Dominik Salcher: Victory in the highest official race in the world
On August 5th, 14 athletes took on the unbelievable challenge of taking part in the highest skyrace in the world. The goal was to climb Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan at a height of 7,134m in a speed climb.
From the start in the ABC (advanced base camp) at 4400m, it first went 2.5 kilometers on a flat glacier, partly over loose stone moraines, swamps and half-frozen glacial streams, to the beginning of the more than 2700m long ascent. This is where the dangerous climb over the extremely crevassed glacier began, which was only partially secured with fixed ropes and aluminum ladders. In complete darkness we had to prove our excellent sense of direction in this area.
Camp 2 at 5400m was supposed to be the first checkpoint of the race. Not even close. Unfortunately nobody was awake yet and so I wasted about five minutes waiting for someone to write down the time. From camp 2 we went in brisk steps to an altitude of 6100m to camp 3. The time from the start to camp 3 was about 2.5 hours. Unfortunately, the enjoyment of a beautiful sunrise and the pleasant temperatures for this altitude did not last long: in the area between 6100m and 6400m, the ice-cold side wind (approx. 50km/h) hit me like a force. At this point in time, the heating products from Lenz were of essential importance to me. Thanks to the heat socks 5.0 toe cap, I can afford to put on some "lighter" shoes. In such extreme conditions, the reduced weight can bring a huge advantage. Thanks to the heat glove 4.0 men, cold fingers were never a problem for me.
These harsh weather conditions had already forced some climbers to turn back in the early hours of the morning. From then on, the ascent was objectively moderate, but considering the increasing altitude, the ascent became more and more difficult and strenuous with every step I got closer to the summit. Incredibly exhausted but at least as happy I was the first to reach the summit of Pik Lenin at 7134m after a hard 5 hours and 10 minutes.
Even in such extreme races, safety always comes first for me. Especially at such temperatures, frostbite can occur quickly, then the race is over. With the Lenz Body Heat System I never had a "temperature problem" throughout the race and reached the summit without hypothermia or frostbite.