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Spindrift: Lama and Ortner Open Alpine Testpiece

David Lama and Peter Ortner established a new route on the North face of Laserz on December 27, 2012, in the Lienzer Dolomites of Austria.

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David Lama and Peter Ortner established a new route on the North face of Laserz on December 27, 2012, in the Lienzer Dolomites of Austria.Spindrift (VIII- M6 WI VI A1, 600 meters), takes a direct line through the center of the Laserz’s icy North face, and involves mixed-climbing through a series of cracks and corners that provide decent ice axe placements but poor belays according to Lama’s report on Planet Mountain.

Lama described the route to Planet Mountain as “outstanding, demanding, and gripping.”

The Austrian duo had attempted the route last winter, but were turned back after the fourth pitch when they ran out of gear. On this attempt, the team brought two sets of camming devices, which allowed them to push to the summit. The technical difficulties of Spindrift exist mostly in the bottom half of the route, with the crux fourth pitch involving an overhanging five-meter crack. No bolts were placed on the ascent, and according to Planet Mountain, only a handful of pegs and two nuts remain fixed on the route.

“The experience was fantastic,” concludes Lama in his report to Planet Mountain, “we were climbing pretty much at our limit.”

The Austrian duo of Lama and Ortner make up one of the strongest teams in modern-day alpinism. Last year, they famously freed the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, which will remain one of the greatest achievements in climbing history. This year, David Lama will return to Patagonia, but will be climbing with the Eiger speed record holder Dani Arnold.