Ueli Steck, Dies Near Everest at 40

Yesterday, Ueli Steck, the Swiss climber commonly regarded as one of the most formidable alpinists to ever live, was making a solo ascent of Nuptse, a Himalayan peak conjoined with Mt. Everest, when he apparently slipped and plunged 3,280 feet to his death. He was 40. By climbing Nupste, Steck was acclimatizing for a climb he had planned to attempt later this month: Everest’s West Ridge, a route which has caused more deaths than successful ascents; upon reaching Everest’s summit, he would then traverse to Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest peak. This incredibly dangerous traverse has been climbed, unsuccessfully, by only one other person.

Steck’s achievements in mountaineering are many, though he will be best remembered for his solo ascent of the Eiger’s North Face in 2015, having climbed it in just over two hours — a world speed record — as well as his successful ascents of all 82 13,000-plus-foot peaks in the Alps in just 62 days that same year. Steck was a deity of the “fast and light” school of alpinism, a practice in which climbers minimize gear loads in order to reach summits as quickly as possible. Steck had also twice received the Piolet d’Or award, mountaineering’s highest accolade.

Nearly a month ago, Steck wrote what would be his final post on his blog, closing out with a poignant, eerily ominous quote: “And now I’ll just go; and only worry about the events that lie ahead of me. Day by day, one by one. It is the here and now that counts. What comes next is uncertain in any case. Learn from Yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

In remembrance of “The Swiss Machine,” we have resurfaced our interview with Steck in 2015. The New York Times has Steck’s full obituary.
Michael Finn

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3 Responses to Ueli Steck, Dies Near Everest at 40

  1. Robert May 2, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    Two good videos of what Ueli accomplished.

    The Swiss Machine:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUWBbepsdmY

    Ueli Steck’s 82 Summit Project:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jLCeSSIF-k

  2. Ghaznavid May 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    What do you say when a legend dies? He took one of the most demanding sports to a much higher level, achieving various feats that most wouldn’t even dream of trying. Alex Honnold’s tribute sums it up perfectly – Steck was one of the most solid mountaineers out there, unfortunately the mountain wasn’t.

    There are few that inspired me like this man – his ethic towards training was in a league of its own, his boldness and willingness to try new things was always a big factor in his success.

  3. Gerhard May 3, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    Yea truly an inspiring guy. Always seemed so humble and passionate.
    Sad news…

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