International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 309–310 | Cite as

Unravelling the mystery of Nanga Parbat

  • Walther ParsonEmail author
  • Anita Brandstätter
  • Harald Niederstätter
  • Petra Grubwieser
  • Richard Scheithauer
Case Report


Since the disappearance of Günther Messner, brother of the world-famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner, on an expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1970, the circumstances of his death have given rise to controversy. Reinhold Messner claimed that he and Günther descended the Diamir face together when an avalanche killed his brother, while other expedition members argued that Günther was abandoned by Reinhold to descend the Rupal face. Now, 35 years after the event, Günther’s remains have been found at the Diamir face and have been identified by forensic DNA fingerprinting. The location of the remains supports Messner’s version, thus putting to rest one of the climbing communities’ most publicised controversies.


Messner Mitochondrial DNA SNP screening Y-STRs Identification Forensic DNA typing 



We thank Cordula Eichmann, Anna König and Bettina Zimmermann for their assistance and valuable laboratory work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walther Parson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anita Brandstätter
    • 1
  • Harald Niederstätter
    • 1
  • Petra Grubwieser
    • 1
  • Richard Scheithauer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria

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