Mr Messner is a hard man to get hold of, now a businessman and conference speaker. That’s why when he called at 8.30pm, it was better to pick up than miss the long awaited interview. The call is taken from one of his residences in South Tyrol – a German speaking area between Austria and Italy – and he sits to talk to us just after dinner. He answers our questions in his verbose style. His answers seem to be well rehearsed. Yet, for Reinhold, he has told his story so many times; explaining, justifying, defending, observing, analysing and criticising for 50 years.
His skill to criticise might be what he has developed the most in recent years, taking a more demanding stance on what he deems to be “traditional” alpinism in the face of other emerging styles, more sport and commercially driven – and he doesn’t beat around the bush.
Yet, having a critical eye over the more commercial side of mountaineering is probably necessary, whether that be guided expeditions on Everest or even the relationship between the mountain and
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