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David Lama Continues Bold Solo First Ascents

David Lama has made the first ascent of the North Buttress of the Hohe Kirche in the Valsertal.

“I left a few pitons in the crux sections, thinking they could be useful for people repeating the climb,” said Lama.

“However the quality of the rock on the upper part of the buttress is so bad that, despite the fun climbing on the first couple of pitches, I don’t think I can recommend to repeat this route.”

In 2012, Lama soloed a new 700-metre route calleed Badlands 5.10 M5 WI4 A1 up the unnamed face between Sagwand and Hohe Kirche.

A few years before that, he soloed Les Barbares ED 5.9 A2+ on Pointe Raphel Borgis du Pre de Bar on Mont Blanc.

Lama was born in 1990. His father is a mountain guide from Nepal and his mother is an Innsbruck Austria native.

The north buttress of Hohe Kirche Photo David Lama

He was five years old when he visited a climbing camp organized by Himalayan veteran Peter Habeler.

Afterwards, Habeler immediately called his parents to tell them that their boy had an unusual talent.

Lama joined the local comp team coached by Reinhold Scherer and Rupert Messner.

Lama became the youngest person to compete in the World Cup at 15 and the first to win both a Lead and the Bouldering World Cups in his first season.

In 2011, he retired from competition climbing and focused on mountaineering. In 2017, he made an ascent on The Eiger’s north face with Peter Habeler. It was Lama’s first time up the Heckmair route.

In 2012, Lama made the first free ascent of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre with Peter Ortner. The route was subject of much controversy after two other climbers, American Hayden Kennedy and Canadian Jason Kruk, removed many of the bolts some days before Lama’s ascent.

In 2013, Lama and Dani Arnold made the first ascent of Bird of Prey 5.10 M7+ A2 1,500m on Mooses Tooth in Alaska.

David Lama looks down on his new route

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