You want to meet the famous mountaineer legend who has climbed all eight thousand meters high mountains of this earth ? This is simply possible, because during the winter months the native South Tyrolian Messner is usually on lectures tours and can also be met in one of his castles and museums in summer.
The museums are located in: Corones, Firmian (Castle Sigmundskron, Bolzano), Dolomites, Juval, Ripa and Ortles. All MMMs (Messner Mountain Museums) are dedicated to different topics. Ortles, situated 1,900 m high, e.g. the subject of glacier worlds, ice and snow (including pole expeditions). All of them are designed by star architects and are real windows to heaven. More information at: http://www.messner-mountain-museum.it/
In Juval Castle (in Naturns, driveup only by bus shuttle) is his summer residence where individual castle parts and rooms can be visited. There you will find hiking equipment, expedition photos, libraries and original cultural assets (art collections from India and Nepal) of his excursion adventures. And sometimes he himself; either in the context of special museum tours, public talks in the castle courtyard around a campfire or while eating in his restaurant.
By the way, he always had a “piece of home” in his luggage, namely a few long-lasting pieces of Vintschgau bread.
A special highlight is the annual yak lift (cattle drive) from Sulden (meeting point at the gondola station) at the foot of the 3,905 m high Ortler.
Almost over punctually (already shortly before 09.00 o’clock) R. Messner (born 1944, meanwhile 73 years old) appears with 12 of his yaks on the way to the “summer meadows”.
Depending on the snow conditions, a break takes place after about 40 minutes near the middle station.
Anyone can join him if the instructions of the accompanying shepherds are followed. Because the yaks of his small breed live the life of wild animals in summer, they are well aware of their strength. In addition, they are fugitives and in the company of young calfs easily irritated.
Slowly we go uphill only few times interrupted by his voice to keep the yaks on track of the stony path. Messner himself, who has a pleasantly sonorous voice, is more the quiet type of person who avoids crowds and extensive publicity.
He is visibly uncomfortable with the increasing distress of enthusiastic followers during the signing session, yet he patiently fulfills all autograph requests … even on backpacks.
We finally continue and from a certain point – depending on the snowline at about 2,300 m altitude – along a glacier creek, he lets the animals find their independent way for the next two months. If you look at them, it is amazing that they find enough food in the barren area. Obviously they are naturally perfectly adapted to the high mountains.
If you want to be part of this gratis event: the next yak lift – including signing session – will take place on June 27th, 2018. https://www.reinhold-messner.de/
Final tip: Right beside his museum in Solda/ Ortles there is the quaint restaurant “Yak & Yeti”, which also offers some dishes of yak meat, e.g. Yak carpaccio or yak sausage.
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