April 14, 2022

Who Was the Rock Climber and Mountaineer David Lama?

by Bernice

David Lama Early Life and Biography

David Lama was a famous rock climber and mountaineer specializing in sport climbing and mountaineering and was born in Innsbruck, Austria.

David Lama was a climber born to a Nepal father and an Austrian mother born on August 4, 1990. His climbing is probably related to the fact that he started climbing at quite an early age of 5.

Peter Habeler is particularly significant in his climbing career, having noticed him and notified David’s parents regarding his climbing savvy during the climbing camp he had coordinated.

He rose to prominence in the climbing world but met his death from an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies

David Lama is highly esteemed for climbing the Compressor Route of the South American Mt. Cerro Torre as a free climb.

Another notable event that shines his star is the gold medal he received at the International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup in 2008.

He was further involved in the first solo ascent of the Lunag Ri, which he completed and emerged triumphant in 2018, receiving the award for being the first to free solo the route. Nepal’s Lunag Ri mountain was unconquered up until his ascent.


Table of Contents

David Lama Climbing Career Highlights

  • He began climbing at an early age of five years, during which Peter Habeler noticed him and later joined a competition climbing club that Reinhold Scherer tutored. 
  • When he was fourteen years old, he won the European Cup in 2004. He’d also get involved in climbing a 5.14b route the same year.
  • In 2005 he also emerged as the champion of the European Youth Cup, after which he graduated to compete in senior tournaments in the year that followed. 
  • His 2006 engagement in IFSC saw them change their rules allowing him to become the youngest person to compete in a senior world cup. He had emerged as the first individual to be a champion of both bouldering and the lead in the final of the World Cup in his inaugural season. 
  • Competed in and emerged the winner of the European tournament in bouldering in 2007. 
  • He was the winner of the overall rating in the world cup in 2008 and ranked at position three during the lead category of the 2009 World Championships. 
  • The same year, he decided to free solo Cerro Torre, something that had not been attempted by anybody before. The first attempt encountered weather challenges and had to be rescheduled for the following season (2009/10).
  • The year 2011 was particularly significant as he changed his climbing preference for a different endeavor – mountaineering. Here is more info on the differences between mountaineering and other styles of climbingmountaineering vs. rock climbing, mountaineering vs. mountain climbing, and mountaineering vs. alpine climbing.
  • 2012 became a lifetime moment during which he achieved a milestone by completing a free solo on Cerro Torre using the South-East ridge compressor route in twenty-four hours. He attained the milestone in the company of Ortner, during which he claims that though they had carried five bolts, they did not place any of them. Lama would rank the route an 8a (5.13b) depending on the route’s challenges. 
  • David Lama has been crowned the “2013 year’s Adventurer” for his free solo on the Cerro Torre. 
  • He was involved in a couple of other free ascents but would succumb to death on April 16, 2019, following an avalanche in the company of Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley in the Canadian Rockies.

Related Article: Bouldering vs. Rock Climbing: What Are the Differences?

David Lama Educational Background

The public domain contains scant information regarding David Lama’s schools for elementary, secondary, or tertiary studies. Instead, he seems to have joined a coaching team in his early years, where he sharpened his climbing skills. 

David Lama Personal Life: Dating, Girlfriend, Wife, and Kids

By the time he died, David Lama was rumored to have engaged in one relationship, though no specific lady had been mentioned as his girlfriend at his death. He does not have any children and was not married.

Climbing fans and other interested parties can learn more about David Lama by visiting his social platforms, including Facebook (David Lama) and Instagram (@davidlama_official).

David Lama Age, Weight, and Height

  • Age at death: 29 years
  • Weight: Not revealed
  • Height: 5 ft. 6 in (170cm)

David Lama Awards, Achievements, and Nominations

  • The youngest person to climb a route 8a in 2000 in Osp (Slovenia)
  • Devers Satanique route in France: 8a+(5.13c) – 2004 
  • 7pm JP Chaud route in France: 8c(5.14b) – 2004
  • Many routes of difficult level reaching 8b+ (5.14a) – 2006
  • Niederthai routes in Austria: Gondor (8c); Mordor (8c+/9a); In Memo Reini (8c) – 2007 
  • Atalho do Diabo in Brazil: 5.13 – 2014 
  • Avaatara in Lebanon route – 9a(5.14d)

David Lama Movies, Documentaries, and Books

David Lama is one of the leading characters in the movie Cerro Torre: Snowballs Chance in Hell. You can watch Cerro Torre: Snowballs Chance in Hell on Amazon Prime.

Cerro Torre: Snowballs Chance in Hell
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • David Lama, Peter Ortner, Toni Ponholzer (Actors)
  • Thomas Dirnhofer (Director)

Last update on 2022-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

However, climbers commonly watch inspirational movies and read climbing books to learn and hone their climbing skills. Interested parties may draw David Lama’s climbing perspectives from the following vlogs available on YouTube.

  • Annapurna III – Unclimbed
  • David Lama’s Life Of Climbing | Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance In Hell
  • Why The Deaths Of David, Jess, and Hansjörg Meant So Much
  • First Ascent of Lunag Ri – Solo

Some of the books that the climber may have studied to hone his climbing skills may include but are not limited to the following list.

  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills Paperback – Illustrated: 2017
  • Alone on the Wall Paperback by Alex Honnold: 2018
  • Climbing Anchors (How To Climb Series) by John Long and Bob Gaines: 2013
  • Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual (How To Climb Series) by Bob Gaines: 2014
  • Rock Climbing Technique: The Practical Guide to Movement Mastery by John Kettle: 2018

Last update on 2022-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

Net Worth and Salary of David Lama

By his demise, David Lama was solely engaging in climbing-related activities. As such, his climbing profession was the source of his income.

His salary was pegged to his earnings from sponsorships and climbing victories and is estimated at $72k to $82k per month.

At the same time, his total net worth by the time he passed on was estimated to have ranged somewhere between $1 million to $4 Million. 

Related word-class climbers’ bio pages

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About the author 

Bernice

Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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