At the end of July, the Swiss professional mountaineer Dani Arnold climbed the Walker pillar (4208 meters) in the Mont Blanc massif via the Cassin route in 2:04 hours (LACRUX reported). With his recent visit, he holds on two of the three legendary north faces of the Alps, the speed record. We talked to Dani Arnold about his solo visit to the Grandes Jorasses.
How did you prepare for the solo ascent?
The preparation was already bigger than usual. For example the Eiger or the Matterhorn I just did more or less like that. I can now benefit greatly from my experience. I think the biggest problem was the short window of time. I knew exactly, if it does not work now, I have to wait another year. Patience is not my strength. Just before I realized that. Although I had a lot of fun climbing, the mental pressure was very high.
Were there terrible moments, if so, which?
I did not feel uncomfortable for a second. I had fun. This is confirmed by the other rope teams, which I have passed.
What were the particular difficulties of your solo ascent?
There are several pitches, which are not easy. For example, the length at the pendulum crossing. I had to climb over this because I had no rope with me. Climbing technique was not a witchcraft, but I was not allowed to make a careless mistake. Anyone who has been there knows that the central part and the end are quite steep.
What were the conditions on the day of the visit?
It was great. Some places would be slightly wet, but by and large perfect. At 3800 meters altitude, I then switched to the crampons.
How did you put together your equipment for the solo ascent?
Of course, I only took the bare minimum. In case of a problem, I also took a hardshell jacket, a warm jacket and a small headlamp. Luckily I did not need this part of my equipment.
As you tour the Cassin Route, you hold the speed record on two of the three legendary north-wall routes. What's next? Record on the Eiger?
With a high probability I will not go back to the Eiger. There are many other exciting projects.
What does a typical week in your life look like as a professional spin-piano?
This is usually very short term. Only the expeditions and lectures are planned. Depending on the season, I try to train more or less. Currently I have to recover, especially mentally. The Grandes Jorasses was a concrete target for over a year. Now I just enjoy the time. Of course, go to the mountains, but not ambitious.
The video of the visit to the Grandes Jorasses
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