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with Stefan Nestler

Ueli’s successful Annapurna mission

Ueli in his tent on Annapurna

Ueli did it. Just what exactly? The Swiss climber Ueli Steck is keeping us in suspense after his adventure on Annapurna. “Successful mission!”, is said on his homepage. “Don (Bowie) and Ueli are on the way to Pokhara. Updates will follow in the coming days.” Quite honestly, if I could I would run to meet them on their trekking. I’m bursting with curiosity. Has Ueli really climbed  solo via a direct route through the South Face to the 8091-meter-high summit of Annapurna? Is the rumor true that the Swiss, who celebrated his 37th birthday a week ago, needed only 28 hours to climb up and down?

The Swiss takes his time

My gut feeling is telling me that Ueli again did a real great climb. For certain he has got the information that the internet has run hot since yesterday with breaking news about his solo ascent. If it was a hoax, he surely would have denied the reports by SMS. And in one respect Ueli fulfils the cliché of the slow Swiss: In contrast to his speed of climbing he is slowing down when he has to inform the public about his adventures. Even two years ago when Ueli climbed solo via the Shishapangma South Face he took up plenty of time before he published details of his spectacular climb.

Great comeback

In the South Face

By now, I warmly congratulate Ueli, even if I still do not know exactly on what. I am delighted that he has obviously come to terms with his horrible experiences on Mount Everest at the end of April and is now again making headlines as a top climber. After the Sherpa attack against him, Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith it temporarily even looked as if Ueli would withdraw completely from Himalayan mountaineering. Now he has celebrated his comeback – and I’m almost sure it was a great one. Jon Griffith, Uelis teammate and fellow sufferer on Everest, on Facebook got to the heart of it:  “Holy crap. If the news from Annapurna is true then Ueli Steck you are truly one hell of a machine. I don’t think anyone will be able to comprehend what kind of an accomplishment that is.”

Update 12.10.: Robert Boesch, photographer and mountaineer from Switzerland, says that he has spoken to Ueli Steck on satellite phone after his climbing of Annapurna. According to Robert Ueli has climbed solo on a new route through the South Wall directly to the summit. Steck needed 28 hours for ascent and descent, says Robert: “His climb opened a new dimension in high altitude mountaineering.” You can take a first look on the route here.


11. October 2013 | 21:18