/ VIDEO: Ueli Steck - The Swiss Machine

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UKC Videos - on 04 Oct 2010
[Ueli Steck - The Swiss Machine]
This is an excerpt of a video that will be showing on the Reel Rock Tour in autumn 2010.

The video is a portrait of Swiss uber mountaineer Ueli Steck in action speed climbing some of the Alps most sought-after north faces.

http://www.reelrocktour.com/calendar/

Watch the video: http://www.ukclimbing.com/videos/play.php?i=338

Mark020 - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:

Thats amazing!

I had to laugh when he sets off running up the Eiger! Surreal...
James Oswald - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:
Awesome.
His crampons start to slip on the rock/ice in the last 10 seconds.
Scary!
James
Will Sim - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos: Complete and utter legend. Climber and person.
Will
In reply to Will Sim: That's great. I love it when he says "I'm so Swiss!" and is laughing at himself at the same time.
andyinglis - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos: Great and interesting video!!!
In reply to UKC Videos:

Brilliant stuff - inspirational!


Chris
yelloman on 04 Oct 2010 - 82.132.248.32 whois?
In reply to UKC Videos: So amazing to watch and such an inspiration. Does anyone know if he published his specific training program for his speed ascent on the eiger?
Alun - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:
Great video.

His dedication to training is inspirational, although personally I find it difficult to maintain much respect for motivations behind speed soloing.

It makes gripping viewing though, I'll admit that.
Ron Kenyon - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:

Amazing guy - saw him at Kendal last year and was please to shake his hand. Total dedication - gold medal perfomances.
In reply to yelloman: I think his training for the Eiger wasnt just a set one year plan but lots of different regimes over many years. This wasn't just for the Eiger but just his personal training regime as a climber. He did however 'join' the Swiss Olympic team for more intense and scientific training pre-Eiger.

Alun: I think it's very hard to understand the rational and psyche behind speed soloing until you try it yourself. It's definitely not a case of daft boldness. Ueli is a very calculated climber and always in control. His speed records are truly incredible- I climbed the Colton Macintyre recently and just cannot get my head around how fast he did it in. It's not just a case of fitness for these climbs either- they involve some very serious mixed climbing, often very tenuous. However Ueli is a master of all climbing trades and you can see that for him, these climbs that 'we' think are pretty serious, are actually so far below his technical level that they are quite easy. Regardless of that though he is also really strong in the head, which on these kind of faces is so important when going at it without a rope.

It would be an amazing thing to be able to do if you were capable. It's not a media statement; it's a form of climbing that entails no ropes, no belays, and no weight. Just covering a huge amount of technical ground on serious mountains before lunch time. I'm not having a go at you here in any way by the way- even though I've seen Ueli climb and been one of only a handful of people who have actually watched him speed solo up something I still dont fully understand how he does it.

Jon
Alun - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to Jon Griffith:

> It would be an amazing thing to be able to do if you were capable. It's not a media statement

Yes I understand that. Neither he nor Honnold come across as the sort of people that are doing it for the media. I accept they do it for themselves, and I respect their drive and vision. But I still struggle to respect their motivation, possibly because...

> I think it's very hard to understand the rational and psyche behind speed soloing until you try it yourself.

Quite possibly. I shan't be trying it any time soon though!
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:

Almost beyond belief ... I'll have to confess I fear for him a bit, though. Just one smallish mistake ...
alicia - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos:

I saw the Reel Rock Tour about a week ago and thought this video was very good. You got to see the training, the mental attitude, the skill...and what that all combined to produce.

I like some of the ideas of speed soloing--I like having a time to try to beat in any activity, and I like the idea of being able to do such great climbs without the intrusion of a bunch of heavy gear--but there was one bit of the film that surprised me by how jarring I found it. It was the first time you see Ueli top out; it was seeing him take a long look at his watch before he looked up at all at the (amazing!) view. It's not at all the kind of thing I would have expected to bother me, but still, it did make me feel as if there was something just a tiny bit "off" about the speed soloing concept. I did find that seeing him look at his watch first thing bothered me less with each time the film showed him topping out, so maybe it's more the surprise of it than anything...
In reply to alicia: Do remember though that all the video you see of him is all a re-enactment. This is not something he hides, just something that not many realise. So you arent actually watching him top out for 'real' hence why he might be checking his watch straight away- sort of acting it all out if you see what i mean....to emphasize the speed and time.

jackcarr on 04 Oct 2010 - cpc3-heme7-0-0-cust759.9-1.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to UKC Videos:

This guy is such an inspiration. One of the best going.
alicia - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to Jon Griffith:
> (In reply to alicia) Do remember though that all the video you see of him is all a re-enactment. This is not something he hides, just something that not many realise. So you arent actually watching him top out for 'real' hence why he might be checking his watch straight away- sort of acting it all out if you see what i mean....to emphasize the speed and time.

That's a good point, and I hadn't thought of that. It'd be interesting to see if he does the same thing on the actual ascents.
Tom Knowles - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to UKC Videos)
>
> Almost beyond belief ... I'll have to confess I fear for him a bit, though. Just one smallish mistake ...

I don't fear for him (or Alex Honnold) at all. For example, I fear far more for those inexperienced climbers heading out with ropes and racks in their first Scottish winter season to do a Grade I route oblivious of avalanche risk, precipitous icy paths, weather forecasts, daylight hours etc.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to Tom Knowles:

I fear for them too.
gethin_allen on 04 Oct 2010
In reply to Tom Knowles:
I share Gordon's fears for Ueli far more than yours. Baring possible avalanches and assuming some degree of competency, a small mistake roped up on a grade 1 shouldn't result in too serious injury or death but a small mistake or even just bad luck (rockfall, equipment failure etc) climbing the Eiger solo and it's a different story.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Ryan - on 05 Oct 2010
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> I fear far more for those inexperienced climbers heading out with ropes and racks in their first Scottish winter season to do a Grade I route oblivious of avalanche risk, precipitous icy paths, weather forecasts, daylight hours etc.

That's how most winter climbers started. The school of hard knocks and learning by experience.

When people say they 'fear for someone' do they lay awake at night worrying about the possibilty that someone may die climbing? Do they break out in cold sweats?

I have this vision of Gethin, Tom and Gordon 'fearing' for other climbers.

Maybe a mother worrying about a son or daughter participating in something dangerous!!!!

Erik B - on 05 Oct 2010
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC: i thought those comments were funny too, totally ott :)
Bill Davidson - on 05 Oct 2010
In reply to Jon Griffith:
> (In reply to yelloman) He did however 'join' the Swiss Olympic team for more intense and scientific training pre-Eiger.
>
>
Just remember though that according to some he's not classed as an athlete!
gethin_allen on 05 Oct 2010
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:
It don't loose sleep over it. I do however get rather tense when watching Ueli climbing. I know I shouldn't really as it's obvious that he doesn't fall to his death, that would be quite a sick film to put on the internet.
steveej - on 08 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos: incredible really.

to me this is the stuff that three or four generations (and later from know) is like the early part of the twenty first century, in the history books, this is the cutting edge of what is happening in the alps.

having been on el cap a few weeks ago, and being passed by sean leary and dean potter doing NIAD, now I can see how they do it, so having seen it its not impossible, but its seeing the transition in that they have had the vision to make the impossible - possible. im sure fifty years from now it will be de-rigeur to do it in a fast time.

steveej - on 08 Oct 2010
In reply to steveej: in light of the above, these alpine routes in three and a half hours is like a quantumn leap in standard standards (if that makes sense).

and it is absolutely incredible.
Robert Durran - on 08 Oct 2010
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> I don't fear for him at all.

I believe he has said he will or has stop speed soloing because he fears for himself!
Fidmark - on 08 Oct 2010
In reply to UKC Videos: this is inspirational. I want to go climbing right now
rockstoned on 11 Oct 2010
There was an interview somewhere with Herr Steck, where he was saying that it's difficult to make a living from climbing, and that he was doing the north face trilogy climbs in order to make a profile for himself, a kind of marketing, if you like. That to me sounds like he realised what he's good at (climbing difficult technical terrain fast and solo) and decided to use it to stand above the rest and make a name for himself. Therefore, it's not a simple question of of publicity, or who he's doing it for.

I think he's doing it for himself, and using the media coverage to spread the word and make a name/income for himself, and of course as a prestigeous athlete for his sponsors. Nothing wrong with that. He's the genuine article, I wish him plenty more recognition and financial success.

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