Lama, Ortner Complete 2,000-Foot New Route in Austria


Spindrift (VI: VIII- A1 M6 WI) on the north face of Laserz, Lienzer Dolomites, Austria. Photo by David Lama

1/18/13 - David Lama and Peter Ortner, two Austrian alpinists well-known for the first free ascent of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia, have made the first ascent of a difficult route up the North Face of Laserz in the Lienzer Dolomites in their native country. The route, Spindrift (VI, VIII- A1 M6 WI), contains almost 2,000 feet of mixed and ice climbing.

Lama and Ortner had attempted the route the previous winter, but when they ran out of gear after the fourth pitch, they were forced to retreat. Coming back a year later, they were prepared with two sets of cams and an even higher level of motivation. A snowy slab makes up the first couple of pitches before heading into the crux fourth pitch, with an overhanging, chossy crack system. Snowfields, ice, and mixed climbing conclude the route.

Lama reported that throughout the route, conditions were good and ice axe placements were decent, but the belay stances were difficult to set up. Despite that, Lama described the the route as "outstanding, demanding, and gripping."

Lama is currently headed to Patagonia with Dani Arnold, Swiss alpinist and holder of the Eiger Nordwand speed record.

Date of ascent: December 27, 2012