Already the speed climbing record holder for the Eiger north face, Dani Arnold has succeeded in smashing Ueli Steck’s record on the Matterhorn! This week, on April 22, 2015 Uri-born speed specialist Arnold topped out the Schmid route on the Matterhorn north face in just one hour and 46 minutes. That makes him 10 minutes faster than Steck back in 2009.
The 1100-meter high north face of the Matterhorn ranks alongside the Eiger and Grand Jorasse as one of the three great north walls of the Alps. Experienced climbers require between eight and ten hours to ascend the wall, which consists of rock and ice. Dani Arnold did it in just one hour and 46 minutes! He ascended the original (Schmid) route on the north face alone and without safety equipment. This is in contrast to Steck, who in 2009 opted for the alternative Pitelka route for the upper part of his climb.
Uri-born Dani is known for the speed of his climbing. No matter how challenging the terrain, his style appears effortless. His movements are incredibly precise and efficient, and he seems to literally fly up the mountain. His comment on the climb itself: “This one was pretty tough. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park!”
At exactly 8.34 a.m. Dani Arnold started his exploit at the mountain’s bergschrund at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,150 feet) above sea level. The conditions were “really good, if not exactly ideal. In lots of places I found myself having to deal with bare ice, and rock towards the top. Ideally they would have been covered with snow,” he said. And yet: when Dani Arnold stopped his watch on reaching the cross at the peak of the Matterhorn, it was showing 1 hour 46 minutes.
About Dani Arnold:
He started his climbing career as a kid, initially with ice axes: He was already dreaming of big mountains, and Stephan Siegrist was his hero. Dani’s early attempts at ice climbing were on the frozen stream next to the family home. At any time, in any weather, with no experience and using old-style ice axes. And, of course, without ropes or safety equipment.
Now 31 and a mountain guide by profession, he discovered climbing at the age of 14 and within a few years was tackling the north face of the Eiger with friends. Later Dani Arnold made something of a name for himself by soloing the 36 pitches of Canton Uri’s legendary Salbitschijen West Ridge in a time of just one-and-a-half hours. Then together with Stephan Siegrist and Thomas Senf he made the first ever winter ascent of the Torre Egger in Patagonia.
Dani Arnold is known to the public at large primarily for being the fastest man up the north face of the Eiger, a feat he completed in two hours and 28 minutes, beating the record previously held by Ueli Steck by almost 20 minutes.