Austrian alpinist David Lama recently became the first person to reach the summit of Lunag Ri – one of the highest unclimbed peaks in Nepal – and he did it alone. The 28-year-old’s first attempt was in 2015 when he and Conrad Anker had to turn back due to a tactical mistake – being just 985 feet from the summit.
They tried again in 2016, when Anker suffered a heart attack at 6,000 feet (The 56-year-old recovered after surgery). A few days later, Lama tried it on his own and got 820 feet away from the summit. He noted it as one of his most extreme experiences ever.
Now, two years later, Lama has conquered this peak. He started his night by tackling the Northwest Ridge in icy temperatures of minus 86 degrees Fahrenheit, with winds up to 10 km/h. He then spent two nights in a bivouac as he worked his way up steep snowfields, rough ice and rock passages over three grueling days.
Then, in treacherously exposed places, he belayed in himself. Although, a majority of his climbing was rope-less as he finally reached the 22,660-foot summit on Oct. 25 before descending carefully to base camp in the night.
“This ascent of Lunag Ri has been some of the most intense time I’ve ever spent on a mountain,” Lama said upon summiting. “Being alone certainly added to this experience, as did the journey that began my first encounter with Conrad. There are still plenty of unclimbed mountains, but in contrast to Lunag Ri, many of them are not very attractive from a mountaineering point of view.”
Anker noted, “Congratulations David Lama on your successful solo ascent and descent of Lunag Ri. Happy to hear of your success on this peak.”
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