Climber: Ueli Steck
Route: Supercouloir Direct (5.9 A1/M6 90˚; 1,575 feet)
Location: Mont Blanc du Tacul, Chamonix, France
On Sunday April 30, legendary Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck died on Nuptse during an acclimatization run for the Lhotse Traverse, his goal for this trip to the Everest region. Born in the town of Langnau im Emmental, near the Swiss capital of Bern, in October 1976, Steck began climbing when he was 12. In his 28 years as a climber, he made significant ascents on rock, including the first ascent of the Eiger Nordwand’s most difficult route, Pacienca (5.13b; 23 pitches), in 2008; and, in 2009, a near-onsight of Golden Gate (VI 5.13b) on El Capitan. (Steck’s only fall was on a wet 5.11 pitch.) However, Steck was best known for his unmatched alpine prowess, which earned him two Piolet d’Or medals: first for a 2008 alpine-style ascent of the north face of Tengkampoche (6,487 meters), Khumbu Valley, Nepal, with Simon Anthamatten; and second for his 2013 solo of the South Face of Annapurna (8,091 meters) in Nepal. Steck is survived by his wife, Nicole. For more about Steck’s life, visit Looking Back on the Life of Ueli Steck.
Photo: Jonathan Griffith/Alpine Exposures