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Legendary Mountaineer Reinhold Messner to Visit Korea

Posted September. 09, 2005 07:43,   


Reinhold Messner, a 61-year-old “living legend” in the world mountaineering community, announced that the Italian would visit Korea as soon as possible. “If Korean mountaineers invite me, I would visit Korea with pleasure,” he once said.

Beginning with his ascent of Nanga Parbat (8,125m above sea level) in 1970 via the Rupal Face, one of the largest faces in the world with 4,500m of vertical ascent, he became the world’s first mountaineer to climb the 14 peaks in the Himalayas over 8,000m in height in 1986.

Reinhold Messner expressed his intention to come to Korea when he met Korean amateur mountaineer Han Sun-ho, a 47-year-old managing director for Warner Brothers Korea, in a village near the base camp of Pakistan’s Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat on August 23.

A Dong-A Ilbo subscriber, Han showed Messner an article titled “We found Messner’s time capsule” published on page A27 on August 17. The article described the exploits of the Korean climbing party that succeeded in reaching Nanga Parbat via the Rupal Face for the first time in 35 years since Messner’s ascent and brought home his time capsule as an evidence. It added that the Korean mountaineers wanted to give the time capsule back to Messner.

After reading the article in Dong-A Ilbo, Messner showed great interest, saying, “It is very interesting to bring my time capsule to prove the ascent because the camera was broken. That is the reason I’m more than willing to go to Korea.”

He was invited to Korea several times before, including for an event in October 2004 with mountaineers the world over who climbed the world’s 14 peaks, but refused to come, saying, “I have no reason to visit Korea.”

Lee Seong-won, a captain of the Korean expedition to Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, who was planning to invite Reinhold Messner, was overwhelmed with a joy, saying, “It is really welcome news and I’ll meet Mr. Han as soon as possible to establish detailed plans for his visit.”

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com