Sassolungo and the view Messner conquered

Reinhold Messner was twenty-five when he climbed to the top of Sassolungo, the highest peak in the massif of the same name, in the Gardena Valley, facing Sasso Piatto – which closes a one-kilometer-long series of mountains from north-west to south-east (Cinque Dita, Sasso Levante, Dente di Mezdì, Dente).

It was 1969, and Messner was the first climber in history to reach the summit – at 3,181 meters of altitude – alone.

“That was exactly what I wanted,” Messner wrote of his early experiences climbing with his father and brothers: “Climbing without even looking around, following my instinct and nothing else, finding my way on my own.”

He also described how his passion for solo climbing began:

“At noon, the four of us were on the top of Mount Secéda in the Odle: my father, my two brothers and me. Above us was the Piccola Fermeda. Under the blinding sunlight, the south wall seemed very steep but articulated, and the route up looked straightforward. […] My father did not object, so I started alone and with no rope.”

“[…] Once I found a series of holds for hands and feet, I started to climb. I removed everything: the only concepts that mattered to me were hold, pace and movement – I didn’t think of anything else. In a few spots I may have hesitated and looked down into the void that ended three hundred meters down, on green pastures.”

“After a few meters, climbing got easier and I soon reached the south top. Crossing the friable rock, I then got to the main peak: looking north, I could see the Gschmagenhart-Alm, from where we had started that morning. To the south, I could see all the most important mountains in the Dolomites: from Sassolungo to Sass Songher, and further away, on the background, the Marmolada, Mount Pelmo and the Civetta…” (translated from R. Messner-Th.Hütlin, “La mia vita al limite”, Corbaccio, Milan 2006).

Enjoy the view of Sassolungo in these wonderful images, and imagine climbing up with Messner.

Photos via:

Sassolungo and the view Messner conquered



Most Read

After the slopes of the Dolomites, après-ski by LOOX

by Barbara Palladino LOOX is an après-ski hotspot, at the station at the foot of the Obereggen Latemar ski and trekking area in the Dolomites. It...

The wondrous Gothic, medieval frescoes of the Oratory of San Pellegrino

The Oratory of San Pellegrino is located in Bominaco, a hamlet not far from Caporciano, in the province of L'Aquila. It was probably commissioned...

LUMEN: a museum of photography, 2,275 meters up high

by Barbara Palladino On the top of the Kronplatz (or Plan de Corones), near Brunico (Bolzano) – an enchanted place that only the mountains could create...

Sicilian Moor heads: a legend of universal love

by Barbara Palladino “Moor heads” or “teste di moro” are colorful, ceramic vases that represent the face of a man and a woman, with a...