1st ascent ; Eiger north face, with a partner, ten hours.
Hidden Peak (8068 m), north-west face, 1st 8000 m peak alpine style.
Mount McKinley (6193 m), Wall of the Midnight Sun, 1st ascent.
Failed attempt at the south face of Dhaulagiri (8167 m).
Mount Everest (8848 m), 1st ascent without supplemental oxygen; Nanga Parbat (8125 m), Diamir face, 1st solo ascent of an 8000 m peak; Kilimanjaro (5963 m) Breach Wall, 1st ascent.
K2 (8611 m), alpine style; Ama Dablam rescue operation; 1st ascents in the Hoggar Mountains, Africa.
Mount Everest (8848 m) from the north, 1st solo ascent.
Shisha Pangma (8012 m); Chamlang (7317 m), north face of central summit, 1st ascent.
Three 8000 m peaks in succession: Kanchenjunga (8598 m), north face, 1st ascent; Gasherbrum II (8035 m) and Broad Peak (8048 m); failed winter attempt at Cho Oyu (8201 m).
Cho Oyu (8201 m), south-west face, alpine style.
Gasherbrum 1 (8068 m) and Gasherbrum II (8035 m) – first 8000 m peak double traverse.
Annapurna (8091 m), north-west face, 1st ascent; Dhaulagiri (8167 m), north-east spur, alpine style; Tibet crossing with exploration of Kailash.
Failed winter attempt at Makalu (8485 m); crossing of East Tibet; ascent of Makalu (8485 m), Lhotse and Mount Vinson (4897 m, Antarctic).
Journey to Bhutan; journey to Pamir.
Yeti expedition to Tibet.
Failed attempt at Lhotse south face (8511 m).
1989 - 1990
Crossing of the Antarctic via the South Pole on foot, 2800 km trek.
Bhutan crossing (east-west); Circuit of South Tyrol as a personal orientation exercise.
Chimborazo (6267 m), Ecuador; crossing of the Taklamakan Desert in Sinkiang.
Journey to Dolpo, Mustang and Manang in Nepal; diagonal traverse of Greenland on foot, 2200 km trek. Opening of the Alpine Curiosa Museum in Sulden am Ortler.
Clean-up operation in North India/Gangotri, Shivling region (6543 m); Ruwenzori (5119 m), Uganda.
Failed Arctic crossing (Siberia-Canada); Belucha (4506 m), Altai Mountains; opening of MMM Juval.
Journey through East Tibet and to Mount Kailash.
Journey to Kham (East Tibet); small Karakoram expedition; filming on the Ol Doinyo Lengai (holy mountain of the Massai), Tanzania, Africa.
Journey to the Altai Mountains (Mongolia) and Puna de Atacama (Andes).
Filming: San Francisco Peaks, USA (holy mountain of the Navajo); journey to the Thar Desert, India.
Crossing of South Georgia on the Shackleton route; Nanga Parbat expedition; filming on Fuji-san (Japan) for a German TV series (ZDF) “Homes of the Gods”.
Dharamsala and foothills of the Himalayas, India; Gunung Agung (Bali) for the ZDF series “Homes of the Gods”.
International Year of the Mountains: visits to mountain tribes in the Andes and ascent of Cotopaxi (5897 m), Ecuador; opening of MMM Dolomites.
Trekking to Mount Everest (event to mark the 50th anniversary of the first ascent); journey to Franz Joseph Land, Arctic; opening of the Günther Mountain School in the Diamir Valley, Nanga Parbat.
Longitudinal crossing of the Gobi Desert (Mongolia) on foot, approx. 2000 km trek; opening of MMM Ortles.
Journey to the Tuvan nomads in Mongolia; hike (“journey through time”) around the foot of Nanga Parbat; burial of the bones of Günther Messner, which had been found by locals, at the foot of the Diamir face.
Journey of the Messner clan (23 strong) to Nanga Parbat including inspection of progress made with construction work for Messner Mountain Foundation projects; guided crossing of the Hielo Continental Norte (Northern Patagonian Ice Field) led by Reinhold Messner in November/December; opening of MMM Firmian.
Climbing in the Tassili Mountains in South Algeria.
Shooting for the Nanga Parbat film in Pakistan; journey to Kamchatka.
Climbing in Wadi Rum, Jordan; South Seas journey; journey to Namibia.
Journey to the Amazon; trek to the holy mountain of Machapuchare (Himalayas, Nepal); Himalayas film expedition.
Climbing in the mountains of Sinai; journey to Easter Island, opening of MMM Ripa.
Costa Rica; climbing in the Dolomites (Pala di San Martino 2987 m, Gran Pilaster).
Film work for “Messner's Himalayas” in Nepal and Pakistan; the Diagonal route in the Lesser Geisler Mountains (1st ascent).
Ladakh film expedition.
Opening of MMM Corones.
Debut as a film director: “Still Alive”.
Director of the film “Ama Dablam”.