4/4/14 – It would take most climbers a full day to climb 1115 feet of vertical ice. On Crack Baby (IV WI 6), Dani Arnold did it in just 27 minutes and 13 seconds. The Swiss alpinist and mountain guide set the speed record for the route, located on the Breitwangflue wall in Kandersteg, Switzerland, during a free solo on March 9, 2014.
Arnold didn’t consider soloing the route itself a challenge. The difficulty was in doing it fast. He focused his training on getting comfortable on the ice.
“I started in the fall with dry tooling,” said Arnold. “Then I tried to be on the ice as often as I could, and climb as many meters as possible. It was very important that I climbed on the ice really often the weeks before the record. I spent the days before on the ice, to keep the feeling of safety, to be really, really used to different ice and to the movements in the ice.”
Arnold says there were only two things going through his mind during the route: “As safe as possible and as fast as possible.” When he topped out, the timer read 27 minutes and 13 seconds. That’s 41 feet of ice, every minute, for 27 minutes.
“I was just happy to sit there and have a rest,” Arnold said.
Arnold has been racking up major alpine achievements as of late. Last year Arnold put up one of the hardest recent new routes in Alaska on the Moose’s Tooth with David Lama. In 2011, he set the speed record for the North Face of the Eiger, having soloed it in just 2 hours and 28 minutes. Up next: a summer expedition in Pakistan with Thomas and Alex Huber.
Check out the photos below. Click for full size.