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Reinhold Messner
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    (September 17, 1944- )
    First mountain climber to scale the 14 'eight-thousanders' - fourteen independent mountains that are higher than 8,000 meters from sea level (1970-86)
    First (and as of 2006 only) person to climb Mount Everest solo without supplemental oxygen (1980)
    First (along with fellow adventurer Arved Fuchs) to reach the South Pole on skis without motorized or animal assistance (December 30, 1989)
    Walked solo (2000 kilometers) through the Gobi Desert (2004)
    Italian Green Party member of the European Parliament (1999-2004)
    Authored the books 'The Crystal Horizon: Everest - The First Solo Ascent,' 'All Fourteen 8,000ers,' 'The Naked Mountain,' 'The Big Walls: From the North Face of the Eiger to the South Face of Dhaulagirl,' 'Free Spirit: A Climber's Life' and 'My Quest for the Yeti: Confronting the Himalayas' Deepest Mystery'
    He is arrogant.
    Some fellow mountain climbers have labeled him a glory monger, self-promoter and control freak.
    He has a short temper and has ended friendships abruptly.
    Some attribute his occasional outbreaks of bizarre behavior as the result of oxygen deprivation from scaling too many mountains without oxygen.
    He believes in the Yeti (Abominable Snowman), claims to have seen it twice and describes it as a stinky, bear-like creature.
    His younger brother and fellow climber Günther died in an avalanche scaling the 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat (1970).
    He had seven toes amputated due to frostbite.
    Many mountaineering experts list him as the greatest mountain climber of all time.
    Most agree his solo conquest of Mt. Everest without oxygen is unlikely to be matched since climbers scale in groups for safety reasons.
    The band Ben Folds Five released a 1999 album entitled 'The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner' based on a fake ID their drummer used, not realizing Messner was real (and famous).

Credit: Scar Tactics

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