Guinness takes away the “eight thousand” record from Messner: “He did not reach the summit of Annapurna”. The reply: “Nonsense”


By John

The Guinness Book of Records takes away a Reinhold Messner the crown of King of the eight thousand. He would not have been the first to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. According to German mountaineering chronicler Eberhard Jurgalski, Messner and Hans Kammerlander missed the summit of Annapurn in 1985to.

“Nonsense,” replies the 79-year-old to ANSA. «First of all – he continues – I have never claimed any record, so they can’t deny me anything. Furthermore, the mountains change. Almost 40 years have passed, if anyone has climbed Annapurna it was certainly me and Hans.” On the Guinness World Records website, the American Edmund Viesturs is now listed as the first person to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders between 1989 and 2005. Explicit reference is made to Jurgalski’s objections to the old record. «No one who knows anything about mountaineering would doubt our undertaking, in fact Jurgalski knows nothing about it», replies Messner.

«The mountain changes, like everything in nature. Especially on Annapurna all it takes is for the snow frame to collapse and the peak to lower by five metres”, continues the South Tyrolean. “The ridge leading to the summit is 3 kilometers long, Jurgalski simply confused the east summit with the main one. Here someone evidently wants to get noticed without having the slightest competence.”

«Mountaineering – reiterates Messner – has changed over the years. First everything revolved around the conquest, or rather the first climbs of the unclimbed peaks, then instead we started to focus on the difficulty of the undertaking, as Hans and I did when climbing Annapurna from an interminable and very difficult wall during a storm, which in itself it was already a feat.” The 79-year-old however underlines that “mountaineering is not a sport and for this reason there are no competitions or winners, for this reason competitions in artificial rock gyms are not mountaineering”.

What are the 8000ers

The Eight Thousand represent the fourteen mountain peaks of our planet that exceed the altitude of 8,000 meters above sea level. These mountains are concentrated in south-central Asia, spanning territories such as Nepal, China, Pakistan and India. Nine of these peaks are part of the Himalayan range, while the other five are distributed between Karakoram and Kashmir.

This classification was born in the 1930s, based on the concept of mountain massif. Since then, the 8000ers have gained global notoriety, representing an emblematic challenge for many mountaineers. The first recorded ascent of one of these peaks was Annapurna I in 1950, while Shisha Pangma in 1964 was the last 8000er to be conquered. Reinhold Messner, an Italian mountaineer, became a legend in 1986, becoming the first man to climb all these peaks.

However, these peaks are not just symbols of triumph. Their altitude makes them dangerous. Mountaineers call them the “death zone” because of the challenges posed by adverse weather conditions and thin air. Acclimatization, experience and psychophysical resistance are essential to face these giants.

Over the years, various climbers have made history by climbing all the 8000ers. Among these, the Spanish Edurne Pasaban and the Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. In 2017, Italians Nives Meroi and Romano Benet became the first pair to complete all ascents. On the porters’ side, the Nepalese Sherpa Mingma Sherpa and his brother Chhang Sherpa conquered all the eight-thousanders.

Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja set an extraordinary record in 2019, climbing all 8000ers in just 6 months and 6 days. While, the Korean Kim Chang-Ho holds the record for the fastest climb of all the 8000ers without the use of supplementary oxygen.