IN JUNE 1970 climber Reinhold Messner of Italy set out to scale his first 8,000-meter peak, Nanga Parbat, in the Himalayas, accompanied by his younger brother G√ºnther. After the pair summited the southern Rupal face of the world's ninth-tallest mountain (26,660 feet), G√ºnther, 23, began suffering from altitude sickness. What followed has been in dispute. Messner says they had started to descend the less difficult but unexplored western face when G√ºnther, lagging behind, was swept away by an avalanche. Recently two German climbers who were on the same expedition published separate accounts accusing Reinhold of leaving G√ºnther to descend the Rupal face alone while he went on to make the first traverse.
On Sunday, at a press conference in Islamabad, Messner, 60, presented a leather boot that he said belonged to G√ºnther, whose frozen remains were found on July 17 by villagers near base camp on the western side. "[This] proves that I did not leave my brother to go back on the Rupal side," Messner said. "Certain people during the last 35 years and especially in the last year invented all these strange stories--lying, lying and lying again."