(Source: the daily newspaper "Alto Adige" of 16.09.2002, Photos by Giorgio De Bernardi)

The cerimonial in a Tennishalle full of friends and fans
Solda adopts Messner
The great climber is freeman of Solda

SOLDA. The feeling that joined Reinhold Messner with Solda was alredy closed and now it gets stronger arriving to a "crucial point": Stelvio's inhabitants have conferred an honour upon the great climber like freeman of Solda. This symbolic investiture took place yesterday in the afternoon in an happy atmosphere in the tennis halle of the sporting center.
The Solda wholly community was getting close near the king of 8000 meters that, still very young, at the Ortles and Gran Zebrù glaciers had realized the consciousness that he could dare new challenges. The initiative to immortalize Messner in the Solda history was spontaneous born and, like a swift river, had overcome everyone: cultural association, firemen, ski-school, the alpine assistance, the white cross, the guides, the touristic agency, the hotels keepers, the traders and the cable-way societies. Hundreds people have signed the honour request that the Stelvio's mayor has given to Messner. Josef Hofer (the mayor) would be ready to modify the urban development plan for giving hospitality at Solda to the mountain's museum that the king of 8000 meters would like to realize at Castelfirmiano. This project is opposed by the European parliamentary and editor Michl Ebner. «Stelvio's mayor has shown to be a brave person - said Messner - and this is a sign that in Südtirol too there's who fights for freedom of mind». Durnwalder, that was waited by the reporters, has justified the absence getting known that tomorrow, the climber's birthday, he's going to go to Funes where is foreseen an identical "Messner day".
At the end Messner has convinced the organizers of the cerimonial to cancel the dine which they had alredy put on the balance for devolving 3000 Euro (that would have been spent for the banquet) for the flood's victims of Dresda. Paul Hanny, who takes care Solda's image, is happy for the recognition given to Messner. «Beyond at Solda - he asserts - wholly Venosta valley knows that has to thank Reinhold. About 40000 visitors arrive to the valley for visiting his Castel Juval. Here, further opening the little "Alpina curiosa" museum, where are collected the climber's equipment and stories, Messner has saved an ancient farm-stead of XVII Century which was ruined by the decay and he trasformed it in a reastaurant named "Yak & Yeti"».
Restaurat's name synthetizes two symbols which are dear to Messner: the acclimatation at Solda of a herd of Yak and the mistery of the man of the mountains that none has solved. «In November 1986, German television "ZDF" - Hanny goes on - had broadcast from Solda for an hour the famous programme "Sport Studio" wholly dedicated to Messner who had just climbed the 14th 8000 meters. It was a masterstroke that flung again the tourism of the place». Father Josef Hurton, who is nowadays the datum point of Solda's alpine assistance (of which he has been the chief for 30 years), has made a beautiful description of the climber. «I met Reinhold when he was still a boy and ha came here for climbing. I was stroken by his talent and his willingness. "The inesperience is the murderer, not the mountain" this is the teaching which he has always repeated. I've made 5 movies with him about the safeness in mountain. He has shown his coherence stopping the exploits near the end».

The ski-club president of Solda Hermann Ortler, Richard Theiner the regional councillor, Philipp Reinstadler the touristic region president and Rudi Gamper the german coordinator of "RAI" television have gone upon the podium for giving a homage to the guest. Messner has closed with a polite controversy. He has engaged a fight for freedom of mind against Ebner: he declared that his life had been full of victories and defeats and after every fall he has tried to rise again. The allusion to the Castelfirmiano's controversy is appeared clear but Messner has never said that name, confirming in every way the will of completing the programme of building of "satellite museum" of the mountain. He has mentioned the possibility of opening one in Pusteria valley or in Trentino. It needs to come back about 200 years for finding another Solda's benefactor, when in 1804 the climber Josef Pichler, named "Pseirer Jòsele", conquered the Ortles for the first time. That event got the name of Solda known to everywhere and was the beginning of the touristic period. Messner has remembered the event to which he will dedicate a book and a movie. «Here - he said - there will be great manifestations in 2004, but before I'm going to realize the "Glaciers and Crystals" museum». Architect Walter Klaus, who is freeman of Solda too, has officially committed himself to contribute at the creation of the work with 15000 Euro.