David Lama scales one of the toughest Alpine climbing routes

David Lama scales one of the toughest Alpine climbing routes


Alaska is already special just in terms of getting there. You fly onto the glacier in a little plane, which is quite unique. Dani and I flew into Anchorage and then went to buy groceries for the three weeks on the glacier. When we arrived at base camp the weather was a bit foggy, but we knew that we’d have two or three days of perfect weather to come. We inspected the entire wall with our binoculars. We soon decided that we wanted to go for a first ascent somewhere up the north-east face of the Moose’s Tooth, a nicely shaped mountain which is definitely one of the most impressive peaks in this region. We’ve climbed simultaneously up to this point, our ropes are still in our backpacks. It’s been quite steep for a while already! Did you also hit rock with your ice axe? Yeah, the ice is really thin. But awesome! There’s some spindrift coming. Our plan was to climb the route in less than three days. Therefore we chose a complete lightweight approach. We wanted to climb as fast as possible, and given the fact that the face is 4,200 ft tall, you’ll feel every pound that you’re carrying with you. There she is, the Alaskan sun! Awesome, isn’t it? As long as you’re in motion the coldness isn’t too big a problem. But we climbed with thin gloves to have more feeling, therefore our fingers froze every once in a while. Are your hands cold? Yes, I was standing in the shade on the belay. It’s hurting so badly. We had to aid our way up from time to time. We did pendulums to connect crack systems; it was quite an adventurous endeavor. It’s getting pretty steep. The bivi was actually more comfortable than we’d expected it to be. It was really cold, but I was at least able to stretch out my legs a little. We’re just getting ready to start our way up again. Hopefully the spindrift isn’t as bad as yesterday, we’re definitely more exposed today. The difficulties on the wall were actually greater than we’d expected them to be. We had to aid the climb and to clean the cracks from all the snow. I had doubts if it made sense to continue, as I could see the terrain getting even harder. I truly had to motivate myself to proceed and I was glad that David was so optimistic that we would make it. Every meter we climbed up, the face got steeper and steeper. The view down was stunning and intimidating at the same time. We reached the climax in terms of exposure when we traversed to the right. It was very “cracky” and things that fell down wouldn’t touch the wall till hitting the ground. Two more pitches, then we’ve got it. I hope… In the background, you can see the shadow of the summit; awesome! Pretty cool to do a first ascent as the first route here in Alaska! Nothing small either… No, actually a really cool line on one of the best faces here. Dani is just one rappel from our bivi. We hope we can make it all the way down to the ground, as the weather forecast for tomorrow is pretty bad. It could get really nasty up here, therefore we have to speed up to get down in time. Watch out, rock! That’s what happens when you’re filming… The mountains in Alaska are simply a bit wilder, climbing involves a lot more uncertainty. Over in Euope it’s become almost impossible to do first ascents But here in Alaska it’s great to find so many unclimbed faces where you can draw your own lines just like they’re on a blank sheet of paper. That’s what I find special here.

76 Replies to “David Lama scales one of the toughest Alpine climbing routes”

  1. How do they secure themselves so well into the wall? Do they hammer in those anchors? How do they hold up 200+ pounds when they fall or repel down?

  2. Cool video – thanks. They seemed really depressed though. I'd be super happy If I got up there and still was alive 🙂

  3. Amazing climb. But the anchoring shown at 6:51 is frightening. It looks neither robust nor redundant, which it could be by simply attaching the ropes to the two anchors in a different manner. I've ice climbed some, but I'm no expert. So I welcome comment/critique.

  4. Crazy cool but I will stay in NEW YORK CITY we shut down for that kind of whether but fun to watch.

  5. Always amazed when watching this guy climb. Extremely tough ascent, but as always, amazing to view down from a summit point. Well done to the summit team.

  6. See the instructions of how to turn on subtitles, turn on subtitles. Realise the guy speaks German, turn off subtitles. Realise he speaks incomprehensible Austrian German, turn subtitles back on 😀

  7. They are playing extreme hardball. 5.10 without removing their crampons, minimal rack, most of which was likely sacraficed during the descent. Admire this type from a distance. I am a veteran El Cap soloist, and I would not go near this type of speed-dependant mixed climbing. The danger level is off the Richter Scale. But, my bet is that Lama will still be alive and kicking 40 years from now. His skillset is huge. But that's what I thought about my friend Dean Potter, who is now a big splat on a gully wall opposite El Cap.Shit does indeed happen.

  8. Lower part of route was unroped alpine climbing. Not sustainable. We have already lost our beloved Ueli Steck. Please no more.

  9. I had a love of climbing, still do, tomaz humar was one of my idols in the 90's. you're climbing like I wish I could. Cheers

  10. Lieber David, Du hast den Menschen durch Deine Persönlichkeit und Taten so viel gegeben. Rest in Peace.

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