Most of us would be pleased with making it to a peak of a mountain full-stop and then there are those for whom that is simply not enough of a challenge. Swiss speed climber Dani Arnold, a mountain guide and professional climber from Uri, Switzerland, has climbed the Salbit Peak (or ‘Salbitschijen’) in his home canton a total of three times in one day. To mix things up, he did make the ascend from three different ridges. He completed this feat in the record time of 9 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds.
The Salbit Peak has a peak elevation of 2,985m (9,793ft) and Arnold completed the ascent on June 11, 2023, from the Salbit hut at 2,105m (6,906ft) first via the south ridge, then the west ridge and finally the east ridge, adding up to a total of 1,500 vertical meters (4,921ft) of climbing and about 70 pitches in alpine terrain with maximum difficulties up to 6b (which is about a 5.10d on the USA scale). The east ridge has moderate difficulties, while the south and west ridge are difficult and reserved for experienced alpinists. Each ridge in itself represents a full day’s climb for most rope teams. It is the only and thus also fastest triple ascent of Salbit Peak.
The routes do not lead directly upwards but include several traverses and short descents. They require a lot of experience in route finding and especially in handling the rope. At the time of Arnold’s climb, there was still a lot of snow on the descent from the summit, which did enable him to move at a fast pace, but on the downside required extra concentration, so as not to get completely soaked for the next climbing sections. However, this is exactly what happened to him on the second descent, when snow got into the chalk bag he was carrying. So on the last of the three ridges, the climber’s fingers had to do without the supporting powder.
“That was careless of me. But luckily I had saved the easiest ridge, the east ridge, for the end.”
Dani Arnold is not a new face in the world of mountaineering: in 2011, he made international headlines when he beat the record time for the Eiger North Face. Records followed on all six major north faces of the Alps: Matterhorn, Grandes Jorasses, Grosse Zinne, Piz Badile and Petit Dru.