/ VIDEO: Ueli Steck - The Swiss Machine
The video is a portrait of Swiss uber mountaineer Ueli Steck in action speed climbing some of the Alps most sought-after north faces.
Watch the video: http://www.ukclimbing.com/videos/play.php?i=338
I had to laugh when he sets off running up the Eiger! Surreal...
His crampons start to slip on the rock/ice in the last 10 seconds.
Brilliant stuff - inspirational!
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.
Amazing guy - saw him at Kendal last year and was please to shake his hand. Total dedication - gold medal perfomances.
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.
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...
Quite possibly. I shan't be trying it any time soon though!
Almost beyond belief ... I'll have to confess I fear for him a bit, though. Just one smallish mistake ...
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...
This guy is such an inspiration. One of the best going.
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.
> 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.
I fear for them too.
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.
> 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!!!!
Just remember though that according to some he's not classed as an athlete!
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.
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.
and it is absolutely incredible.
> 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!
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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