Ueli Steck

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Ueli Steck
Ueli Steck.jpg
Steck in 2012
Personal information
Full name Ueli Steck
Main discipline Mountaineering
Other disciplines Carpentry
Born (1976-10-04)4 October 1976
Langnau im Emmental, Switzerland
Died 30 April 2017(2017-04-30) (aged 40)
Nuptse, Nepal
Nationality Swiss
Starting age 17

Ueli Steck (German: [ˈyːli ʃtɛk]; 4 October 1976 – 30 April 2017) was a Swiss rock climber and mountaineer.

He won two Piolet d'Or awards, in 2009 and 2014. He was also famous for his speed records on the North Face trilogy in the Alps.

Steck died on 30 April 2017 after falling during an acclimatizing climb for an attempt on the Hornbein route on the West Ridge of Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Steck had previously summited Mount Everest on May 18, 2012, and he also summited Ama Dablam that year.[1][2]


At the age of 17, Steck achieved the 9th difficulty rating (UIAA) in climbing. As an 18-year-old he climbed the North Face of the Eiger and the Bonatti Pillar in the Mont Blanc massif. In June 2004, he and Stephan Siegrist climbed the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau within 25 hours. Another success was the so-called "Khumbu-Express Expedition" in 2005, for which the climbing magazine Climb named him one of the three best alpinists in Europe.[citation needed] The project consisted of the first solo climb of the north wall of Cholatse (6,440 m) and the east wall of Taboche (6505 m).[3]

Steck set his first speed record on the North Face of the Eiger in 2007, climbing it in 3 hours and 54 minutes.[4] The record was lowered by Steck himself to 2 hours 47 minutes 33 seconds the following year.[5]

In May 2008, climbing Annapurna, he broke off his ascent due to an avalanche threat, but the next week climbed to assist Spanish climber Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, who had collapsed. Medical help was slow in coming and the Spanish climber died despite Steck's help.[6][7]

In 2008, Steck was the first recipient of the Eiger Award for his mountaineering achievements.[8]

In April 2013, Steck and two other mountaineers, Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith, were involved in an incident with several Sherpas who were fixing ropes for commercial expeditions on the Lhotse face above camp 2 on the Mount Everest South Col route which subsequently escalated into a dangerous confrontation with many Sherpas after Steck and his companions returned to camp 2, and became an international media event.[9][10][11][12][13]

On 8 and 9 October 2013 Steck soloed the Lafaille route on Annapurna.[14] on the main and highest part of the face;[15] this was his third attempt on the route and has been called "one of the most impressive Himalayan climbs in history",[16] with Steck taking 28 hours to make the trip from Base Camp to summit and back again.[17]

Steck made the first solo ascent of Annapurna, and won his second Piolet d'Or.[18] In late 2015 he set a new record for the North Face of the Eiger, soloing it in 2 hours 22 minutes and 50 seconds.[4][19]

In April 2016, Steck and his German mountaineering partner, David Göttler, found the bodies of Alex Lowe and paraglider David Bridges.[20] Lowe and Bridges were killed in an avalanche in 1999 while searching for a route up Shishapangma to attempt the first ski descent.[21]

Personal life and death[edit]

Steck was a carpenter by training and lived in Ringgenberg near Interlaken, Switzerland.[5]

Steck died on 30 April 2017 while acclimatizing for an attempt of the Hornbein route on the West Ridge of Everest without supplemental oxygen.[22] This route had been climbed only a few times, the last of which was in 1991. His plan was to climb the Hornbein Couloir to the summit, then proceed with a traverse to the peak of Lhotse, the world's fourth highest mountain. This combination had not been achieved.[23]

On April 16, during preparations for the attempt, his climbing partner, Tenji Sherpa, suffered frostbite, which would take some weeks to heal. Steck carried on with scouting and acclimatisation, climbing up to Everest's Camp 2, en route to the South Col. On April 29, he changed his plans, texting Tenji that he was about to instead climb the nearby peak of Nuptse, and did not respond to a follow-up question.[24]

On April 30, he began climbing around 4:30 AM, accompanied initially by French climber Yannick Graziani. Approximately 300 metres (980 ft) below the summit, he fell an estimated 1,000 metres (3,300 ft),[23] seen by several Sherpas and expedition members around the valley.[24] It is not known what caused the fall. His body was found in the Western Cwm, between camps 1 and 2, and transported back to Kathmandu where memorial services were held. [25][24]



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Christine Kopp (1 June 2005). "Ueli Steck - absolute void". planetmountain.com. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Ueli Steck Takes Back Eiger Speed Record". climbing.com. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Ueli Steck". SCARPA. Archived from the original on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Luke Bauer (23 May 2008). "Inaki Ochoa de Olza Dies on Annapurna". alpinist.com. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Annapurna-Expedition 2008". uelisteck.ch. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Another victor of the unwinnable". alpinist.com. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Tim Neville (2 May 2013). "Brawl On Everest: Ueli Steck's Story". outsideonline.com. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Ueli Steck Attacked on Everest". rockandice.com. 28 April 2013. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Everest: Moro, Steck and Griffith attacked at 7,200m". planetmountain.com. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Manoj Kumar Shrestha (28 April 2013). "Three foreigners thrashed at Everest base camp". thehimalayantimes.com. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Everest 2013". simonemoro.com. 28 April 2013. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Annapurna South Face Routes", russianclimb.com, accessed 13 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Ueli Steck and Annapurna: the interview after his South Face solo", planetmountain.com, accessed 14 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Steck Solos Annapurna South Face", ukclimbing.com, accessed 13 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Annapurna South Face Solo - 28 Hours", ukclimbing.com, accessed 13 October 2013.
  18. ^ Shey Kiester (11 October 2013). "Ueli Steck's Annapurna South Face Solo". alpinist.com. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "Ueli Steck, A Tribute". dreamwanderlust.com. 5 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Climbers Alex Lowe and David Bridges' bodies found in Tibet after 16 years". BBC News. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  21. ^ "The bodies of two climbers have been found in a melting glacier 16 years after they were killed". news.com.au. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  22. ^ "Renowned climber Ueli Steck dies near Mount Everest". The Guardian. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  23. ^ a b Bhandari, Rajneesh; Bromwich, Jonah Engel (2017-04-30). "Ueli Steck, Renowned Mountain Climber, Dies Near Everest at 40". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  24. ^ a b c O'Neil, Devon (2017-05-30). "The Last Days of Ueli Steck". Outside Online. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  25. ^ "'Swiss Machine' Ueli Steck no more". dreamwanderlust.com. 30 April 2017. 
  26. ^ "The 2009 winners". pioletsdor.com. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Piolet d'Or 2009, the winners". planetmountain.com. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ueli Steck, primer premio Karl Unterkircher" (in Spanish). desnivel.com. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Karl Unterkircher Award a Ueli Steck" (in Italian). planetmountain.com. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Ueli Steck and Raphael Slawinsky & Ian Welsted win the Piolets d'Or 2014". planetmountain.com. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  31. ^ "Adventurer of the Year, Ueli Steck, Killed Climbing Near Mount Everest". nationalgeographic.com. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 

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