A Conversation With David Lama

On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know world-renowned and visionary alpinist, David Lama.

The son of Nepalese and Austrian parents, David was was born with an affinity for movement over natural terrain, and a deep reverence for the high places. As a youngster, Lama excelled at indoor and sport climbing, dominating the competition circuit, and honing his rock climbing skills to the highest standards.
But eventually, a natural progression to the mountains occurred – which has culminated in a multitude of ground-breaking ascents in Patagonia, The Himalaya and beyond.

I recently got a chance to sit down with David in Anchorage, Alaska – to have a candid conversation about his life as a climber, and the vision he follows as an alpinist. We talked about everything, from his early days as a competition climber, to a life-changing experience on the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, to his meaningful relationship with fellow climber and friend Conrad Anker, to the limitless ideas and projects that lie ahead.

We started our conversation by talking about David’s natural inclination to climb as a youngster, and how a fateful meeting with famous Austrian mountaineer, Peter Habeler, helped steer the trajectory of David’s life – from the confines of rock gyms, to the limitless arena of the mountains.


Music

• Lonely Mountain / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• I Come Alive / Evan Phillips / Cabin Vibes • Volume One (2018)
• Hard Times / Evan Phillips /Cabin Vibes • Volume One (2018)


Links

David Lama
Evan Phillips
Support The Firn Line

Sponsors

Alaska Rock Gym
Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria
The Hoarding Marmot
Behind The Sun Therapeutics

Desert Delusions: Friendship and Failure on The Thunderbird Wall

Narrative

In March 1999 I found myself wedged in a sandy chimney, fully-gripped and trembling, five hundred feet off the deck.

Me and my partner Scott were attempting to climb The Thunderbird Wall, a grade VI backcountry behemoth in Zion National Park’s Kolab Canyon.  The face, which is among the highest sandstone walls in the world, had only been climbed twice since Jeff Lowe and Cactus Bryan made the first attempt in 1971.  Scott had been to Zion once before.  I had never stood in a pair of aiders.  In hindsight, I can only blame the ignorance of youth for leading me to believe I had any business being on The Thunderbird Wall.


Music

• Always Came Back To You  / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014)
• Stay /Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014)
• Lost Again / Evan Phillips / Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012)
• Thru The Clouds / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Lonely Mountain / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Stormy / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2009)
• Denali Dreams /Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Infinite Spur / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Waterman / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Fairbanks 1975 / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Red Bandana / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2009)
• The Fox / Evan Phillips /Silhouettes (2015)


Links

Support The Firn Line
Evan Phillips
The Alaska Rock Gym
The Hoarding Marmot

Episode 21 // The Firn Line “Live”: Roman Dial


Narrative

On December 2, 2017, I had the great privilege to sit down in front of a live audience at the Alaska Rock Gym, and talk with renowned Alaskan alpinist and explorer, Roman Dial.  We had a candid and highly-entertaining conversation that spanned topics including his early years in Fairbanks, his ambitious climbs in The Hayes Range in the 80’s, as well as his forays into hell-biking, tree climbing, and packrafting in the 90’s and beyond.  

In some ways, Roman is a larger than life character, with a list of jaw-dropping outdoor achievements to his credit.  But as you’ll soon hear, it’s the characters, friends and partners that have helped shape Roman’s life, and ultimately meant the most to him.  


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Lonely Mountain / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Space Walker / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)

Links

Support The Firn Line
Evan Phillips
The Alaska Rock Gym
The Roaming Dials
Shwak Magazine


Episode 18 // Commitment, Vision, Trust: Jack Tackle (Part 1)

Narrative

On episode 18, we’ll delve into the first of a two-part series with the venerable North American alpinist, Jack Tackle.  With his unmistakable baritone and classic unassuming style, Jack is the epitome of a true Alaskan “hardman”.  His gutsy first ascents up climbs like the Isis Face on Denali, the Diamond Arete on Mount Hunter, and the Elevator Shaft on Mount Johnson, have cemented his place in the storied history of Alaskan alpinism.

Recently, I got to sit down with Jack at his Castle Valley yurt, to talk about his forty-year career as an alpinist, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.  We discussed everything from his early forays in the woods, to his most intense experiences in the mountains and in life.  It was an enlightening and meaningful conversation that I felt privileged to be a part of.


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Isis / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Northeast Face / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Ode To Easton / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Fox / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• The Cave / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Isis / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)

Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
The Alaska Rock Gym
Denali – Isis Face (Alpinist Magazine)
Hunter – Diamond Arete (1985 AAJ)
Mount. Barrill – Cobra Pillar (Super Topo)
Mt. Johnson – Elevator Shaft (1996 AAJ)
Mt. Kennedy – North Face (1997 AAJ)

 

Episode 14 // Short Ropes: Ashley Saupe

Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
The Sharp End Podcast


Narrative

A few weeks ago I got to sit down with outdoor educator and host of the excellent ‘Sharp End’ podcast, Ashley Saupe. We talked about her upbringing in Alaska, her experiences teaching as an Outward Bound instructor as well as discussing what it takes to produce a monthly podcast about accidents in North American climbing.


Music

• Space Song // Evan & Molly // ‘Evan & Molly’ (2012)
• Augusta // Evan Phillips // unreleased (2017)
• Sharp End // Evan Phillips // unreleased (2017)
• Traveller // Evan Phillips (written by Leeroy Stagger) // ‘Lonely Mountain’ (2017)