Ueli Steck | Courtesy: Damiano Levati
The renowned speed climber and supreme athlete, known as the "Swiss Machine", was killed on the slopes of Nuptse on 30th April, 2017, during his acclimatization climb.
He was preparing for a dream traverse of Everest-Lhotse; up the West Face Hornbein Couloir, down by South Col and again to Lhotse.
The world mourns his sudden demise.
Name - Ueli Steck
Born - 04 October 1976
Died - 30 April 2017
Residence - Ringgenberg, Bern Switzerland
Climbing Since - Age of 18
Marital Satatus - Married with Nicole
Father - Max Steck
Languages - German, French, English, Italian
Profession - Carpenter
1995 - Eiger North Face, Heckmair route (1800 m)
1998 - Mönch, Haston couloir, solo in 3.5 hours (1000 m)
1999 - Eiger NE Face (Lauper route), solo in 5 hours (1800 m)
2000 - Eiger North Face, Yeti route, second ascent
2000 - Mönch North Face, Direttissima, first ascent (1000 m)
2001 - Grandes Jorasses Walker Spur, winter ascent (1200 m)
2001 - Pumori West Face, first ascent (1400 m) with Ueli Buhler
2001 - Eiger North Face, first ascent via "The Young Spider" (1800 m)
2002 - Mount Dickey East Face, Alaska, first ascent ("Blood from the Stone" route, 1700 m)
2002/03 - Two attempts at Jannu North Face (7710 m) Nepal, along with Erhard Loretan
2003 - Eiger North Face, La vida es Silbar redpointed (900 m)
2003 - Eiger North Face, Paciencia, first ascent (900 m) with Stephan Siegrist
2004 - Trilogy Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (North Faces) in 25 hours
2005 - (Khumbu-Express) First solo ascent of Taboche East Face (6515 m) and Cholatse North Face (6440 m)
2006 - Matterhorn North Face, solo ascent
2006 - Eiger North Face, winter solo ascent of "The Young Spider"
2006 - Gasherbrum II East (7772 m) NE Face, first ascent
2007 - Eiger North Face, Heckmair route, speed record in 3:54 hr, solo
2008 - Eiger North Face, Heckmair route, speed record in 2:47:33 hr, solo
2008 - Grandes Jorasses North Face, Colton-McIntyre speed record route in 2:21 hr, solo
2008 - Tengkampoche North Face (6500 m, Nepal) with Simon Anthamatten, first ascent in alpine style (no bolts, no fixed ropes, four days for the ascent and descent)
2008 - Eiger North Face, Paciencia, first free ascent (900 m) with Stephan Siegrist
2009 - Free Climb of the Golden Gate Free El Capitan
2009 - Matterhorn North Face, Schmid route speed-record 1:56 hr, solo
2009 - Gasherbrum II, solo ascent
2009 - Makalu, normal route
2011 - Shishapangma SW Face solo in 10:30 hr, 6000m-8013m section: 210 m/h
2011 - Cho Oyu NW Face (normal route), 18 days after the Shishapangma solo ascent
2012 - Everest, via the South Col - southeast ridge (normal route) without supplemental oxygen. Everest summit Day, 8000m-8848m section: 166 m/h
2013 - Annapurna solo ascent via the South Face in 28 hours: 160 m/h
2013 - The whole of Peuterey (Mont-Blanc) in one day
2014 - Winter climb on the North Face of the Tre Cime (in one day) with Michael Wohlleben
2015 - 82 Alpine Summits (more than 4000 m) in 62 days
2015 - Eiger North Face with Kilian Jornet: approach: 700 m/h; rock face: 290 m/h; descent: 1500 m/h
2015 - Eiger Teamascent 3 hours 44 (with Nicolas Hojac)
2015 - Eiger North Face, Heckmair route, speed record in 2:22:50 hr, solo. 695 m/h
2015 - Lobuche Peak, 4200m to 6000m section: 740 m/h
2016 - Skyline ridge Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
2016 - Frendo Spur (with Colin Haley)
2016 - Mont Blanc usual route (with Colin Haley)
2016 - Shishapangma, British Route with David Göttler
2016 - Shishapangma, Girona Route with David Göttler at 7800 m. 600 m - 7000 m section: 180 m/h
2017 - Everest-Lhotse Traverse 7000 m on Nuptse Face
- Most successful climber of Switzerland
- Famous for his speed records on the North Face trilogy in the Alps [Ref: Expeditions]
- Ueli Steck attempted Eiger North Face when only 18 years old
- 43 speed ascents on Eiger
- Developed new techniques, materials and training methodology
- He was equally competent in Cycling, Para-gliding, Trail running and Marathons
- In 2016 Ueli Steck and David Göttler found the bodies of Alex Lowe and David Bridges, on Shishapangma, where they were killed in an avalanche in 1999.
2008 - Eiger Award for his performances in the Alps
2009 - Piolet d'Or for his new route on Tengkampoche North Face with Simon Anthamatten
2010 - Karl Unterkircher Award for his climbing versatility
2014 - Piolet d'Or for his solo ascent of Annapurna South Face
2015 - National Geographic Adventurer of the Year
Prestigious Piolet d'Or Award
Successful author of The Next Step, 8000+, Solo, Speed etc.
Everybody needs to dream and a dream without a plan is just a wish."
If you can foresee and control everything in an adventure, it's no longer an adventure."
Risk is always related to your own skills, and I trust my skills."
After my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I settled here. I've been here for 20 years. This place is paradise for me. There's nowhere more versatile or central. You can get everywhere. It's only a few minutes to the mountains where I can run, go rock climbing on some great rock-faces, paragliding above the lake is superb or I can go cycling or skiing... And, of course, the Eiger, my mountain, is close by!"
It's a bit like my laboratory: this territory that I know so well that I'm confident to explore my limits. I will never be done with the Eiger!"
When I climbed the ice it snapped and I fell about 10m... I cut a vein beneath my knee. But since it was so cold (about -25 °C) it stopped bleeding on its own. Later, when I returned home and I warmed up, I felt a terrible pain and I immediately went to the doctor, to whom though I didn't explain everything... Do you want to know what the doctor said? 'Keep moving!'"
If I don't take myself out of this game I will die...I do my own thing and if I don't succeed it will not be the end of the world."
If you want an adventure, don't come to Everest. There are so many other interesting mountains around. Here on Everest, you may be able to decide whether to use supplementary oxygen or not, but not using the fixed ropes is not really an option."
I know I have more in me and trail running can help me improve. On my record Eiger climb (mountaineering), my average pulse rate was 156 for a rate of climb of 700m gross ascent per hour. I think the limit is 800 to 850 or a bit more."
It was when I read Lafaille's story that I started to dream of going there and completing that ascent (in 1992, Jean-Christophe Lafaille set out to climb the South Face of Annapurna with Pierre Béghin who lost his life there. It took Lafaille five days to climb down alone with a broken arm. It is the 600 m of the uninished Béghin-Lafaille route that Ueli Steck is talking about.)"
My relationship with Annapurna isn't positive, but it was a real-life lesson. I have to live with it, accept doing diferent things. I don't want to live in the past. What's done is done and it's futile to keep going over it. I am and always will be amongst the action."
So many things have happened there. In 2007, the first time, I fell 300 m. The second time, in 2008, we had to abandon with Simon Anthamatten to try and save the Spanish mountaineer Inaki Ochoa, who died in my arms of a cerebral oedema at more than 7,000 metres. And the third time, I literally risked my life, I took the risk-taking too far. And there was all that controversy over reaching the summit which will never end."
The expedition to the Shishapangma with David Goettler in April 2016 was a rich learning experience from that point of view. We weren't able to do the South Face and descend by the North Face as we'd planned, but we accumulated fast excursions and kilometres at high altitude. By climbing, for example, the Girona route up to 7800 m, followed immediately by the British Route at 7600m, all in bad weather conditions. Each time, we went as far as we could while observing a proper balance between safety and performance. Admittedly we didn't make the summit, but we came back much stronger and with some great prospects for the future!"
I've gone back three times since the affair, I've had a lot of discussions with the Sherpas, thought about it a lot and learned. Everest is still a dream and I'll never let go of the dream."
The interview was given in The Himalayan Times online
Steck has a heart of gold," he says. In Nepal, nobody knows it better than Sherpa, who gives a credit to the legendary climber for boosting up his professional climbing career.
"Steck was really an extraordinary multiple-record holder climber, a helpful guy with the kindhearted soul," he pays tribute to the fellow climber.
"We together climbed Mt Everest in 2012, Mt Cholatse in 2015 and different peaks in Swiss Alps in 2016," Sherpa recalls their expeditions. Last February, they together had climbed Island peak.
"I feel proud to be a climbing partner of the famed alpinist," Sherpa, who got a chance to begin his mountaineering career with the greatest climber of his generations, reacts.
"My heart goes out to Steck family, his friends and the mountaineering fraternity."
In the Pics: Ueli Steck (Right) and Tenji Sherpa (Left) | Courtesy: The Himalayan Times
What a tragic day!
Ueli Steck lived for climbing. The opportunity to try a new route was a source of motivation, one that all who experienced his presence were affected by. He raised the bar and we all strove to build the same increase into our own game with gravity.
Thanks for the inspiration.
With empathy for the parents, family and all who loved Ueli.
Spent the day thinking of @steckueli while looking through the archives for a photo of him. Nice to remember the big grin and the glint in his eye. Ueli died yesterday climbing in the Himalaya. We lost a grand human being. It was an honor to cross paths and work together with him over the years and I always felt fortunate to get a small slice of his knowledge and perspective on life and the mountains. Time with Ueli was always awe inducing particularly because you knew how much he could be doing with that hour. Those moments and thoughts will certainly be treasured. Thanks for the time Ueli. My deepest condolences to the family. RIP
Shocking news about Ueli Steck! my condolences go's out to the family. An example and inspiration to us all. The body dies but the spirit lives for ever, we will all meet again!
Ueli inspired every climber I know. His fitness, passion, talent and ultimately his dedication to the mountains were something I could only aspire to, never reach. Thank you for pushing us through your example. We will continue to strive.
Thank you Ueli!
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RIP Ueli :( tragic day for the climbing world
Thank you Ueli for being a mentor in alpinism and a constant source of inspiration. Every climb with you was a learning to keep improving along with a mountain lover. My thoughts are with Ueli's family and friends. In loving memory Ueli Steck
I'd just set foot at Kangchenjunga's base camp, after spending two nights on the mountain to acclimatize and prepare myself.
It was a lovely day, I felt good, I felt like drinking a cool, fizzy drink, one of those that had been brought up all the way to 5500 meters.
And instead of a cold drink, a cold shower awaited me.
"Ueli died a few minutes ago, he fell from Nuptse while he was training. I think you should know. I'm very sorry." Arjun, a young Indian boy in love with eight-thousanders and who was present at base camp, gave me the tragic news.
I have lost many, very many friends in the mountains, in the Himalayas, on the Andes and the Alps. It is not a price to pay nor a tribute, or sacrifice for those who love this vertical world. It is simply what happens to those who choose to live instead of merely getting by, to those who surround themselves with people who are intensely alive, who spend each second of their life loving action and having feelings which flourish with every instant of this completeness.
There is no noble death or miserable death, but there is a life lived as the leading man or under the orders of others or influenced by fear. Ueli was not looking for approval or comprehension, he was only looking to do things the best way, according to his desire and motivation.
He had the "flaw" of being ahead of things, maybe too much so, and that is why many of his colleagues instead of silently bowing to his prowess preferred to doubt him and raise questions.
I had known him a long time, we silently hung out together, during meetings which would consist of a coffee and a few hours chatting round the table in my house, or a long run and some training every time he would visit Bergamo for his regular visits to an Italian sponsor.
We even attempted an expedition together and planned our activity as a roped team. But reality and fate wanted things to end, destroyed when we were lynched at high altitude on Everest, by a few young sherpas who had inexplicably evaded their ancient and pacific way of life.
Now the ball will start rolling, partly it is understandable, there will be commemorations, memorials, and the beatification of Ueli Steck's incredible feats and ascents.
When you die, I wonder why, everyone wants to beatify, and say how great you were. I have always wanted to manifest my appreciation to people who are alive. Shaking hands and being thanked brings a lot to human relationships.
He was a champion, in sport and in life. Life has given me the gift of having experienced and shared with him parts of his existence and plans, and now I want to silently treasure this gift, in the same way I need to treasure the pain of having lost him momentarily.
Bye Ueli, see you around sooner or later!
So sad to head about the death of Ueli Steck in the Himalaya today. Crushing.
I tried to find a nice picture of him from climbing last summer but this is the best I had - his back, running downhill. Seems fitting for the fastest alpinist I've ever known.
Such a bummer.
David's voice is broken because of sudden tears. Call me, run over something I do not understand. I head to his tent. His eyes are wet with tears, his red face. He starts to talk to me slowly, almost as if what he wants to say to me wants to hold him a moment in his heart. "Hervé ... Ueli is dead."
Thoughts are tangled, the void pervades, I lose balance. David's words let go of a huge weight in the stomach as my heart becomes hard trying to endure an earthquake of emotions that will occasionally lead me to the weeping of a friend who is gone now. That I will not see again.
And think that just a few days ago, in that pastry of Lukla we loved so much, we were all three laughing and joking, talking about mountaineering, its contradictions and its values. We planned and planned other workouts like February, other climbs, and you just invited me to your home to learn to go paragliding. You were the record man, I the mountaineer who saw in speed a quality, not the end of a climb. But the common points on which we agreed were really many, especially in lonely mountaineering, and my esteem for you, like my friendship, had made me appreciate the man besides the mountaineer. As a climber nobody could question, and who did, was because he never had the chance to share a mountain day with you, Swiss Machine.
I learned many things in the time spent together, thanks Ueli heart.
Mountaineering loses an important reference, but we have a way to follow your name, made by your talent, your strength, your dreams.
You made me better.
My heart is broken.
I want to take your gifts and give them to others. You were a gift.
I'm going to do my best but I expect you to let me know if that is not enough.
I miss you. I care deeply for you and I can't wait until I meet you again. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you this time. I am here now. And I will see you soon.
The world is mourning the death of Ueli Steck, the alpinist. I'm mourning the absence of one of my greatest friends. There's been a tremendous loss, but an even larger gain from watching how he chose to live.
Alot will be written about Ueli in the coming weeks, about a man who inspired across generational gaps, and who accomplished maybe more mountain exploits than any previous human to have walked this earth. But I knew a different Ueli. I was privileged enough to be able to see him as a brother and one of my closest friends. A person and character I saw change over the course of his career from the beginnings of the Swiss Machine to a man hounded by the media and the pressures of being in the limelight. Always trying to find the impossible balance between staying true to yourself as a climber and trying to also find a public path to help inspire other people. Because at the end of the day he loved people.
He was the perfect example of humility and honesty in an ever ego-centric online world, and he really cared for those in his inner circle. Ueli had a sensitive and loving side to him that made him a true friend. He would drop anything to help you out, no matter what; a rare quality for a person who could easily have let his climbing status define who he was.
I owe my career and my life path to his faith and trust in me. We shared a same vision of capturing real climbing and the 'boundary' that few professional athletes are interested in dedicating their time to. But most of all Ueli never changed who he was deep inside, a carpenter from Emmental. A guy who used to hand out lift tickets and save up to pay for his climbing, a man who in the prime of his professional career would come and stay with me in Chamonix and be happy to sleep under the kitchen table as my flat was so small, and a man who was sensitive and kind. Someone who felt the sharp pain of public criticism and who took it to heart far more than anyone realised, and who in the end couldn't stop himself from being pressured from the last few years of critique and base-less accusations from people who refused to believe what was possible, simply because they had never seen him move and climb like I have done. The Everest-Lhotse traverse would have been his redeeming climb in the eyes of the world; proof of his abilities that should never have been needed.
There will always be a huge Ueli shaped hole in my life and I will miss him terribly. I will miss him not seeing my little daughter grow up, I'll miss his huge smile and bright eyes, I'll miss trying to ruin his training schedule by taking him out drinking till 2am and yet still see him drag himself out of bed to go for a run stinking of vodka, I'll miss our endless discussions about life and work, but most of all I'll miss his presence and energy; a man who could install a sense of "anything is possible" just by spending time with him. It's heartwarming to see how many messages of love are being poured out all across the world. Ueli will leave an amazing legacy for generations of climbers, he was one of a kind, a pioneer who opened up styles and attitudes that will be emulated for years to come. A true gentleman who brought grace and humility to our world. But I'll miss him most as my friend and mentor. I know that time heals and the tears will stop but my god I really miss him, I can't believe I'll never see him again; the hardest part is never getting the chance to say goodbye.
The Swiss Machine. Forever a Legend.
R.I.P. Ueli Steck.
He was in the process of establishing a new route up Everest without the supplemental aid of oxygen. Ueli was one of the most recognizable alpinists in the world. His stamina and strength were unparalleled, yet nothing is certain. The mountains are unpredictable. Ueli lived his life to the limit. Each day, anything can happen; whether you are crossing the street or have a sudden health issue. Live each day being the person you want to be and surrounded by the souls you love. You never know when it will be your last.
I had the pleasure to spend some days climbing and bullshitting with Ueli last year while I lived in Switzerland. I was struck by his generosity, his enthusiasm, and his kindness. He inspired me. Apart from his absolutely legendary resume, Ueli was a damn good human. One of the good ones. You'll be missed my friend.
I had the pleasure to spend some days climbing and bullshitting with Ueli last year while I lived in Switzerland. I was struck by his generosity, his enthusiasm, and his kindness. He inspired me. Apart from his absolutely legendary resume, Ueli was a damn good human. One of the good ones. You'll be missed my friend. ???? @uelisteck
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Ueli was one of those rare people who changed our ideas of what is possible in the mountains. His fast ascents of giant peaks inspired us all. Mostly though, I will remember Ueli as a kind and generous man with whom I was honored to share a rope. I'm terribly sorry for his wife and family.
These are days of instability in this corner of the Himalayas. Today the snow has begun before no day and still has not stopped ceasing. The stores are covered and need to be shaken, every little bit, so as not to accumulate too much snow.
But the worst storm came at noon. From the base camp of Everest they sent messages of a serious accident, of which we did not give credit. The great alpinist Ueli Steck, with whom we coincided only a few weeks ago in Kathmandu, died, after a serious fall in the Nuptse.
As we write this text we still find it hard to believe.
From these mountains we want to send a strong hug and all our support to his wife, family and friends.
A very strong hug Ueli!
Source: Facebook page of Everest Hard Way Slovak expedition
Black day. Yesterday evening, we talked about what and how - the conditions for entering Hornbian are bad water ice and that Hardway would be similar. But it's always worth the effort. Tents in C2 were next to each other.
In the morning that you are going to the "training exit" on Nuptse and I'm going to put a tent in the C3 on a normal descent. I know the info under C3 and I am in SHOCK. You are not here anymore!
Nicol, Your wife, whom you mentioned yesterday ... you will miss it very much.
I'm glad I had to read that person in person and the pity it did not work ... RIP
While in the base camp of the Annapurna continues snowing strongly, we want to send a hug to the family of Ueli Steck. It has been a great loss and we will always remember him.
A true inspiration to all. A man that showed us all what was possible in the mountains and beyond. RIP my friend.....
With heavy sadness, we say good bye to one of the greatest climbers of our time, Ueli Steck. Ueli died today while solo climbing on Nuptse, just above Camp 1 on Everest. Like many, I looked up to Ueli as an incredible climber. I saw/met him briefly a few times, and he was a cordial and kind man. Last week we watched him solo at 22,000 feet up above Camp 2 on his way toward the difficult West Ridge of Everest. With only my GoPro handy, I took this wide photo of him climbing up. Ueli is circled in red. We watched him ascend for an hour until the clouds closed in. My condolences to his family, friends and many fans. I will always remember seeing Ueli climb up, up, up and into the clouds.
Thank you Ueli for showing us what could be done, to live bravely & give back with your generous spirit. You'll be missed #Uelisteck
Is very hard to say that this is now a very, very precious memories for me. It was my last nice talk with Ueli :(
Goodbye my friend Ueli Steck! You'll be allways an inspiration for me.
Today while Yannick, Hans and me were climbing to C3, Ueli Steck died at the Nuptse. Yesterday we were having lunch together in C2. Too sad.
Today while Yannick, Hans and me were climbing to C3, Ueli Steck died at the Nuptse. Yesterday we were having lunch together in C2. Too sad.— Ferran Latorre (@ferranlatorre) April 30, 2017
Ueli Steck on Annapurna Expedition 2013 | Courtesy: uelisteck.ch