/ NEWS/VIDEO: Steck Solos Matterhorn North Face in 1:56

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Michael Ryan - on 19 Jan 2009
The Swiss climber Ueli Steck has climbed the north face of the Matterhorn by the Schmid Route in 1 hour 56 minutes.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=01&year=2009#n45571

Thanks to petestack for originally flagging this achievement up.
lukehunt - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
That Guy is a machine! I wonder what time he will get on all six faces...
Lord Spiff on 20 Jan 2009 - i-195-137-42-29.freedom2surf.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Well feck me backwards to Christmas with a tentpeg!
Only a hill - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Lord Spiff:
Whatever floats your boat, mate!!

p.s. Incredible achievement--I can't even begin to imagine the level of skill and confidence required to climb such an incredible route in such a short space of time.
veteye - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Only a hill:
Astounding!
I bet our Calves would be aching after only a quarter of the way up(he looked like he was front pointing all the way without rest), and that would have taken longer than he took to get to the top.

Maybe he could do the Cassin route on Denali so quickly that he didnt get chance to get altitude sickness.
Bulls Crack - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to Lord Spiff)
> Whatever floats your boat, mate!!
>
> p.s. Incredible achievement--I can't even begin to imagine the level of skill and confidence required to climb such an incredible route in such a short space of time.
'
Yes but all this concentration on 'the time' seems a bit of a dead-end...imo
Nicholas Livesey on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Bulls Crack: Could Steck be the Dan Osman of mountaineering? ;-)

An amazing achievment that puts hard bouldering 'sends' into perspective.

Radical dude.
thommi - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Nicholas Livesey:
Yep. The guys operating in a different stratosphere. Gimme a ring sometime Nick, we need to talk... :-) tom.
Kyuzo on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Absolutely stunning! This guy is on fire.
Adam Moroz - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

The news bird looks like Patsy Kensit.
Jonas Wiklund - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: That is really fast that is. But what an un-intelligible dialect Ueli has...
lummox - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Nicholas Livesey:
>
> An amazing achievment that puts hard bouldering 'sends' into perspective.

Does it ? Both disciplines require massive commitment, strength,conditioning etc..

lose that chip dude.

999thAndy on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to Nicholas Livesey)
> [...]
>
> Both disciplines require massive commitment

?
Fall from a boulder: "pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again"

Fall from a north face: "someone pick the big bits up, the rest can go into the crevasse"

beardy mike - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Adam Moroz: Haha - I thought exactly the same!
beardy mike - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to 999thAndy:

> Fall from a north face: "someone pick the big bits up, the rest can go into the crevasse"

Should that not be "someone scrapes up the bloody sludge, and saves the tooth fragments for identification."
lummox - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to 999thAndy:
> (In reply to lummox)
> [...]
>
> ?
> Fall from a boulder: "pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again"

http://www.bigupproductions.com/#/blog/500/

I`d love to see you dust yourself off falling from that..
>
> Fall from a north face: "someone pick the big bits up, the rest can go into the crevasse"


..not that I was really talking about that sort of commitment.. but of course you knew that.
Marek - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Jonas Wiklund:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) That is really fast that is. But what an un-intelligible dialect Ueli has...

Schweize Deutch I assume... http://www.eldrid.ch/swgerman.htm
beardy mike - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to lummox: Although if you read your link you'll see that even Kevin calls it a 5.13 solo rather than a boulder problem...
katie75 - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Amazing stuff.
Pagan - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Nicholas Livesey:

> An amazing achievment that puts hard bouldering 'sends' into perspective.

It certainly does. Hard bouldering 'sends' (God I hate that word) take months, if not years of specific training and dedication. This took 1hr 56 minutes. Go figure.

Whilst this is an impressive enough achievement, it saddens me to think that this may be the future of alpinism, at least in Europe - classic routes being turned into racetracks for the fit who can't be bothered to take up the real challenges of improving on style or taking alpine style climbing to the big mountains. It all just seems a bit crass and soulless - read the bit about Comb Gully in Cold Climbs which sums it up quite well.
ads.ukclimbing.com
dmhigg - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan: I'm not sure about the "style" and "can't be bothered". I thought the Es Tressider Cuillin ridge record was one of the purest mountain escapades I'd encountered. What can be purer than a mountaineer unencumbered with safety nets making his way up a difficult mountain in as short a time as possible? To denigrate it is perhaps to criticise someone running up Snowdon as "not doing it properly" because he doesn't have big boots, a heavy pack etc. If a fellrunner has no "style", he trips and lands on his face; if Steck has no style, he dies. What will be impressive is when he (and I think he already has)takes his extraordinary skill and fitness to the really big mountains. Just as the front pointing of Comb Gully did in the step cutting era, these achievements are revising the way we think about climbing.
Damo on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:

Ueli Steck recently climbed a new route, alpine-style on the N face of TengKampoche with Simon Anthmatten - a route failed on by Brits and many others. He made fast, new route climbs of Taweche and Cholatse N face some years ago. He climbed a new route single-push on the W face of Pumori. He used his incredible fitness and speed to get up in poor weather and rescue Colibanasu on Annapurna last year, sadly not being able to save Ochoa. His speed climbs are training and publicity for his - well deserved - sponsors. Such climbs are still a minority in the Alps. He has also done extremely hard new routes on the N face of the Eiger. He has taken a breadth of climbing ability to a level of excellence most boulderers can't even imagine. I'm betting Steck boulders better than most boulderers solo WI6?

You should use someone else to portray your ill-informed opinions.

'Crass' is multiple gratuitous pictures of teenage girls in bikinis and sports bras, often not actually climbing, used to sell bouldering magazines.

D

Glen - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:

Have you seen the other stuff Ueli has been up to in the greater ranges?
beardy mike - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:

> It certainly does. Hard bouldering 'sends' (God I hate that word) take months, if not years of specific training and dedication. This took 1hr 56 minutes. Go figure.

Obviously no specific training or any dedication is involved here at all. Get real...
Pagan - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Damo:

Thanks for this - I don't recall seeing any of the above ascents reported on UKC - clearly a quick jog up a trade route is considered more newsworthy on here than genuinely impressive alpine ascents - but I guess it's entirely possible that I just missed them. Note to self - do more research in future.

> I'm betting Steck boulders better than most boulderers solo WI6?

Ohhhhh, and then you blew it. What a ludicrous comparison. A bit like saying I bet Ty Landman ice climbs better than most ice climbers can boulder V14. Skills in climbing are transferable, those operating at the top end are generally going to perform better across all disciplines than the common mass of punters.

(NB. I'm well aware that ice climbing requires more conditions nouse than other facets of the sport but since most climbers rarely venture onto anything harder than WI3/4 it's not likely to be too much of an issue).

galpinos - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Damo:
> 'Crass' is multiple gratuitous pictures of teenage girls in bikinis and sports bras, often not actually climbing, used to sell bouldering magazines.
>
> D

Do you know the names of these magazines off hand? Care to share the wealth?
alasdair19 on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:
most climbers rarely venture onto anything harder than WI3/4 it's not likely to be too much of an issue

mmmm that is probably true of those that don't actually do very much winter climbing, mixed climbing has exploded in popularity in scotland in the last 10 years so a fair numbe of folk are in the WI5+ category

Ueli is a fairly unusual talent, Steve House being the best known english speaking climber doing similar sort of things.
Glen - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:

Steck has free climbed F8a on the Eiger, so I suspect he is not actually a bad boulderer.
Glen - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Glen:

Oh and 8b+ else where.
Pagan - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to alasdair19:

> mmmm that is probably true of those that don't actually do very much winter climbing, mixed climbing has exploded in popularity in scotland in the last 10 years so a fair numbe of folk are in the WI5+ category

I'm not sure I get you there. Surely if mixed climbing has exploded in popularity (not disagreeing with you - it has) then that's related more to folk climbing M-whatever routes rather than WI routes. My guess would be that if people are slowly starting to climb harder WI grades it's more to do with the perceived quality (or lack thereof) of Scottish conditions over recent years coupled with the development of areas like Rjukan and availabilty of cheap flights.

Incidentally, I know sh*tloads of people who've climbed WI6 and hardly any who've bouldered font 8a. Maybe it's just the circles I move in but still...

Glen: Yes, yes. Read my post earlier about people who excel at one aspect being generally better than the masses in most other aspects.
GrahamD - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Tom Briggs - Jagged Globe:

But what's he ever done on grit ?
In reply to GrahamD:

Dear o dear, I hope Parnell doesn't read this thread!
Pagan - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to a few people:

Time to come clean, there may have been a vague element of wind-uppery in my initial post. I knew Steck was good although I was too lazy to do the research to find out *how* good. I still feel that this obsession with the time is a dead end, however, and hopefully dies an early death but I guess the guy needs to satisfy his sponsors.

My main gripe is with perma-morons like Mike Kann who love to use stuff like this to tell us all how alpine climbing is superior to all other forms of climbing and how bouldering V15 is p!ss in comparison to climbing 1000m with a crux at a whopping grade of Scots IV and how dreadful it would be to fail on such a venture - conveniently forgetting that it makes bugger all difference if one falls off soloing the Eiger Nordwand, Kipling Groove or the crux on P.2 of Valkyrie at Froggatt, the end result is still the same.

It's very easy to belittle climbers who don't face the fear of death in their everyday climbs but often these people have never felt the holds on a hard problem, tried to link the moves of a hard sport route and more importantly, have never had to face up to the self doubt and keep going back time and time again to try on something that they may never do. I'm not saying it's harder, but when you're faced with a ground fall, the choice becomes horribly simple - you get up the thing or you f*ck yourself up and in many ways, that's an easier choice to make. When you're not committed, the option is always there to just walk away and leave it - going back to the route or problem in question takes a huge amount of self belief - some of you people should try it sometime.

I'm not saying that one is inherently better or worse, or harder or easier than the other. Just that it's all climbing and just because one person has pulled off an impressive feat in one discipline it's no reason to denigrate the achievements of other climbers in other disciplines.
beardy mike - on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:
>
> My main gripe is with perma-morons like Mike Kann who love to use stuff like this to tell us all how alpine climbing is superior to all other forms of climbing and how bouldering V15 is p!ss in comparison to climbing 1000m with a crux at a whopping grade of Scots IV and how dreadful it would be to fail on such a venture - conveniently forgetting that it makes bugger all difference if one falls off soloing the Eiger Nordwand, Kipling Groove or the crux on P.2 of Valkyrie at Froggatt, the end result is still the same.

Ahhh I feel all warm and fuzzy... you even made up a special insult for me. If you are refering to me having been trolling when people were getting their knickers in a twist over team America, I apologise profusely for sucking you in. If its what I said above, well, crikey, I don'tthink I have denigrated anything. If I have a gripe with anything, it would be with boulderers jumping up and down saying how unfairlythey are treated by the big bully trad climbers. Do you really give a shit what anybody else thinks of your climbing? I certainly don't which is lucky seeing as I'm crap. As for me not liking bouldering to the pointat which I exclude all other forms of climbing, well, so what, it's just not my bag...
Damo on 28 Jan 2009
In reply to Pagan:
> (In reply to Damo)
> Ohhhhh, and then you blew it. What a ludicrous comparison. A bit like saying I bet Ty Landman ice climbs better than most ice climbers can boulder V14. Skills in climbing are transferable, those operating at the top end are generally going to perform better across all disciplines than the common mass of punters.

You're waffling generalities. I was being specific. You denigrated the specific act of a specific person, comparing it to 'hard bouldering'. I proposed that given Steck's background, that was a poor choice by you. Staying specific, if you want to do comparisons, then it doesn't get much simpler than "I can do what you do, but can you do what I do?".

Steck is better placed to ask that question of any of his detractors than most, though he's probably too busy training and climbing to argue endlessly with strangers on the interwebs.

D

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