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The Naked Mountain [Paperback]

Reinhold Messner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Book Description

Aug. 11 2011
The Naked Mountain is legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner's touching account of the most tragic event in his career -- the disappearance of his brother, Gunther, while they descended a technically difficult route on Nanga Parbat in the Himalaya. Climbing together, only Messner knew what happened and he kept it to himself for 32 years, until he wrote this gripping account of that terrible episode.

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About the Author

Reinhold Messner is often called the greatest living mountaineer and was the first man to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen, the first to solo Everest, and the first to climb all fourteen of the world's 8,000-meter peaks. He is the author of numerous books, including The Crystal Horizon and Antarctica.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally The Truth June 4 2004
By Mad Dog
Format:Hardcover
I've been impatiently waiting for this book to be written for decades and have a million thanks to offer Reinhold, for finally seeing this project through to completion. In order to understand my perspective, you should realize that once upon a time, I was an armchair mountaineer, raised on classics such as Annapurna and Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage. The latter was my introduction to the bizarre and confusing Dr. Herlingkoffer, organizer of many Himalayan expeditions, some of them among the most controversial in the history of high altitude mountaineering. Reinhold Messner became a force to be reckoned with in the world of climbing in the '60s. When I read of the disaster on Nanga Parbat, it was like deja vu all over again, with claims and counter-claims, lawsuits and feeling spoonfed with the official expedition account that obviously left out key facts.
As time passed, I didn't feel that the press treated Reinhold fairly. I wanted to know all the facts and to hear his side of the story. One could find snippets here and there, but his economical writing style has always been a bit cold and detached to say the least. But I recognized the man for what he was, followed his career and read everything he wrote. As those years passed, I kept wondering if he'd ever back up and write about the expedition that changed his life forever - with the kind of detail and insight it deserved.
Karl Herlingkoffer passed on a few years ago and maybe this book's appearance is linked to his death. Regardless, it's long overdue but in a way, it was worth the wait. Time is often required to gain insightful perspective, to dull the rough edges and to heal wounds. The loss of his brother and the resulting lies that condemned Reinhold to a life of controversy also gave him an incredible focus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Messner's best effort Nov. 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
A superior book. I know it's a bit a stretch to hear "Messner" and "Classic book" in the same sentence but this one could be destined to rank among the all-time great mountaineering books. Over the years, Messner has written many books on some not-so-interesting topics but until now had shyed away from recounting the most fascinating and tragic event of his legendary mountaineering career - namely the 1970 first (and still only) ascent of the massive Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat and the subsequent death of his brother Gunther during the descent of the Diamar Face. This book is at times reminiscent of Maurice Herzog's "Annapurna" and Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void" at others. The writing style is pure Messner so if you've found his work difficult to digest in the past, you may find yourself disappointed. But if you appreciate a great mountain tale that has triumph, tragedy, anger, controversy and an outstanding historical perspective, you could find yourself spellbound by this one.
The first part of the book is dedicated to the early attempts on Nanga Parbat and Hermann Buhl's solo first ascent of "The Naked Mountain" in 1953. This all ties in nicely with Messner's expedition chronicle as the Buhl and Messner expeditions were both led by Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer, who just so happens to have been the half brother of Willy Merkl after whom many of the features of Nanga Parbat are named. Unlike say "The Second Death of George Mallory," there is nothing contrived about this book. The recollection of events in June 1970 is interlaced with quotes from Felix Kuhn and Karl Herrligkoffer as well as letters and journal entries from Gunther Messner. Mountaineering writing at its best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Messner's best effort Nov. 21 2003
By Mark Styczynski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A superior book. I know it's a bit a stretch to hear "Messner" and "Classic book" in the same sentence but this one could be destined to rank among the all-time great mountaineering books. Over the years, Messner has written many books on some not-so-interesting topics but until now had shyed away from recounting the most fascinating and tragic event of his legendary mountaineering career - namely the 1970 first (and still only) ascent of the massive Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat and the subsequent death of his brother Gunther during the descent of the Diamar Face. This book is at times reminiscent of Maurice Herzog's "Annapurna" and Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void" at others. The writing style is pure Messner so if you've found his work difficult to digest in the past, you may find yourself disappointed. But if you appreciate a great mountain tale that has triumph, tragedy, anger, controversy and an outstanding historical perspective, you could find yourself spellbound by this one.
The first part of the book is dedicated to the early attempts on Nanga Parbat and Hermann Buhl's solo first ascent of "The Naked Mountain" in 1953. This all ties in nicely with Messner's expedition chronicle as the Buhl and Messner expeditions were both led by Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer, who just so happens to have been the half brother of Willy Merkl after whom many of the features of Nanga Parbat are named. Unlike say "The Second Death of George Mallory," there is nothing contrived about this book. The recollection of events in June 1970 is interlaced with quotes from Felix Kuhn and Karl Herrligkoffer as well as letters and journal entries from Gunther Messner. Mountaineering writing at its best.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally The Truth June 4 2004
By Mad Dog - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been impatiently waiting for this book to be written for decades and have a million thanks to offer Reinhold, for finally seeing this project through to completion. In order to understand my perspective, you should realize that once upon a time, I was an armchair mountaineer, raised on classics such as Annapurna and Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage. The latter was my introduction to the bizarre and confusing Dr. Herlingkoffer, organizer of many Himalayan expeditions, some of them among the most controversial in the history of high altitude mountaineering. Reinhold Messner became a force to be reckoned with in the world of climbing in the '60s. When I read of the disaster on Nanga Parbat, it was like deja vu all over again, with claims and counter-claims, lawsuits and feeling spoonfed with the official expedition account that obviously left out key facts.
As time passed, I didn't feel that the press treated Reinhold fairly. I wanted to know all the facts and to hear his side of the story. One could find snippets here and there, but his economical writing style has always been a bit cold and detached to say the least. But I recognized the man for what he was, followed his career and read everything he wrote. As those years passed, I kept wondering if he'd ever back up and write about the expedition that changed his life forever - with the kind of detail and insight it deserved.
Karl Herlingkoffer passed on a few years ago and maybe this book's appearance is linked to his death. Regardless, it's long overdue but in a way, it was worth the wait. Time is often required to gain insightful perspective, to dull the rough edges and to heal wounds. The loss of his brother and the resulting lies that condemned Reinhold to a life of controversy also gave him an incredible focus. Clearly, he had something to prove to the mountaineering community and he proved his points well. It's easy to point out climbers that have upped the ante after Reinhold passed his prime, but any realistic overview of the history of big, bold climbs would point to Reinhold as being a prime force in shaping the standards of today in the Himalaya and the other major ranges. It's great to now be able to read the facts, the feelings and the aftermath as he sees it. Absolute classic.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rest of the Story July 23 2004
By R. Spell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a much awaited book as Messner tells his side of what happened on the Nanga Parbut expedition that killed his brother in 1970. The book mentioned that as a condition for the tour, climbers were required to sign Confidentiality Documents that they would not discuss the climb keeping the expedition organizer from being subject to criticism. This gentleman was mountain obsessed as his half brother had died on the mountain years earlier. He also was not a climber which set him up for criticism as the real climbers downgraded the organization work necessary to mount this expedition. He has since passed on which I suspect is one reason the book has now been written.

One must remember that this is a biased report by Messner but I don't think unbelievable. He gives him and his brother credit for the massive hauling and camp building only to be told at summit strategy that he is on the assault team but his beloved brother is not.

What happens next as he attempts to summit and surprisingly is followed by a late attempt by his brother is controversial, dangerous and makes for exceptional reading. From Messner's standpoint without a rescue crew coming they descend down the backside of the mountain as it is their only option with limited equipment but creates another set of problems. An interesting section of the book is after Messner descends but must communicate with villagers as he is near death.

Overall, I would encourage anyone to read this book that likes mountaineering stories. It's written by a controversial, master climber. The book also is littered with pictures of the mountain which are quite striking.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Jan. 8 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book in one setting, it was so mesmerizing and engaging. The pictures are exquisite. The historical perspective laid a wonderful foundation for the tale of Reinhold and his brother Gunther. The sheer will to live is astonishing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprised! Feb. 25 2012
By JK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been reading mountainerring books for awhile and always heard what an egotistical person Reinhold was .I was pleasantly surprised to read his book.He did an excellent job of giving the reader a true feel of the mountain,weather and all the different personalities.I would highly recommend this book, and I plan on trying some of his others.
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