David Lama Solos Lunag Ri

Climbing
David Lama at the Base Camp of Lunag Ri in 2015. Photo: Menk Rufibach/Red Bull

Austrian climber David Lama has soloed Lunag Ri (6,907m), a virgin peak on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

Writing on Instagram, Conrad Anker — Lama’s partner on two unsuccessful previous attempts — broke the news: “Congratulations @davidlama_official on your successful solo ascent and descent of LunagRi … Third time is a charm!”

Previous kicks at the can: The green line marks Lama’s unsuccessful 2016 solo. The red line, Anker’s and Lama’s 2015 route, with the red star marking their high point. Anker suffered his life-threatening heart attack at the yellow star in 2016. Lama’s successful 2018 line is still not known. Photo: American Alpine Club

In 2015, Anker and Lama set out to climb the peak via the West Ridge, but they had to turn back 300m from the top due to the difficult terrain, snow conditions and cold.

The following year, Anker suffered a heart attack on the lower section of the mountain. Lama later wrote in the American Alpine Club Journal: “During the first good weather period, we made an attempt on our previous line. On our first day, at about 5,800m, Conrad suddenly felt extreme pain in his chest. We immediately rappelled and called a helicopter, which picked him up at our advanced base and evacuated him to a hospital in Kathmandu. He had suffered a heart attack, but after emergency surgery he was doing better, and he soon left for home in Montana.” The film Lunag Ri captures the drama as it unfolded.

After Anker’s evacuation, Lama decided to press on alone and made good progress, but turned back just 250m below the summit: “I felt great fatigue when I reached my second bivouac …[and I knew that going further would deplete too much of my reserves to descend safely. After a second night on the mountain, I had to gather all my remaining strength to undertake the descent”.

Lama had asked Anker to return to Lunag Ri with him this year, but Anker declined: During the heart attack, he said to himself: “Well, I always wondered when I was gonna get the message that it’s time to let go of this game, and I think I got it.” Since then, he hasn’t climbed at altitude again.

The southeast summit (6,830m) of Lunag Ri had previously fallen to a French team in 2010,  but the main summit had remained unclimbed.

Links

Conrad Anker Instagram

Weekend Warm-Up: Lunag Ri

 

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer with a PhD in Exercise Science. He lives in the UK and has also written for Rock and Ice, Outside, UK Climbing etc. He recently led a 634km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. See more at www.ashrouten.com.

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