Traditional Alpinism – Experiences Cannot be Inherited

Wanaka Time
Wanaka Session
Session 2
Queenstown Time
Queenstown Session

49 mins, Director Simon Messner, Italy, NZ Premiere. SPECIAL JURY AWARD

As part of a small expedition to Pakistan, Simon circles the 8,125-metre Nanga Parbat with his father Reinhold and his girlfriend Anna. In this context Simon speaks about the first attempts to climb the mountain Nanga Parbat and the great tragedies of the 1930s. He recalls the fateful expedition in 1970 when his uncle Günther lost his life on the descent over the Diamir Flank and his father Reinhold barely survived. It is a journey to remember. The small expedition eventually visits the remote Geshot Valley. Here the people live in the most modest of circumstances in a still self-sufficient manner. It’s a world that we Europeans can hardly imagine anymore. Here, west of Nanga Parbat, father and son try to climb the Geshot Peak, which has not yet been climbed, before Simon sets off for the Karakoram to realise another project together with his climbing partner Martin Sieberer.

“For me, traditional alpinism is not just about the action itself, but also about knowing the history of a mountain, being informed about previous expeditions and being interested in the local culture,” says Simon. “In my understanding, the traditional alpinist goes where he can act on his own responsibility and does not feel obligated to any external requirements. He looks for an honest way of dealing with his fears, doubts and insecurities in order to question himself. After all, it’s about ourselves, about experience and less about success as such. It’s up to us, it’s a matter of attitude, how we go to the mountains. But one thing is certain: if you are willing to seek the unknown, you will be rewarded with strong emotions and finally come a little closer to the question of who we are and what makes us human.”