Reinhold Messner (ITA)


DOB: 17. September 1944 

Reinhold Messner is considered one of the greatest mountaineers in history. The Italian alpinist, explorer and adventurer has made a career of near-impossible climbs. On May 8, 1978, Messner completed his ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen—a feat previously deemed impossible. He also became the first man to climb all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. The famed explorer is an author of over 60 books, a former politician and businessman.

Reinhold Messner’s relationship to adidas dates back to 1978, when adidas developed a light trekking shoe for his Mount Everest expedition.

His father introduced him to mountaineering when he was just 5 years old, and he soon developed into an expert climber. He grew up surrounded by the Dolomites. He studied at the University of Padua, but devoted himself to other adventures. Reinhold Messner became a proponent for a simpler, more streamlined type of mountaineering. 

“Climbing is all about freedom, the freedom to go beyond all the rules and take a chance, to experience something new, to gain insight into human nature… For me, imagination is more important in climbing than muscle or daredevil antics“, he wrote in his book My life at the Limit.

In 1975, Messner climbed Gasherbrum I in the Himalayas with Peter Habeler without supplemental oxygen. Three years later, he tackled Mount Everest with Habeler, becoming the first to do so without the aid of oxygen tanks. He once described the experience as being "a single narrow gasping lung, floating over the mists and summits."
In 1980, Messner decided to do it alone. He completed the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without extra oxygen, sherpas or crevasse ladders.

Messner reached a career peak in 1986, after having climbed every mountain across the globe standing above 8,000 meters. In 1989/1990 he crossed the Antarctic on foot over the South Pole with Arved Fuchs, a 2,800-km trek.

In 1999, the famed mountaineer showed an interest in politics, winning a seat in the European Parliament. He served only one term and left office in 2004. Later that same year he crossed the Gobi Desert on foot, a trek that measured about 2,000 km. “The Gobi traverse became a key experience. Afterwards I told myself: ‘You should not do anything like that anymore.’ I realised that my ability to suffer was not the same anymore as it always had been.”

Since then, Reinhold Messner has published many books. “There are loads of mountain and adventure stories that haven’t been dealt with from a psychological point of view. In this regard alpine history is stuck for an answer”, Messner says. “I am more and more interested in what happens to humans respectively the human nature when it performs crazy tasks: what have those people felt, in which fear trap have they tumbled?”

Messner has also been working on a network of five museums "dedicated to the art, culture, religion and peculiarities of mountain regions throughout the world." 

Reinhold Messner, 33 years old, hikes to Everest Base Camp with the lightweight adidas Trekking shoes. This trip to the Base Camp is part of the first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen. He went up to 6.200m with those shoes. In 1980, during his first solo ascent, again without supplemental oxygen, he takes the Super Trekking shoes up to 7.000m on the Everest North Face.