Capital: € 37 million
Age: 75
Born: September 17, 1944
Country of origin: Italy
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Reinhold Messner is the most famous living mountain climber in the world. He was the first person who managed to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. He also climbed Mount Everest together with Peter Habeler in 1978 without artificial oxygen. In addition to mountaineering, he went on a series of extreme hikes through some of the most remote regions of the world. He was also politically active for many years and, among other things, moved into the European Parliament as a member of parliament.

Early life

Reinhold Messner was born in South Tyrol in 1944. There he grew up with his eight siblings. He had his first experiences with mountaineering at the age of 5 when his father took him to the top of a three-thousand-meter peak. After graduating from school, Messner studied surveying and then taught mathematics at a middle school for a year before devoting himself entirely to mountaineering.


At the beginning of his career, Messner was mainly active in the Dolomites, where he led over 500 climbing tours. From 1965 he turned to climbing difficult walls in the Alps before taking part in an extensive expedition to the Andes with Peter Habeler in 1969. There he achieved some remarkable mountaineering achievements, which quickly earned him the reputation of being one of the best mountaineers in the world.

From 1970 Messner started climbing the eight thousand meter peaks, the highest mountains on earth. The first mountain was the notorious Nanga Parbat, on which a tragedy was to take place. Messner and his brother Günther set off for the mountain summit, which the two of them also reached. However, only Reinhold managed to descend again. The death of his brother triggered a legal dispute over many years with the then expedition leader Karl Herrligkoffer. In addition, Reinhold Messner lost seven toes after the descent due to frostbite.

In the following years Messner climbed one eight thousand meter after the other. With the ascent of Mount Everest together with Peter Habeler, without the aid of an oxygen device, he achieved his most remarkable success in 1978. In the mid-1980s, the ascent of all eight-thousanders developed into a race between Messner and the Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka. With the ascent of the Lhotse on October 16, 1986, Messner succeeded in winning this race and becoming the first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. After this climb, he should also never climb an eight-thousand meter peak again.

Over the next few years, Messner focused on a number of extreme expeditions. In 1989 he crossed the Antarctic on foot, covering a distance of 2,800 km. This was followed by further expeditions through Greenland and the Gobi Desert. At the same time, Messner was increasingly politically active. He was already committed to environmental protection in the 80s. In 1999 he entered the European Parliament for the Greens of South Tyrol as a non-party candidate for five years.

Reinhold’s Messner’s mountain climbing career was accompanied by his active entrepreneurial spirit. Because at the beginning of his career he was unable to cover the considerable cost of an expedition to one of the eight-thousanders (up to EUR 450,000), he decided to forego as much equipment as possible in order to save costs. His climbs in alpine style, without a large expedition wagon and oxygen bottles, revolutionized mountaineering in the Himalayas. Inspired by his countless experiences during his career as a mountaineer, Reinhold Messner also worked as a successful author. He gave numerous lectures and published over 50 books. This is how he earned his first million after his famous climb to Everest in 1978.

Career highlights

In his career as a mountaineer, Reinhold Messner made numerous first ascents from peaks and difficult walls. For him it was not only important to reach the summit. He also wanted to do this on routes that were previously unconquered. When he climbed Nanga Parbat in 1970, for example, it descended over the Diamir flank instead of taking the same way back as when he ascended. He was the first to cross the mountain.

His two personal highlights were undoubtedly the first ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen in 1978 – a previously thought impossible achievement. In 1986 he was also the first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders and the second to climb the Seven Summits.

Famous quotes

“The image of the fearless hero is deceptive. It is a fantasy product. A hero who is not afraid does not need courage. Fear is a constant companion. No frontier worker lives long without fear. ”

“The mountains that need to be moved are in our consciousness.”

Success tips

Messner has conjured up the great importance of his own willpower since his life. It is what can drive everyone to grow beyond themselves and to achieve the impossible. According to Messner, the will, like muscles, can be trained. By setting new, even more ambitious goals after each success, you are constantly presenting yourself with new challenges.


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