Swiss alpinist Dani Arnold reportedly climbed the Cima Grande wall in the Dolomites mountain range, Italy, with nothing but his bare hands and a bag of chalk this September. Climbing 1,800 feet up a vertical rock face is in itself challenging but doing it without any sort of support is unique and challenging in itself. Such sport is technically called soloing, climbing without support. The alpinist reportedly climbed the mountain in a record-breaking time of 46 minutes, 30 seconds. This was 20 minutes shorter than his previous records.
The athlete cum climber told the US media that climbing for him is more of a mind game and that a climber needs to feel at ease whether with or without a rope to reach the apex.
On his own personal website, Arnold shares how he took the initial steps in climbing. He considers the sport an important part of his life as he grew up amongst the Swiss mountains. For days he would work on his skills around the rocks as he had very little to do, he shared. With the passage of time, his skills developed and challenges intensified and so did his comfort level around the mountains. This today makes him climb the mighty rocks without ropes, he added.
Speaking to the media about his adventures, Arnold said that it was not until he completed his first free solo while ice climbing that he realized the intense thrill that comes with the most dangerous of sports. He admitted that he had to climb the Cima three times before he made the record climb. After American climber Alex Honnold scaled the Californian granite monolith El Capitan without any ropes, free soloing got famous. Alex's achievement was immortalized in a breathtaking BAFTA-winning National Geographic documentary "Free Solo," which won Best Documentary at this year's Oscars.
Emphasizing on the risk of the sport, Arnold said the media that he only lives in the moment while he climbs and reminds himself what would happen he make a mistake. Arnold admitted that neither his parents or wife enjoy what he does, though they have come to appreciate why he takes such risks. Yet they realize the sport's importance in his life and so let him do it. Yet he sticks to his intuitions, he added. Arnold spends around 200 days a year in mountains with or without ropes.
Before climbing Cima Grande, he had just finished a seven-week adventure in Pakistan where he climbed Broad Peak, the world's 12th highest mountain at over 26,000 feet. He shared that he is proud of climbing the peaks despite losing weight. The climbing fanatic added that he is a bit tired, not physically but mentally and would take rest for now. His next adventure could possibly be ice climbing in Scotland, he added. Arnold holds speed records for four of Europe's six major north faces. One of his remaining climbs, the Eiger north face in Switzerland, is simply too dangerous for Arnold and so he would not climb it, he said.