Pakistan’s Eternal Flame
David Lama and Peter Ortner conquer Eternal Flame on Nameless Tower.
On July 30, at 4 pm local time, the Mammut pro, David Lama, stood together with Peter Ortner and Corey Rich on the summit of the 6,251 meter Nameless Tower in Pakistan, also known as Trango Tower. Starting from the sun terrace, it took them ten hours to complete the Eternal Flame route, long considered to be one of the toughest routes over 5,000 meters. This route was opened by climbing legends, Wolfgang GÃ¼llich and Kurt Albert, in 1989. The ascent for Mammut’s anniversary project was documented by breathtaking photos and unprecedented film footage.
Although far from ideal conditions and an approaching bad weather front prevented a completely free ascent, this did not cloud the joy of reaching the summit. David led most of the pitches on the route, which he himself described as “really hard” when talking on the satellite telephone. “I still felt really unwell the day before, so I didn’t think we had any chance of reaching the summit. But, after I got up, everything went perfectly.” At four o’clock in the afternoon the three climbers were standing on the summit. After the ten-hour ascent, the group abseiled down and arrived back at their bivouac spot on the sun terrace late in the evening, to climb back down again to the base camp the next day. From there, the Lama/Ortner Mammut dream team travelled straight on to climb the 7,668 meter high Chogolisa and to put their own performance at altitude to the test.
There were three members in the rope team on the imposing face, but a fourth pair of eyes was following and watched their every move. Remo Masina from the Swiss company, Dedicam, controlled a backpack-sized drone, supported by four propellers, from the base of the face. Events on the rock were documented up close using a mounted camera. This resulted in breathtaking moving pictures and action camera flights which had never been produced before in this area and at these heights. “The outcome was completely uncertain,” said Masina. “We were unable to test the drones under real conditions before the project.” A completely new type of drone had to be constructed for the expedition to Karakorum in order to ensure that all requirements relating to height and range were met. Without a doubt, the joint project between Mammut and Dedicam has achieved a milestone in the alpine photo and film world, and opens up new possibilities with so far unseen pictures even of the very largest mountains in the world. However, the expedition team was forced to concede that the use of the latest technology is not completely problem free. A Dedicam drone which was sent in advance by post is still waiting at the Pakistan customs today and is being examined as suspicious.
The seven-strong Dedicam team from Switzerland has been in business for two years and is one of the world’s pioneers with their remote-controlled camera drones. The agile and fast flying objects are perfectly suited to following action-loaded movements live or to accompanying events from the air. The drones followed skiers close up at the Lauberhorn ski race and documented a large building relocation in Zurich. Mammut has collaborated with Dedicam from the start and has greatly contributed to the development and optimization of the technology by constantly setting new and demanding requirements.
Harald Schreiber / Mammut
Pakistan’s Eternal Flame