Reinhold Messner thinks back to his years of extreme climbing, when he mastered the most difficult routes in the Alps. Recalling his own attempt in summer 2004 to scale the west face of the Ortler along the original route, he details a first ascent that almost led to catastrophe. Messner and his two companions took a wrong turning and were suddenly caught on a 1000-metre vertical mountain face, a huge ice shelf towering above them. There was no going back – the only way was up. What eventually saved the three climbers in the unpredictable vertical labyrinth was the unerring instincts for which Messner has always been known.
Messner, for whom the laws of gravity seemed to hold no sway, draws conclusions from his decades of experience as a master of the vertical.