The routeline of Badlands (6a A1 WI4 M5, 700m) as climbed by David Lama on the last day of March. Lama had planned on climbing a different route, but recent snowfall and a feeling of uncertainty caused him to reconsider. [Photo] David Lama
On March 31 David Lama onsight soloed a new route, Badlands (6a A1 WI4 M5, 700m), in the Valser Valley of the Tyrol region in western Austria. Fresh off the Patagonian season, Lama returned to Europe where he followed up a new route on the north face of Slovenia’s Loska Stena with this solo in his home country.
Lama originally hiked up the Valser Valley with the intention of climbing the north face of Schrammacher (3411m). However, the typically easy approach became a 4.5 hour slog through knee-deep snow. Upon reaching Schrammacher’s north face Lama felt uncertain about his planned climb. “If I climb alone I always need to feel completely in control. Otherwise I don’t even bother setting off.” Surveying the area for a consolation climb, he spotted a potential line connecting the gray stone and snowfields on the face between the Sagwand (3227m) and Hohe Kirche(2634m).
Lama in the midst of Badlands. Over the course of the climb Lama switched between free solo rock, self-belayed mixed, aid and ice techniques. [Photo] David Lama
Badlands begins with a short granite slab where Lama found a hard, brittle layer of thin ice. From there an easy snowfield leads to the base of a 250m wall. Again not wanting to be to risky, Lama searched for the easiest line up the wall.
A few large flakes proved to be rather easy climbing, for Lama, as he moved into the first of two corners. Some aid climbing and some crack climbing brought him through the first 50m section (6a A1) to a pendulum traverse.
After the pendulum and a pitch of mixed climbing (M5) Lama reached the best section of the climb. He recounts, “In the upper half of the crux section, where you have to climb on some pretty thin maybe 80 degree to 85 degree ice. For me this was the highlight of the whole route.” Lama was particularly impressed with this sections because, “this kind of climbing is quite rare in the Valsertal (Valser valley).” Two more mixed pitches (M4) and some moderate snow slopes lead to the summit.
Twelve hours after setting out, Lama found himself back in the parking lot, having spent about five hours on the route itself. “The climb was great, some parts of the route really reminded me of climbing in Chamonix.” For Lama’s full trip report see his blog, here.