In November 2015, Austrian climber David Lama and his American climbing partner Conrad Anker embarked on an expedition to the unconquered 22,660-foot-tall peak of Lunag Ri on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
The pair went all or nothing on a day of good weather to try to reach the summit and made a video about the expedition. Did they make it? Take a look at the video below to find out.
The climbers had been battling freezing temperatures and forecasts of strong winds when the opportunity for an attempt at the summit arose.
“We have one day of perfect weather and we want to use it," Lama explains in the video. "After that the wind will pick up. We want to stake everything on one card and just try it. We will go full throttle, leave our bivvy gear behind and try to reach the summit with a light pack.”
They had a thrilling climb, at times with little protection. “On the ridge, the snow conditions were terrible for a few pitches and we found no ice," Lama says. "We had to do 100m pitches. The first climbs the full length of the rope, and then the second follows while the first continues. That way both climb simultaneously and one climber needs to be right of the cornice and one climber needs to be left of the cornice. In case someone falls you want each one on a different side so the ridge is the protection.”
But the summit wasn’t to be reached, and the pair decided to call it a day when they realized they weren’t going to reach the top and get back to their tents in time.
The summit would have been a great achievement, but the trip was also a poignant one for Lama, who was visiting the country of his father's birth — and home to a mountain that has always fascinated him.
Veteran climber Anker was enthused by the experience. “You’re going up there to a place no one has ever been, on a spine of rock which is the watershed between Tibet and Nepal," he says. "It’s just a fascinating place to be.
“We should have moved our camp up, and we didn’t and that was our mistake. So we were over-ambitious, we bit off more than we can chew.”
Will they be back? They think so.
The documentary of the climb will be shown as part of the European Outdoor Film Tour 2016/17.