We have Switzerland on our mind. We’re taking you back to April 30, 2015 when Mammut team climber Dani Arnold climbed the Schmid Route, on the 3,608 foot North Face of the world’s most recognized peak, The Matterhorn. Completing the route in only 1h 46m, Arnold shattered Ueli Steck’s 2009 record by an astonishing 10 minutes.
The North Face of the Matterhorn was first climbed in 1965 by none other than the revered Italian hardman Walter Bonatti in a six day, one man push. Bonatti fought the cold, solitude, and the technical nature of climbing solo, to eventually achieve what many thought impossible. A new route on a severe north face, solo, in winter. Coincidentally, his ascent was on the same year of the 100th anniversary of the legendary first ascent of the peak by an eight man team led by Edward Whymper in 1865.
50 years later, Arnold climbed the face free solo, using only his ice tools and crampons. He appeared to be almost running at times, as he blazed up the same route that Ueli Steck climbed in 2009, with only a slight variation at the top.
Mammut described the ascent in a press release:
Dani Arnold began his ascent of the 1100 meter high wall at the Bergschrund on Wednesday, 22 April, at 8:34 AM. 1 hour and 46 minutes later, he pushed the stop watch on the summit. “I didn’t feel well at all initially,” Arnold commented on his shape that evening. “I almost felt sick and thought about giving up.” However, he did continue, and finally found a good rhythm. “I wasn’t super-fast. The only thing that counts is the rhythm,” he says. Considering his time, that is a bit of an understatement – “normal” mountaineers take eight to ten hours for the route through the North Face.