Dubbed “the Swiss Machine,” Steck’s latest climb becomes the fastest solo speed ascent of the North Face of Switzerland’s famed Eiger.
“Conditions and weather are always different. But this is what makes alpinism interesting and unique…” – Ueli Steck
The climb took place on November 16, as good weather and clear climbing conditions helped Steck push to the summit. “We can never compare ascents in a place like the Eiger,” said Steck. “Conditions and weather are always different. But this is what makes alpinism interesting and unique. For me it is the personal challenge and your own experience that really matters.”
The Eiger, located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, has long been an iconic alpine testing ground. The route boasts an impressive vertical gain of 1800 meters. In 2008, Steck smashed his own record by over an hour, clocking an impressive 2 hour, 47 minute summit. In 2011, the record was taken by Dani Arnold, who accomplished the climb in 2 hours and 28 minutes using fixed ropes.
Now, the record goes back to Steck, who said after the climb, “Now I know the difference between 2008 and 2015. Today I had a good track, good conditions and I was pulling some gear that made it quite safe and I believe it makes much more sense this way. I didn‘t push myself as hard as in 2008 and I felt very comfortable. This makes this ascent a beautiful experience and a great day.”
Steck’s 2015 gear boost can be credited to Cali-based Mountain Hardwear, a leader in the alpine world for equipment, apparel and accessories. “We work with era-defining athletes to develop lightweight, easy to use, and incredibly crafted outdoor clothing and equipment,” the brand said. Its legacy of partnering with athletes that redefine boundaries reaches a pinnacle with Steck.
The record breaking accent was somewhat of a finale for Steck, who has spent the last few weeks taking advantage of good climbing conditions and attempting a number of routes on the Eiger. During this time, Steck was accompanied by fellow climbers and trail runners Nicolas Hojac and Killian Jornet before setting out on his solo speed ascent.