Memories of David Lama on the 5th anniversary of his death

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of David Lama, who died in the Rocky Mountains along with his mountain comrades Hansjörg Auer and Jess Rosskelley on April 16, 2019.

The Austrian-American trio was not the only one David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Rosskelley in the alpine scene as a prudent exception; in fact, part of the spearhead of modern alpinism seemed to be united in this rope team. The worldwide sympathy was enormous when the three young mountain athletes only met five years ago were reported missing and found dead shortly afterwards.

Lama's parents provide insight into his final resting place in Nepal on the fifth anniversary of his death

In the spring of 2022, led by David's parents Claudia and Rinzi Lama, a group of 10 consisting of David's closest circle set off for Nepal.

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Among others there were his rope partner Peter Ortner, his long-time trainer Reinhold Scherer and his girlfriend Hadley Hammer. The aim of the trip was to bury part of Lama's ashes at the summit of the almost 5.800 meter high Fox Peak, which Lama had climbed several times to acclimatize.

David Lama's closest family and friends at Fox Peak. Image: Simon Rainer
David Lama's closest family and friends at Fox Peak. Image: Simon Rainer

From base camp we watched with binoculars as David's friends built a chorten, a kind of Nepalese shrine, at the summit of Fox Peak and buried some of his ashes there.

Claudia Lama

«We deliberately chose the northernmost part of Solu Khumbu on the border with Tibet because it is far from the overcrowded treks and that is why David liked it so much. It's good to know that a part of David will forever be in such a special place in the middle of the Nepalese mountains," adds father Rinzi Lama, who grew up less than a hundred kilometers away and was once a student on a scholarship from Sir Edmund Hillary only child in his family could attend school.

a review

After a successful career in competitive climbing, the Tyrolean David Lama was increasingly drawn to the mountains from 2010 onwards. He achieved a milestone in 2012 with the first ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia in free climbing style.

David Lama at Fox Peak, where the chorten now stands with its ashes, with a view of the Lunag Ri. Image: Martin Hanslmayr
David Lama at Fox Peak, where the chorten now stands with its ashes, with a view of the Lunag Ri. Image: Martin Hanslmayr

In October 2018 he provided with the First ascent of the 6907 meter high Lunag Ri (Nepal) single-handedly made headlines around the world. Just a few months later, the then 28-year-old Lama set off for Canada together with the Ötztaler Auer and the American Rosskelley to climb in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The most obvious chronology of events suggests that the experienced trio were swept to their deaths by an avalanche on the descent after successfully climbing the infamous Howse Peak.

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Credits: Cover picture Manuel Ferrigato, Text Strobl Communication

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