Ueli Steck

Ueli Steck
Penelope H. Fritz
Penelope H. Fritz

Ueli Steck was a renowned Swiss mountaineer, born on October 4, 1976, in Langnau im Emmental, Switzerland. He earned the nickname “Swiss Machine” due to his remarkable solo ascents and speed records.

Steck’s passion for climbing began in his childhood, where he initially played ice hockey. At the age of 12, he discovered rock climbing and joined the Swiss Alpine Club. By the time he turned 18, Steck had already conquered the challenging north face of the Eiger and the Bonatti pillar in the Mont-Blanc massif. In 1998, he impressively soloed the Haston Couloir on the Mönch in just 3. hours, followed by the Lauper route on the Eiger in 5 hours the following year. In collaboration with Ueli Bühler, Steck achieved the first ascent of the west face of Mount Pumori in 2001. He then partnered with Stephan Siegrist for various ascents, including “The Young Spider” (2002) and “La Vida es Silbar” (2003) on the north face of the Eiger. In 2004, they accomplished a remarkable feat by climbing the three north faces of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau in a mere 25 hours. Steck continued his solo endeavors in 2005, successfully completing the first solo ascents of the north face of Cholatse (6,440 m) and the west face of Tawoche (6,505 m).
Steck gained significant attention for his speed records in mountaineering. In 2007, he set a new record for the Eiger north face, completing it in just 3 hours and 54 minutes. Surpassing his own record, Steck achieved an astonishing time of 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 33 seconds in February of the following year.

In May 2008, while preparing for an expedition to the south face of Annapurna, Steck and Simon Anthamatten embarked on a rescue mission to assist mountaineer Iñaki Ochoa de Olza. Unfortunately, due to the high altitude, a rescue helicopter couldn’t be deployed, and Ochoa tragically passed away on May 23. Steck remained by his side until the end, demonstrating his unwavering commitment.

On January 13, 2009, Steck accomplished a record trilogy by ascending the north face of the Eiger, Grande Jorasse, and Matterhorn in an astonishing time of 1 hour and 56 minutes. He was awarded the prestigious Piolet d’Or in 2009 for his technical achievement in the first ascent of the north face of Tengkampoche (6,500 m) alongside Simon Anthamatten. Continuing his remarkable solo endeavors, Steck successfully conquered Gasherbrum II (8,035 m) on July 9, 2009, marking his first ascent of an 8,000-meter peak.

In 2011, Steck achieved another incredible feat by climbing the south face of Shisha Pangma (8,013 m) in a record time of 10 hours and 30 minutes. Just 18 days later, on May 5, he conquered Cho Oyu (8,201 m) alongside Don Bowie. On November 18, 2011, Steck presented his film “Ueli Steck: Speed” in Martigny, Switzerland. In August 2012, he accomplished the Eiger-Mönch-Jungfrau triptych in less than 12 hours. On October 9, 2013, Steck added another milestone to his list of achievements with a solo ascent of the south face of Annapurna. During the summer of 2015, he embarked on the #82summits project alongside Michael Wohlleben, successfully completing over 4,000-meter peaks in the Alps without the use of motorized transportation. Steck concluded the project within an impressive 62 days.

On November 11, 2015, Steck and Nicolas Hojac shattered the roped ascent record by climbing the north face of the Eiger via the Heckmair route in just 3 hours and 46 minutes. Just five days later, on November 16, 2015, Steck surpassed his own record, completing the Eiger in an astonishing time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 50 seconds.

Tragically, on April 30, 2017, while training for an ambitious combined ascent of Everest and Lhotse within 48 hours and without oxygen via the West Ridge route, Steck slipped on a patch of ice. This unfortunate accident resulted in a fatal fall of 1,000 meters from one of the faces of Nupt

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Penelope H. Fritz is a highly skilled and professional writer, with an innate talent for capturing the essence of individuals through her profiles and biographies. Her words are both eloquent and insightful, painting a vivid picture of her subjects and leaving readers enthralled.
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