Following his groundbreaking first free ascent of the Compressor Route (5.13b) on Cerro Torre last year, David Lama is on his way back to the Patagonian mountains with a wild new first ascent in the Alps as preparation.
Before Lama departed, however, he and Peter Ortner were able to establish a new testpiece in the Alps. Spindrift (VIII- M6 WI VI A1, 600 meters), takes the icy North face of Laserz, in the Lienzer Dolomites of Austria.
“I’ve always wanted to finish this route since we had to bail last year,” wrote Lama. “Peter and I tried the line last winter, but didn’t bring enough gear and didn’t want to place any bolts, so we went back this December with more cams and finished it.”
Lama described the crux fourth pitch as “an overhanging crack with some bad rock and poor protection for the first 15m, after that you have to traverse a little to the left onto steep, ice covered slabs that lead you to the belay.”
Spindrift is a hard addition to the Alps, but according to Lama, “all climbs like this one can be seen as preparation for Patagonia.”
Lama is currently en route to Patagonia where he will team up with the Swiss speed demon Dani Arnold. Arnold, who currently holds the record for the fastest ascent of the Eiger, is a mountain guide from canton Uri in central Switzerland.
“We haven’t climbed together a lot actually, just a couple of routes in Chamonix,” wrote Lama. “But Dani is strong, fast, and determined.”
[Photos courtesy of David Lama.]