Simon grew up in Merano and on the Juval - a hill at the entrance to the Val Senales in South Tyrol. As a child he travelled with his family to distant countries: India, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, Uganda, Antarctica... For Simon Messner, one of his key moments was crossing the Ténéré desert in the central Sahara with his father. Back then, Simon was just 13 years old. Perhaps it was these early experiences that stimulated his passion for exploration and discovery.
Simon considers himself a laggard. He started climbing and mountaineering at the age of 16. Perhaps - as he says today - this can be attributed to his family environment: "The theme of the mountain has always been very present in our family. It was almost a daily life and therefore too natural to be interesting for me," he recalls. But the situation changed quickly when he discovered mountaineering and climbing for himself. Up to now he has been able to repeat many rock and ice routes and make his first ascents in Oman, Jordan, the Alps and his home mountains, the Dolomites. The style, i.e. the way the route is open, is at least as important to him as climbing itself: He leaves as little material as possible in the mountains and prefers to discover routes and areas off the beaten track. For him, this is one of the keys to a successful tour. "It's not about how many climbs you complete, or how fast you are; it's the experiences that will stay with you. And what could be more sustainable than trying to preserve the potential of the mountain experience for future generations?"
Although Simon comes from a family with a long history in mountaineering, he only started climbing when he was 16 years old. And he has felt at home in every kind of mountaineering ever since: He practices Alpine climbing and traditional mountaineering in the summertime, whilst in the winter, he turns to ice climbing, winter mountaineering and ski touring. In the transition seasons, he trains by doing sport climbing and mountain running.
Together with his father, Simon has chosen to invest some time and energy in telling mountain stories through film. "The most powerful stories I know involve encounters with the wilderness or the mountains. We want to bring these stories back to life and tell them how they really happened. To do this, we shoot our films in the mountains themselves. It's not always easy and doesn't come without its risks, but it guarantees authenticity!"
Besides filming and climbing, the other essential ingredient in Simon Messner's life: coffee!
Juval in the Vinschgau Valley and the Dolomites.
Rather than a book, it's more like a favourite topic: General Alpine history, with all its highs and lows. It tells us of great pioneering feats, stories and experiences, and mountaineering expertise which has been accumulated through the generations.
First ascent of "Ice Age" with Babsi Vigl, Punta del Pin, the Dolomites
First ascent of the Black Tooth (6,712m) with Martin Sieberer in the Baltoro region of Pakistan
First ascent of the Geshot Peak or Toshe III (6,200m), southwest of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. Solo and in one day
First ascent of the "Hang-over" icefall, Bletterbachschlucht, on sight with Roland Marth
First ascent of "Dl´ Zübr Interrail", Heiligkreuzkofel, on sight with Philipp Prünster
First ascent of "Welcome to the Jungle", Sesto Dolomites. Clean and on sight
First ascent of "Narrenfreiheit", Sesto Dolomites. 1 piton blocked, on sight
First ascent of the north face of Brunnenkogel with Philipp Brugger
First ascent of the "Left-hand variant to the central pillar", Heiligkreuzkofel. On sight with Berni Ertl
First ascent of "Adieu Konni" with Dario Haselwarter, Geierkopf north face
First ascent "Walk the Line", north face of the Zwölferkogel, solo and on sight
First ascent of two routes and a variant through the so-called "Kirchdach" of the Sass Rigais (Geisler mountains) with Philipp Prünster
New route on the north face of the Agner (left of the classic Iori)
First ascent of the north face of the Lüsener Fernerkogel, with Philipp Brugger
"I BELONG TO THE DOLOMITES, AND I PLAY MY GAME ON THE MOUNTAINS OF THE ENTIRE WORLD. THE DOLOMITES ARE MY HERITAGE, MY BACKYARD, BUT MOST OF ALL THE PLACE WHERE I SHAPE MY VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF MOUNTAINEERING."