"The Michael Jordan of Climbing"

From the Guardian Unlimited, on legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner (emphasis mine):

In the late Sixties and early Seventies climbers were concentrating on new routes up the major peaks, but they could never match these first exhilarating ascents in terms of capturing the public imagination. Until Messner came along.

Having established his name as a fearless big wall climber in Europe, he tore up the rule book for altitude mountaineering in the Himalayas. He stripped the sport to its basic form. He tossed away the concept of oxygen tanks and big teams and camps, and made mountaineering a more equal contest between man and mountain. He wrote about what it was like to live and die where the air is so thin that every breath is a triumph. He became the first real solo rock star. 'Messner set the agenda for mountaineering after all the big peaks had been climbed,' says Ian Parnell, 35, one of Britain's top alpinists. 'He set out the rules that we are still using today.'


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