David Lama

The man who claimed the first free climb of the Cerro Torre

David Lama climbs a cliff
© Corey Rich/ Red Bull Illume

Hi, my name is David Lama. My discipline is free, lead and boulder climbing. My friends call me Fuzzy. I was born on 4 August 1990 in Axams, Austria.


David ‘Fuzzy’ Lama was born in 1990 to an Austrian mother and Nepalese father. He was just five years old when Himalaya-veteran Peter Habeler first saw him climb, spotting his natural talent. As a junior, David Lama did it all. In 2003, aged 12, he conquered an 8b+ route – the youngest climber to achieve this in the history of the sport (aged 15). David was junior world champion and twice winner of the European Youth Cup. With that, he took the step up to senior level and became the youngest ever competitor in a climbing World Cup event.

David took second place behind Italy’s Flavio Crespi at that World Cup event. Not content with second, the he topped the podium at the second attempt before doing the same at the third time of asking at his home event in Austria. In 2008, David became IFSC World Cup champion in both lead climbing and bouldering, but as of 2009 has decided to leave the competitive world of climbing behind in pursuit of personal climbing ambitions, shifting his attention to free climbing and alpinism.

It was 2012 that brought David his greatest triumph. After travelling to Patagonia, he realised his dream of making the first free ascent of the south east ridge of the famous Cerro Torre. He described this achievement as “probably the greatest adventure I experienced in my life so far". In 2013, David and climbing partner Peter Ortner were honoured with a 'special mention' at the Piolet d’Or awards in Chamonix, Francem in recognition of their first free ascent of Cerro Torre. The stunning story of their climb was immortalised in the 2013 movie, Cerro Torre – A Snowball's Chance in Hell, which went on to become a hit.

David might have hit the big screen, but he wasn't content to sit back and soak up the limelight – 2013 also saw him complete the first winter ascent of Schiefer Riss on the Sagwand in Tyrol, Austria, alongside friends Hansjörg Auer and Peter Ortner.

The climbing exploits just keep coming for David: he set a new route in 2015, when he conquered the Avaatara in Lebanon (8b), and in 2016 he's been taking on a series of multi-pitch routes in the Swiss Alps.

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Career Highlights

  1. 2013
    1. Film: Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell

      The film was released in 2013, broadcast on terrestrial television throughout Europe and the Americas in 2015 and made available for digital download

  2. 2013
    1. 'Special Mention' at Piolet d’Or Awards Ceremony

      David and climbing partner Peter Ortner received a special mention in recognition of the first free ascent of Cerro Torre

      Chamonix, France

  3. 2012
    1. First free ascent of the south east ridge of Cerro Torre


  4. 2010
    1. First free ascent at Brento Centro

      Valle del Sarca, Italy

  5. 2009
    1. 3rd Place: IFSC World Championships

      Xining, China

  6. 2008
    1. IFSC World Cup Champion - Lead & Boulder

    2. 1st Place: IFSC Bouldering World Cup

      Reunion Island, France

    3. 1st Place: IFSC Bouldering World Cup

      Fiera di Primiero, Italy