Messner Mystery Solved?

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Reinhold Messner has identified a body found near the base of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan as that of his brother, Günther, based on the boots and jacket with the body. Conclusive identification will depend on DNA testing, but if the body is Günther Messner’s it should ease a controversy that has dogged the great mountaineer for more than three decades.

The Messner brothers pioneered the Rupal face of 26,657-foot Nanga Parbat in 1970. Exhausted by the difficult ascent, Reinhold Messner says, the two started down the Diamir face on the other side of the mountain. Partway down they were separated and Günther disappeared, presumably in an avalanche. Frostbite from the epic climb and descent cost Reinhold Messner the majority of his toes and several fingertips.

Teammates of Messner’s from the expedition accused him of abandoning his brother high on the mountain, in a bid for the glory of making the traverse. Messner, who blames such claims in part on jealously for an affair he had with the wife of one of his accusers, has visited Nanga Parbat several times to search for his brother’s remains.

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