Dani Arnold sets solo speed record on the Salbit

The Swiss mountain guide and professional alpinist Dani Arnold climbs all three ridges on the legendary Salbitschijen in less than 10 hours - alone and faster than any human before.

His solo speed record Salbit started Dani Arnold on June 11th early in the morning in the Salbithütte at 2105 meters altitude. Alone and in one go, he first tackled the south ridge, then the west ridge and finally the east ridge.

Exactly 9 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds later he entered the SAC hut again, tired but with a big smile on his face. There is no known faster ascent of the three ridges on the Salbitschijen.

Solo speed record: Dani Arnold climbed all three ridges on the Salbitschijen in just 9 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds. Image: Matthias Lüscher
Solo speed record: Dani Arnold climbed all three ridges on the Salbitschijen in just 9 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds. Image: Matthias Lüscher

The Salbitschijen (2985m) in the canton of Uri makes mountaineers' hearts beat faster. Its ridges are among the most beautiful granite tours in Switzerland. While the east ridge has moderate difficulty (up to 5a), the south and west ridges are reserved for experienced alpinists despite their popularity due to their difficulty and length.

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Salbitschijen trilogy: 1500 meters of climbing, 70 pitches

The three ridges together result in over 1500 meters of climbing and around 70 rope lengths in alpine terrain, with maximum difficulty of up to 6b. Each ridge in itself represents a full day tour for most rope teams.

The routes do not lead straight up, but include a number of traverses and short descents. They require a lot of experience in finding the route and, above all, in handling the rope that the 39-year-old carried with him for these passages.

The professional mountaineer switched back and forth between mountaineering and climbing shoes six times in order to have the best footwear for the terrain to be mastered.

The three ridges often do not lead directly to the Salbitschijen, but contain a number of traverses and descents and require a lot of experience in finding the route. Image: Matthias Lüscher
The three ridges often do not lead directly to the Salbitschijen, but contain a number of traverses and descents and require a lot of experience in finding the route. Image: Matthias Lüscher

With wet fingers on the last ridge

There was still a lot of snow on the descent from the summit. On the one hand, this had a positive effect on the pace, but it also required additional concentration in order not to get completely soaked for the next climbing sections.

However, that is exactly what happened to him on the second descent, when snow got into the slung magnesium bag. The climber's fingers on the last of the three ridges had to do without the powder to provide support.

"That was careless of me. But luckily I had saved the east ridge, the easiest ridge, for last."

His various speed records have made professional alpinist and mountain guide Dani Arnold world famous. Image: Matthias Lüscher
His various speed records have made professional alpinist and mountain guide Dani Arnold world famous. Image: Matthias Lüscher

Dani Arnold: man of speed records

Dani Arnold is no stranger to the mountaineering world. In 2011 he made international headlines for the first time when he set the then record time in the Eiger north face underbid. This was followed by records on all six major north faces of the Alps: Matterhorn, Grandes Jorasses, Big battlements, Piz Badile and Petit Dru.

He has an even longer history with the Salbit: In 2010, Dani Arnold climbed the west ridge solo for the first time and in record time. The climb received a lot of attention in the scene and marked the beginning of his professional career.

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Credits: Cover picture Matthew Luscher

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