Messner Still Trashes Jost Kobusch

8000ers Everest
Reinhold Messner in Kathmandu yesterday. Photo: The Nepali Times

Reinhold Messner is back in Nepal for a visit and a couple of inaugurations. The climbing guru had also made time for an interview with the Nepali Times. In the interview, Messner expresses admiration for Nirmal Purja: “I needed 16 years to climb all 14 peaks without oxygen…for this, I give Nirmal great respect, he did it in such a short time. And after this, he went back to K2 and became the first to climb it in winter.”

This is somewhat surprising, Messner is depicted as someone who “takes the message of pure alpine-style climbing around the world.”

No mercy for Kobusch

He does not extend the same admiration for Jost Kobusch, who is also in Nepal, soloing Everest via its West Ridge.

“It is all PR. He has said he only has a 1% chance. If that is so, he should stay in the Alps, do smaller things successfully, or climb the challenging 6,000 or 7,000’ers first,” Messner told the Nepali Times.

However, that is exactly what Kobusch did before considering Everest. In 2014, Ama Dablam became his first Himalayan summit. He became the youngest summiter ever, at 21. He climbed solo in monsoon season and used no safety equipment. You can watch the video here:

Kobusch then climbed Annapurna without O2. Next, he soloed Nangpai Gossum II (7,298m) in 2017. The first ascent of Nangpai Gossum II might not be hard enough for Messner, but apparently it was enough for the Piolet D’or jury members, who shortlisted Kobusch for the award that year.

On his two Everest expeditions, Kobusch has acclimatized both times by summiting previously unclimbed peaks: Amotsang (6,393m) in 2019, and Purbung some weeks ago.

Reinhold Messner in Kathmandu. Photo: The Nepali Times

As for the Everest quest itself, the young German made it above 7,000m in winter 2019-20 and has reached 6,500m already this year. That is, alone, in winter, up the Lho La icefall, and the West Ridge of Everest. It seems ridiculously risky to be a PR stunt.

Kobusch in the media

Undoubtely, Jost Kobusch has courted some controversy with his “hardest ever” climbing style and relentless self-confidence. His sense of what is an acceptable risk is definitely far from average. He is also concerned about his image in the media. But critics don’t usually question his intentions, especially after he survived the first attempt two winters ago.

Kobusch is well aware of Messner’s distaste for him but takes it as a sort of compliment. “You’re only criticized if you don’t do whatever everybody else does; to me, that means that you’re doing something right,” he said in a previous interview with ExplorersWeb. “It fuels me to go and prove the critics wrong.”

In this same vein, Messner should remember how lucky he was that he didn’t follow the advice he has just given to Kobusch. When Messner set off on his own Everest quest in 1978, without supplementary O2, people didn’t even give him and Peter Habeler a 1% chance. Surviving at summit altitude without bottled gas was considered physically impossible until they proved the critics wrong.

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Kate
Kate
9 days ago

Ugh Messner…. Great reporting on all of Jost’s triumphs.

+3
Guilhem
9 days ago

This is the eternal story of the king who fears losing his throne.

+6
Andy
Andy
9 days ago
Reply to  Guilhem

I don’t believe that.
Messner appreciates everyone who shows high skills.

+3
Elena
Elena
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy

Really? Messner only appreciates Messner..

+4
Bill morris
9 days ago
Reply to  Elena

Have you met and
talked with him? I have, and you are wrong.

+2
Guilhem
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy

I think Messner achievements are outstanding and so are some of his books. However, I also think he would have harshly criticised Nirmal, had he been from Europe or North-America. And he would have praised the young Jost Kobusch, had he been from Nepal or Pakistan.

+8
Incogray
Incogray
9 days ago
Reply to  Guilhem

He says “he respect people who does it instead of talking about it”. Of course.if kobush does what he sets out to do messner would recognise how impressive it is. It looks like messner doesn’t believe that kobush can do it. And when kobush says that he has 1% chance. You can guess what messner thinks about that.

Him treating achievements differently based on their nationality doesn’t make any sense.

0
Last edited 9 days ago by Incogray
Guilhem
9 days ago
Reply to  Incogray

It’s not about nationality : Messner would have praised Jost Kobusch, had she been a woman. By the way, I don’t think this young alpinist is boasting so much. I had never heard of him before Messner first critics last year. He is alone on the giant mountain, in winter, that’s respectable. Other more famous athletes claim every year they will ski down the Hornbein couloir or link up Lhotse and Everest… They post prayer flags and Stupa pictures on Instagram and come back to Europe, their goal forgotten.

0
Bill morris
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy

I’ve had dinner with Messner in Boulder and conversation with him back in 93. A very intelligent and methodical, calculating person.

+1
Weston DeWalt
Weston DeWalt
6 days ago
Reply to  Bill morris

Calculating he is.

+1
Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
9 days ago

OK Reinhold time for your Speckknödel

+3
Bill morris
9 days ago

WRONG Messner had carefully constructed a methodical plan before soloing Everest which even included flying around over Demali without oxygen for a good period of time to insure to himself that he wouldn’t black out from Hypoxia. He also first climbed it with a partner without oxygen, the highly skilled Peter Habler. And Messner never stated that Kobusch climbing to 7000 in winter was a publicity stunt as you inferred in your article. Just remember that Kobusch had Messner’s as well as others going before him climbing both above 8000 meters and in winter so it isn’t like he is… Read more »

stephen ferguson
stephen ferguson
9 days ago
Reply to  Bill morris

Messner stated he had no experience and was not capable….he achieved more altitude than Alex Txikon’s team did on the normal route with Sherpa support. He did this sans oxygen, solo…in winter…on the west ridge. Looking at the great Joe Tasker and cohorts attempt on the same route…with a team, you have to accept Messner is just being sour. He has the experience Messner claims he doesn’t. It is all a bit baffling tbh.

+2
Bill morris
9 days ago

Has this author even climbed above 5000 meters?

+1
B G
B G
9 days ago

What Nims and Josh are doing are not even the same sport. I don’t get the comparison other than it’s a wind up.

+1
chris
chris
9 days ago

Kenny Rodgers climbs mountains?

+1
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
8 days ago

Messner has said that he commends Purja’s total commitment (he mortgaged his house to do these climbs) and positive attitude, his certainty that he will accomplish his goal, and his physical strength. I get that, but what is inexplicable is that Purja’s accomplishments are all in the realm that Messner decries as “tourism” rather than adventure or climbing– going up standard routes, usually fixed, with a large team. By Messner’s own criteria, Purja is a super-fast, super-conditioned, super-confident tourist. And now Purja’s relentless self-promotion and celebrity is expanding the market for tourist-climbing, which Messner denigrates. So hard to explain why… Read more »

Paul Argyle
Paul Argyle
8 days ago

He may have been the finest alpinist of his day but Messner – in today’s mountaineering world – is now just a self serving egotistical jerk. His ideas about non supplemental oxygen at 8,000 + metres just don’t fit any more..?!! 🤔 or is he just jealous that someone younger, fitter, and faster is going to break his records. Deal with it fella they’re there to be broken.

+2
Larry Lilue
Larry Lilue
5 days ago

Thanks for this, Angela. I much appreciate your reporting on who Jost Kobusch is and what he is trying to do. I had the good fortune of meeting Jost two years ago at the Everest Base Camp and spending a few hours with him. I, too, had heard questions and rumors about “publicity stunt” and suchlike. But just a little while with this fascinating, engaging, courageous, down-to-earth and warm-hearted young mountaineer was enough to dispel all such thoughts. Jost definitely climbs “to the beat of another drummer”. We should not hold that against him when we are constantly celebrating the… Read more »

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