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NEWS: Ueli Steck Reclaims Eiger Speed Record

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 UKC News 18 Nov 2015
Ueli on Pointe Walker, 3 kbHaving previously held the Eiger Speed Record in 2007 and 2008, yesterday Ueli Steck beat Dani Arnold's 2011 time of 2 hours 28 and reclaimed the fastest time in an astonishing 2 hours 22 minutes and 50 seconds.

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 Josh Willett 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Unreal!
 James Edwards 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

I climbed a new 50m route at the weekend. It took us quite a bit more than 2 hours 22 mins and 50 seconds.

I think, although it looks like the same game on the outside, it isn't; coats for goal posts verses the World Cup!

We did stop half way up for a large lunch, mind.

Well done.

James e
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:
This is obviously very impressive from a physical conditioning point of view, but isn't it now getting a bit pointless from a climbing perspective?
Post edited at 16:23
16
 James Edwards 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

Isn't all climbing pointless? That's what makes it so beautiful and satisfying on a very deep level; i know i could walk round or take a cable car - but i choose to go my way and no other.

James e

In reply to Goucho:
I think his speed ascents of the 38 route are a sort of personal benchmark, a physical and psychological challenge, i really don't think he does these things for anyone but himself, it was looking likely something like this was on the cards, as he has been doing laps on the eiger with various partners for the last few weeks.

Bravo an outstanding bit of climbing from the Swiss machine.
Post edited at 16:51
 Kemics 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

I remember the guy who had beat Ueli's time had used fixed lines on a traverse, whereas Ueli had chosen a purer free ascent. I wonder if he used the fixed lines this time? Hopefully not as it makes a great statement....if yes, totally pointless
 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to James Edwards:

> Isn't all climbing pointless?

Yes, in a sense, but I'd put money on these speed ascents being a mere footnote in a definitive history of climbing written in a hundred years time.

 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> I think his speed ascents of the 38 route are a sort of personal benchmark, a physical and psychological challenge, i really don't think he does these things for anyone but himself, it was looking likely something like this was on the cards, as he has been doing laps on the eiger with various partners for the last few weeks.

I'm not saying it's not a staggering achievement physically. Having been on the face, I can't comprehend how he does it?

The point I was making, was that once you've done a route over 40 times, the technicality and climbing difficulties are completely dialed out of the equasion, and getting faster just boils down to physical conditioning - which in Steck's case is phenomenal - and perfect conditions.



 Bulls Crack 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

I agree - the whole speed thing is an irrelevance imo but others obviously don't think so
1
In reply to UKC News:
Pretty sure I spent just shy of this time on 1 pitch last winter...
Post edited at 17:16
 Jim Hamilton 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> I think his speed ascents of the 38 route are a sort of personal benchmark, a physical and psychological challenge, i really don't think he does these things for anyone but himself,

like trying to regain a "king of the mountains" segment on Strava ?

In reply to Goucho:

Yeah but is still going to be a head game for Ueli, being so lightningly fast and not making a mistake, we all ultimately want to improve on something, i guess to him his challenge, means so much to the wider public, a route with such a dark history, made to look like a walk in the park, even if the conditions are good, routes are gangbanged all the time when folks get a whiff of exceptional conditions.
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> Yeah but is still going to be a head game for Ueli, being so lightningly fast and not making a mistake, we all ultimately want to improve on something, i guess to him his challenge, means so much to the wider public, a route with such a dark history, made to look like a walk in the park, even if the conditions are good, routes are gangbanged all the time when folks get a whiff of exceptional conditions.

I doubt it is a head game for him? Sure he might make a mistake and fall - especially climbing at such speed - but I'm sure he's got every move wired to such a degree that it's just climbing by numbers.


 Ramblin dave 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

Does that actually make sense on an alpine type route? I'd have thought that a lot of the "moves" would be rather conditions dependent?

I guess one way of rephrasing your point is that this sort of thing is impressive in a way that's quite divorced from what climbing is "about" for a lot of climbers - it's an exercise in preparation and persistence and physical conditioning rather than in exploration and discovery and commitment. But as you say, that doesn't take away from the fact that on its own terms it's an amazing achievement.
1
 Michael Gordon 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

>I'm sure he's got every move wired to such a degree that it's just climbing by numbers.

He must have a very good memory!
 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> I doubt it is a head game for him? Sure he might make a mistake and fall - especially climbing at such speed - but I'm sure he's got every move wired to such a degree that it's just climbing by numbers.

I don't know. I thought he had retired from this speed game on the grounds that on that sort of mixed ground, something will eventually give climbing at that rate. Death is only a matter of time..........I fear for him.
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> >I'm sure he's got every move wired to such a degree that it's just climbing by numbers.

> He must have a very good memory!

Yes, I should have phrased it 'he's got the whole face wired'
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I don't know. I thought he had retired from this speed game on the grounds that on that sort of mixed ground, something will eventually give climbing at that rate. Death is only a matter of time..........I fear for him.

It does seem to be tempting fate on that wall.

I can't really see the point in constantly going back to a route first climbed in 1938 and climbed hundreds of times, just to shave another few minutes off the time?

As you said in an earlier post, as far as climbing history is concerned, it's just another minor footnote.

Of course, the cynic in me could see it as a not particularly imaginative way to keep generating PR for both himself and his sponsors?

Now let's see how many dislikes that comment gets
Post edited at 19:23
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 The New NickB 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

It's a different sport really, I see it wasn't the first time he climbed the face this week, he climbed it with Killian Jurnet a few days ago. Jurnet is probably the best mountain runner in the world and a capable climber, Steck is probably the best in the world at climbing technical ground very quickly and is a capable runner. They both seem to be developing an area where the two sports merge. The Eiger seems as good a benchmark as any.

The Cuillin Ridge record is a similar challenge in many ways, although ombviously a non-record traverse of the ridge is a much easier and more accessible challenge than the Eiger.
 galpinos 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

The same reason there's a speed record for the Nose, for Cham to the summit of Mt Blanc etc.

xyz 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

awesome
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to galpinos:

> The same reason there's a speed record for the Nose, for Cham to the summit of Mt Blanc etc.

Fair point.
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to The New NickB:

> It's a different sport really, I see it wasn't the first time he climbed the face this week, he climbed it with Killian Jurnet a few days ago. Jurnet is probably the best mountain runner in the world and a capable climber, Steck is probably the best in the world at climbing technical ground very quickly and is a capable runner. They both seem to be developing an area where the two sports merge. The Eiger seems as good a benchmark as any.

It will certainly be interesting to see where they take this in the future?


 humptydumpty 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> It will certainly be interesting to see where they take this in the future?

Err... the Eiger?!
 Roberttaylor 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

The geese foretold this.
Tom Knowles 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> .... routes are gangbanged all the time when folks get a whiff of exceptional conditions.

Yeah, in these conditions the '38 is hardly more than a walk. I mean, look at all the others soloing it just now....


In reply to Robert Durran:

> .... I'd put money on these speed ascents being a mere footnote in a definitive history of climbing written in a hundred years time.

I wonder if Ueli is concerned about what's written in 100 years, or as someone pointed out above, he's having these experiences for himself?


In reply to Ramblin dave:

> .... what climbing is "about" for a lot of climbers - it's an exercise in preparation and persistence and physical conditioning rather than in exploration and discovery and commitment.

Yep, so many climbers out there in the UK pushing the barriers of exploration every time a day off comes around.


In reply to Goucho:

> .... I can't really see the point in constantly going back to a route first climbed in 1938 and climbed hundreds of times, just to shave another few minutes off the time?

Alex Honnold reckons Lynn Hill's freeing of the Nose, done 35 years after the FA, and her subsequent sub-24hr ascent of the route, are the finest achievements in Yosemite climbing history. But then, what does he know?
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Tom Knowles:

> I wonder if Ueli is concerned about what's written in 100 years, or as someone pointed out above, he's having these experiences for himself?

You really don't think there's a commercial angle to this?

> In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Yep, so many climbers out there in the UK pushing the barriers of exploration every time a day off comes around.

Steck maybe pushing the barriers of speed climbing on his 'party piece', but he's hardly pushing the barriers of exploration with this ascent.

> In reply to Goucho:

> Alex Honnold reckons Lynn Hill's freeing of the Nose, done 35 years after the FA, and her subsequent sub-24hr ascent of the route, are the finest achievements in Yosemite climbing history. But then, what does he know?

I doubt anyone would disagree.

But the Nose free, is slightly further up the food chain in terms of difficulty than the Eiger NF.

Also, would he consider someone today shaving 6 minutes off Hill's time a finer achievement?

Somehow I doubt it.
Tom Knowles 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> You really don't think there's a commercial angle to this?

Sure he makes a living from his climbing, but do you really think he's risking his life - and have no doubts, even he'll admit he's taking a significant risk with these solos - so that Suunto can sell a few more altimeters?


> Steck maybe pushing the barriers of speed climbing on his 'party piece', but he's hardly pushing the barriers of exploration with this ascent.

You must be right. I'd love to see him put up super hard routes on the Eiger like The Young Spider and Paciencia. Hold on a sec...
In reply to Tom Knowles:
Well i guess my point is , in exceptional conditions like these the Heckmair is gangbanged and has been in the past, but yes by roped parties.

It seems the Steck did this solo to see how it compared to the conditions on his previous record, where he had to break trail and climb free, this time a good trail and some peg pulling as is the norm for this sort of thing.
Post edited at 20:52
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Tom Knowles:

> Sure he makes a living from his climbing, but do you really think he's risking his life - and have no doubts, even he'll admit he's taking a significant risk with these solos - so that Suunto can sell a few more altimeters?

Well he certainly has a very effective PR machine either way.

> You must be right. I'd love to see him put up super hard routes on the Eiger like The Young Spider and Paciencia. Hold on a sec...

I said 'with this ascent' - read the post.





 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> It seems the Steck did this solo to see how it compared to the conditions on his previous record, where he had to break trail and climb free, this time a good trail and some peg pulling as is the norm for this sort of thing.

So am I right in thinking that for this ascent he had a trail to follow, and didn't do it free?

In reply to Goucho:

Interview over on planetmountain.
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Tom Knowles 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Andy Clarke1965:

> Well i guess the point is , in exceptional conditions like these the Heckmair is gangbanged and has been in the past, but yes by roped parties.

And I appreciate that, it's the same with any route that is conditions dependent. But you cannot denigrate an achievement by a soloist when the route may be getting heaps of ascents by roped teams. And you denigrate the achievement when you lump soloing together with roped climbing as if they were the same.

Something similar happens on here from time to time during the winter. People will return from having climbed a route, then rubbish it (and therefore others' ascents) by proclaiming it's barely more than a steep slope. Well if it was as easy as they make out, aren't they the fools for not dumping the rack and running up it alone in 20 minutes? We all know that conditions can alter grades, but people need to resist belittling others' achievements, whether directly or otherwise. For the vast majority of people, the experience of the day is all that matters.


> It seems the Steck did this solo to see how it compared to the conditions on his previous record, where he had to break trail and climb free, this time a good trail and some peg pulling as is the norm for this sort of thing.

And admitted it was futile to compare ascents.
 Michael Gordon 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Tom Knowles:

>
> Alex Honnold reckons Lynn Hill's freeing of the Nose, done 35 years after the FA, and her subsequent sub-24hr ascent of the route, are the finest achievements in Yosemite climbing history. But then, what does he know?

That's a poor comparison. A better one would be those attempting the speed record on the Nose with a little aid.
Tom Knowles 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> ... but he's hardly pushing the barriers of exploration with this ascent.

What's exploration? You don't think he's pushing barriers within himself? All these climbers out there testing themselves to their limits and not even a new route at the end of it. There are a lot of outstanding climbers out there who, thankfully, would rather repeat a class route in Patagonia, Yosemite or on the Ben than record a FA on some indistinct cliff/mountain that is only a FA because no-one with all their marbles would waste their time going there.
Tom Knowles 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> That's a poor comparison. A better one would be those attempting the speed record on the Nose with a little aid.

Sure, ok, I was only trying to make the point that following an already established line - and let's face it, geology established it first - can still be of huge worth.
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> What's exploration? You don't think he's pushing barriers within himself?

Of course he is. But is that newsworthy in itself?

I think I need to clarify.

As I've said in several posts - including other threads too - I think Steck's achievements are stunning, and he is an awesome climber and athlete.

I just don't think someone who's climbed the route over 40 times before, shaving a few minutes off the previous fastest time, is that noteworthy from a climbing perspective.

Now if someone who'd never set foot on the face before, went and soloed it free in around 4 hours, that really would be impressive and noteworthy from a climbing perspective.
Post edited at 21:46
 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> It will certainly be interesting to see where they take this in the future?

He's already taken it to Annapurna. THAT is what will go down in the history of mountaineering (with the alpine speed stunts as a footnote).
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> He's already taken it to Annapurna. THAT is what will go down in the history of mountaineering (with the alpine speed stunts as a footnote).

Agreed.

So is the Big S on the horizon with Journet?
 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> Agreed.

> So is the Big S on the horizon with Journet?

Forgive me but what is the Big S?
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Forgive me but what is the Big S?

Linking Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.
 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> Linking Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.

I'd be more impressed by the west face direct on Makalu. And isn't there a big hard face still to be done (at least in good style) on K2?
 Goucho 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I'd be more impressed by the west face direct on Makalu. And isn't there a big hard face still to be done (at least in good style) on K2?

West face direct on Makalu has been a last great problem for a while now - for pretty obvious reasons.

I think the face to either the right or left of the Magic Line is the big unclimbed face on K2?

And there's also the SE face of Dhaulagiri, and of course the south face of Lhotse offers some serious action too.
Post edited at 22:31
 Col Kingshott 18 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:
Ueli Steck is an athlete. Athletes like to push themselves and prove to themselves they can achieve things in measurable ways. Beating a PB is exactly what he's done. Same as anyone beating their time at a distance, only this is on The Eiger. He's also a professional athlete who has to make his sponsors headlines to make his living. So what? I like reading about his ascents and the dedication to training that must go into them.

At the end of his (short) day he can go to bed content that he's the fastest person to climb The 1938 route, one of the most classic routes in the world. That is worthwhile. I'd love to be able to say that, good on him.

 Robert Durran 18 Nov 2015
In reply to Col Kingshott:

> Ueli Steck is an athlete. Athletes like to push themselves and prove to themselves they can achieve things in measurable ways.

Ueli Steck is a mountaineer. Mountaineers like to push themselves and prove to themselves that they can achieve things in meaningful ways.

I really, really hope that this is nearer to the truth and that all the speed stuff really is, in the end, just training for more groundbreaking stuff like his Annapurna climb.

9
In reply to Tom Knowles:

Crossed wires, i certainly would not denigrate the Stecks antics.

If i was a women, i would want his babies!
 Lil_Pete 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

You can't help but wonder what time they'd do the Mazeno Ridge in
 Michael Gordon 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> Linking Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.

He may have been about to try that but ran into a bunch of 'big Ss'
 Damo 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Ueli Steck is a mountaineer. Mountaineers like to push themselves and prove to themselves that they can achieve things in meaningful ways.

> I really, really hope that this is nearer to the truth and that all the speed stuff really is, in the end, just training for more groundbreaking stuff like his Annapurna climb.

Hard to say. As you noted above, previously publicly said he was stopping these ultra-fast speed solos for safety reasons, and has now just done a heap of them leading to the new record. He recently said he wouldn't do another big solo like Annapurna, so you might be disappointed. Or not.

Apparently when he broke the Eiger record last time he thought it would stand for ages, then Dani Arnold, whom most people had never heard of, broke it not long after. That might have been disappointing. Then he had his Everest fight - also disappointing for him, and by his own admission a challenge to his mental wellbeing. Now more recently the rumours re: Annapurna (and Shisha) won't go away and it seems he's gone back to things he excels at, which make good sponsor fodder, and keep the online PR in the positive half of the dial.

Whatever his reasons, it's a phenomenal feat of climbing ability and sporting excellence.
 alpinestar_no1 19 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:
> Sure he makes a living from his climbing, but do you really think he's risking his life - and have no doubts, even he'll admit he's taking a significant risk with these solos

Actually he was in Denmark yesterday to give a speak. Here he talked about the risk he took on this. He explained he used the fixed rope, and pulled on gear. So he felt it was very safe. The previous record from 2008 he felt was a much higher risk as it was all clean. He did admit on taking too much risk on his Anapurna Southface acent. He was ready to die for that one. Afterwards this scared him, that he thought like that during the climb.

> Linking Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.
He did say this was in his plans, just needed the right partner and the right time. He was not finished with Everest.
Actually it was a really great speak he gave, with some nice films / slides and stories.
He was very cagey about his training rutines and wouldent give out his VO2/max numbers. Fair enough he wants to keep that private, but I presume his VO2/max is pretty ok!

Edit: Quote: Now more recently the rumours re: Annapurna (and Shisha)
Yes he is going back to Shihsa in the spring with Ralf Dujmovits he stated that as his next big project.
Post edited at 10:47
 Morgan Woods 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, in a sense, but I'd put money on these speed ascents being a mere footnote in a definitive history of climbing written in a hundred years time.

As opposed to?
In reply to UKC News:

Has he ever had a performance drugs test?
4
 thommi 19 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Excellent stuff!! :-D
 Goucho 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

Yeah. But what's he done on grit?
 thommi 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

I heard a rumour he'd walked in, done Phoenix Climb and was having his tea and sandwichs back at the car in 08min32secs42ms.
 JuhoK 19 Nov 2015
In reply to thommi:

Let's make clear that conditions are good, but it's not a "walk". Not even close. Proper ED2 climbing.

I did the route in a day on the 12th. There's a good track on the icefields, but Quartz crack and Exit cracks were dry. Waterfall chimney went around WI5+/WI6. So, thumbs up for Ueli!
 thommi 19 Nov 2015
In reply to JuhoK:

My comment was in jest re: the grit comment. I have been congratulatory higher up the thread and am not naive enough to think that it is a 'walk'. Please read preceeding posts before directing scorn at me, I have not said it was a walk....

so.... lets make clear.... excellent stuff.
 JuhoK 19 Nov 2015
In reply to thommi:

It wasn't targeted to you...just scrolled down. My bad.
In reply to alpinestar_no1:
> He was very cagey about his training rutines

One thing he did reveal about his training was that he runs 6 days a week. Each day with a cumulative altitude gain of 3000 meters..!

Apart from his capabilities there is nothing mechanical about him. Actually, he appears to be a very kind and humouristic guy.
 thommi 19 Nov 2015
In reply to JuhoK:

No worries. Pitfalls of internet forums. I completely agree with you BTW.
 Michael Gordon 19 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Has he ever had a performance drugs test?

Doping etc may help for simple things like running a bit faster but bugger all use for climbing I'd have thought. Particularly risky ascents where you need to be thinking clearly and doing it for the right reasons.
 Goucho 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Doping etc may help for simple things like running a bit faster but bugger all use for climbing I'd have thought. Particularly risky ascents where you need to be thinking clearly and doing it for the right reasons.

Never underestimate the benefits of a well timed amphetamine when you're retreating in the teeth of a ferocious storm
In reply to UKC News: Bloody Nora. It would take me longer than that to get down if I jumped off the top of the north face.

T.
 Robert Durran 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> As opposed to?

Groundbreaking stuff in the greater ranges.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Doping etc may help for simple things like running a bit faster but bugger all use for climbing I'd have thought. Particularly risky ascents where you need to be thinking clearly and doing it for the right reasons.

I didn't realise performance enhancing drugs stopped you thinking clearly, I thought they improved your athletic performance. As for the right reasons, having your income from sponsorship that is based on your athletic performance wouldn't be a reason would it?

I know climbing isn't a sport per se but in any other sport, cycling, swimming, athletics etc it has been shown time and time again that when a performance seems too good to be true.....

4
 Morgan Woods 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

Perhaps in the case of Ueli they are bit of a means to end ie his speed ascents helped him on Annapurna.
 Goucho 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> Bloody Nora. It would take me longer than that to get down if I jumped off the top of the north face.

> T.

I've just realised he climbed the entire face in the same time it took me to climb the Waterfall Pitch. Mind you, it was a waterfall at the time

 Robert Durran 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Perhaps in the case of Ueli they are bit of a means to end ie his speed ascents helped him on Annapurna.

That is what I woukld ike to think; a bit like me checking casually on my time to run up my local hill to gauge how my fitness is coming on for a trip to the Alps.

 Michael Gordon 19 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Soloing the Eiger is not purely a display of athletic performance though is it? And when it comes to soloing, the 'right reasons' are personal, not money driven. They have to be. And make no mistake, if you are cheating it's almost guaranteed you're not doing something for the right reasons.

I'm not convinced performance enhancers would be beneficial in climbing. Cycling, swimming, athletics etc are generally about speed and repetition of something very simple, rather than just trying to do something very hard. Somehow I doubt they would help Ondra climb better, or V17 boulder problems to be established.
2
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Performance drugs can make you stronger and aerobically very efficient. Why wouldn't that be relevant when we're talking about performances in the mountains that would be comparable to Olympic levels of endurance and fitness.
What's being acheived in the mountains here over several hours is very different to Adam Ondra or top end bouldering.

 Robert Durran 19 Nov 2015
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> If you are cheating........

Cheating? Since when was there a governing body in mountaineering stipulating what you're allowed to put into your body to claim an official record? There isn't and there are no official records, thank goodness, and long may that remain the case.
 Michael Gordon 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

OK, that sounds like a good way to conclude the discussion.
 Lil_Pete 20 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Interesting read if you're interested in drugs to make mountaineering (specifically high altitude) easier:

http://www.outsideonline.com/1914501/climbings-little-helper

"Over the past two decades, climbers have discovered that dex also works magic on the way up, increasing lucidity and triggering feelings of euphoria"

Sounds good to me ...
cb294 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Goucho:

> Never underestimate the benefits of a well timed amphetamine when you're retreating in the teeth of a ferocious storm

This is all wrong. You should have taken your pill on the way up, it is not called speed ascent for nothing.

CB
 Chris the Tall 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Has he ever had a performance drugs test?

Everyone takes drugs and other performance enhancing products, it's only cheating when it's against the rules, and in this case the only rule is you climb from the bottom to the top.

I've no idea whether he takes stuff banned by WADA, but you have to consider why stuff is banned. It's not because of the performance benefits - plenty of legal stuff does that - but because of the health risks. Soloing the Eiger is inherently dangerous, far more so than taking EPO or whatever. You can even argue that it becomes safer the faster you go, since you spend the less time you are exposed to rockfall/avalanches, , so it's a bit irrelevant.
3
In reply to Chris the Tall:

So what would be more impressive, someone who climbs the Eiger in six hours totally clean and naturally fueled or someone who is juiced up on whatever is available doing it in less than 3. It's not to do with legality it's to do with honesty and integrity about your ascent, something which has always been part of groundbreaking achievements in mountaineering.
1
 Chris the Tall 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Define "naturally fueled" ? Nothing but bread and water ("Paniagua" as it's known in cycling) or do you allow energy gels and drinks, dietary supplements, pain killers, cortisone ? It just become an issue of where you draw the line. Now in standard sports, the line is important and we have bodies to set the rules and administer them. But the line is important not out of fairness - money is going to get you all sorts of advantages in terms of technology, training and dietary aid, so there's no such thing as a level playing field. The line is there to stop athletes being induced or pressured to risk their lives and their health in order to win, or just to keep up with others. And this is irrelevant in a sport that is defined by the huge risks involved.

I don't subscribe to the "let them take what they want" argument in athletics or cycling, or even in climbing comps, but in this instance it's more an issue of impossing restrictions and regulations where they could do more harm than good.
2
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I think it's pretty disingenuous to compare an energy gel with EPO, HGH, cortisone, steroids or any other performance enhancing drug. I know this is all hypothetical as mountaineering is not a clearly defined sport and long may that continue. I'm just questioning the almost super human level of fitness and endurance needed to basically run up the North Face of the Eiger. If these ascents aren't quite what they seem do you really think that sponsors will still be quite as keen to be associated with them or that we would all be as impressed as we are meant to be? We'll probably never know if these are 'clean ascents' but time and time again in regular sports amazing achievements have turned out to be too good to be true.
2
 Brass Nipples 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Present your evidence that Ueli is juiced up. Put up or shut up.

4
In reply to Orgsm:

Exactly what all the Lance supporters said for years. There is no evidence as this is not a proper 'sport'. I'm perfectly entitled to my opinions thanks.
4
 Chris the Tall 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> We'll probably never know if these are 'clean ascents' but time and time again in regular sports amazing achievements have turned out to be too good to be true.

To the cynics and the sceptics. I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry that you can't dream big.

When you enter a race, you accept the rules of that race. If you break them, if you cheat, then your achievement is tarnished and likely to be nullified. Steck hasn't broken any rules because there are none, the rules that you refer to don't apply to this activity. More importantly the logic behind the rules doesn't apply, and therefore the issue is irrelevant.
4
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:
> I think it's pretty disingenuous to compare an energy gel with EPO, HGH, cortisone, steroids or any other performance enhancing drug.

Maybe, but where do you draw the line? Anything wrong with caffeine? Many of us use it to boost performance but it is banned by some organised sports in too big quantities.

> I'm just questioning the almost super human level of fitness and endurance needed to basically run up the North Face of the Eiger.

Actually, if you divide the total length of climbing (about 3000m) by the time taken (about 150min) you get an average speed of only 20m per minute which, given the amount of relatively easy ground on all the ice fields, isn't actually all that quick at all - not even a jog; more a gentle stroll in the park. I'd say he was a bit of a slacker really.

> If these ascents aren't quite what they seem do you really think that sponsors will still be quite as keen to be associated with them or that we would all be as impressed as we are meant to be?

It's not so much the speed which impresses me as the fact that he has not yet blown a placement and died - not much any "drug" can help with there.
Post edited at 14:21
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I know it's not relevant in the same sense as other sports but for me it's about honesty and aspiration. If other climbers aspire to be as good as guys climbing this quickly they need to know everything about the ascent. Would people want to aspire to take PEDs to be able to operate at this level or would people start to dismiss these ascents if it came out that that to operate at this level took a bit more than serious hard work and training.
1
In reply to Robert Durran:



> Actually, if you divide the total length of climbing (about 3000m) by the time taken (about 150min) you get an average speed of only 20m per minute which, given the amount of relatively easy ground on all the ice fields, isn't actually all that quick at all - not even a jog; more a gentle stroll in the park. I'd say he was a bit of a slacker really.

> It's not so much the speed which impresses me as the fact that he has not yet blown a placement and died - not much any "drug" can help with there.

If it was as easy as 'only 20m per minute' then there would be a lot more climbers going a lot quicker up ascents all over the Alps.
 tk421 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

Here's some extra thoughts - probably not a super human exertion to set the cord.
Ueli's HR on this averaged 160 on this most recent record, compared to 190 (!!!) on his 2008 ascent.
PlanetMountain lists the 1938 route as 1800m vertical, Ueli's GPS shows a 1592 vertical, so the VAM is closer to 10m/min - obviously some periods its higher/lower (traverse).
Kilian Jornet gets tested when competing in skimo, his VAM up the Matterhorn record was ~20m/min (planetmountain article).
Kilian's Vertical KM results show a VAM 32m/min.
Quintana's VAM for the Alpe this year was ~28m/min.
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> If it was as easy as 'only 20m per minute' then there would be a lot more climbers going a lot quicker up ascents all over the Alps.

But it is "only" 20m per minute on average, and since much of the route is, in perfect conditions, neve bashing, much slower on the technical bits. Loads of fit people could "run" up neve. What seems to me special about Steck is his ability to solo steadily on so much dodgy, fairly technical ground.

Don't worry, I'm massively impressed by it - it took me nearly 50 times as long!
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> I know it's not relevant in the same sense as other sports but for me it's about honesty and aspiration. If other climbers aspire to be as good as guys climbing this quickly they need to know everything about the ascent. Would people want to aspire to take PEDs to be able to operate at this level or would people start to dismiss these ascents if it came out that that to operate at this level took a bit more than serious hard work and training.

Part of me hopes that all this vulgarity of treating venerable classic routes as racectracks does get discredited as "drug" fuelled nonsense, so that the sponsors back off, people lose interest and the media interest and credit can get back to proper boundary pushing mountainering.
1
In reply to Robert Durran:

Totally agree with that. Give me a Fowler new ascent over these ascents every time.
1
 Brass Nipples 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Exactly what all the Lance supporters said for years. There is no evidence as this is not a proper 'sport'. I'm perfectly entitled to my opinions thanks.

Your opinion ain't worth shit if it isn't based on any evidence.
4
 tcashmore 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Part of me hopes that all this vulgarity of treating venerable classic routes as racectracks does get discredited as "drug" fuelled nonsense, so that the sponsors back off, people lose interest and the media interest and credit can get back to proper boundary pushing mountainering.

Lets hope big Ron wasn't 'juiced' up when he did the 100 extremes in a day, or James McHaffie for the Lakes etc. Its no different, except Ueli Stecks' local crag just happens to be the Eiger rather than Stanage Edge.

We all know to climb at this level and speed is all about technical ability/mental strength above everything else and that is what is seen to be interesting and inspirational to many people (perhaps not to yourself and others though).
1
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to tcashmore:

> Lets hope big Ron wasn't 'juiced' up when he did the 100 extremes in a day, or James McHaffie for the Lakes etc. Its no different, except Ueli Stecks' local crag just happens to be the Eiger rather than Stanage Edge.

> We all know to climb at this level and speed is all about technical ability/mental strength above everything else and that is what is seen to be interesting and inspirational to many people (perhaps not to yourself and others though).

If people find it inspirational, then that's fine and if people want to do these things then that is fine too. But what will be seen as significant in the evolution of climbing when we look back in 50 years time is Fawcett doing Lord, or McHaffie onsighting E9 or whatever, or Steck on Annapurna.

 Damo 20 Nov 2015
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:
> Exactly what all the Lance supporters said for years. There is no evidence as this is not a proper 'sport'. I'm perfectly entitled to my opinions thanks.

Unlike some others, I don't mind people being skeptical or suspicious, but you need to understand that merely implying someone might be using PEDs is an unsavoury and ill-spirited approach. Without evidence of some kind, your comments will just be seen as mudslinging, which rarely ends well for either side.

Just having an 'opinion' does not confer any value or significance to that opinion, and the act of expressing an antagonistic and derogatory opinion without evidence is not something of which to be proud or defensive. 'Entitled' is becoming a loaded term.

Also, if you're serious in your doubts, it starts you off on a bad foot, which may undermine any more valid enquiry in the future.

This is not like the other, quite justified, issues with Steck's climbs. I have never heard any suggestion of him using PEDs until this thread and it never occurred to me. His 8000er claims are appallingly documented for someone at his level and his photos, GPSing, tracking, timing, stats etc on these Eiger and Alpine climbs only throws into stark relief the absence of any such things on the 8000er climbs. There are valid questions about timing and contradictory statements on these climbs, which have already been raised, and no doubt time will bear these issues out.

Buhl used drugs on the FA of Nanga Parbat and lots of people use drugs on Everest. People have done far worse than this in the history of Alpine and Himalayan climbing. The genuine ethical questions of environmental impact of alpine development, underpaying poor people to repeatedly carry your stuff under tottering ice cliffs, or leaving dying climbers to a lonely death is a far greater ethical issue worth debating that whether or not someone used caffeine or dex.

Climbing has never been pure.
Post edited at 20:41
1
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> Buhl used drugs on the FA of Nanga Parbat and lots of people use drugs on Everest.

Yes, better to assist your ascent of with a few pills than with oxygen and all the paraphenalia of a siege expedition.

Oh, and maybe all the routes that Tom Patey did on amphetamines should be omitted from future guidebooks.













 nufkin 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Orgsm:

> Your opinion ain't worth shit if it isn't based on any evidence.

Does 2hrs 22mins 50secs count as evidence?
 nufkin 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> leaving dying climbers to a lonely death

Didn't Ueli famously not do this a few years ago? Might speak towards his morals and ethics generally
 John2 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

Did Patey do the routes on amphetamines, or use them to keep himself awake on the drive back home?
plumb32 20 Nov 2015
In reply to nufkin:

Really enjoyed reading this thread. Who cares about all the opinions!!

Good Effort. KOM. UELI STECK. !!



 Brass Nipples 20 Nov 2015
In reply to nufkin:

> Does 2hrs 22mins 50secs count as evidence?

Of athletic edeavours yes, of drug use no.
 Mick Ward 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> Buhl used drugs on the FA of Nanga Parbat...

I very much doubt it was seen as cheating then. My understanding is that amphetamines were regularly taken by Alpinists in the 1950s. Even in the 1960s, taking drugs for performance was viewed as good tactics rather than cheating. In my own experience, in the 1970s, taking drugs for non-performance certainly wasn't good tactics!

mick

 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Mick Ward:

> I very much doubt it was seen as cheating then. My understanding is that amphetamines were regularly taken by Alpinists in the 1950s.

I'd heard that some significant stuff was being done on them in the 2000's!
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to John2:

> Did Patey do the routes on amphetamines, or use them to keep himself awake on the drive back home?

I thought I'd heard that he was so keen that he used them to keep himself awake to knock off new routes after work in Ullapool. Could just be a myth of course!
 Damo 20 Nov 2015
In reply to nufkin:

> Didn't Ueli famously not do this a few years ago?

Not that I know of, no.
2
 Damo 20 Nov 2015
In reply to nufkin:

> Does 2hrs 22mins 50secs count as evidence?

Of drug use? No

Of clearly caring about records, numbers, statistics, proof and publicity? Yes
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> Does 2hrs 22mins 50secs count as evidence?

> Of clearly caring about records, numbers, statistics, proof and publicity? Yes

Or at least of his sponsors doing so.

 Rob Parsons 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I thought I'd heard that he was so keen that he used them to keep himself awake to knock off new routes after work in Ullapool. Could just be a myth of course!

'Heard' from whom?

I'm not being judgemental, just curious. But, since you've introduced the claim, what's your source?

And:

'... maybe all the routes that Tom Patey did on amphetamines should be omitted from future guidebooks ...'

which routes?
Post edited at 23:20
 Robert Durran 20 Nov 2015
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> I'm not being judgemental, just curious. But, since you've introduced the claim, what's your source?

No idea where I first heard it - just something I've "known" for bout 30 odd years. I don't consider it a criticism of him.





 Robert Durran 21 Nov 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Anyway, who needs Ueli when you've got Clint; The Eiger Sanction's on the telly right now!
 Damo 21 Nov 2015
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or at least of his sponsors doing so.

His complicity makes any such distinction irrelevant. No one is forcing him to do anything.
 Robert Durran 21 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> His complicity makes any such distinction irrelevant. No one is forcing him to do anything.

Of course not, but if it wasn't for the need to satisfy his sponsors in order to fund his climbing, it might be just a matter of a quick rough glance at his watch to see how his fitness is coming on.

 Bwox 23 Nov 2015
In reply to Damo:

> Didn't Ueli famously not do this a few years ago?

> Not that I know of, no.

From a 2013 Guardian article about his Annapurna attempts: 'He abandoned a second solo attempt the following year [2008] to join an effort to rescue another stricken climber, the Spaniard Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, who had suffered a seizure on the mountain and later died'.
 Damo 23 Nov 2015
In reply to Bwox:

Ueli made a massive effort to reach the dying Inaki, outpacing both Denis Urubko and Don Bowie, in poor weather, dangerous snow conditions and with inadequate equipment, to get to Inaki and try to help him. He did all he could but Inaki died next to him, Ueli having stayed to the end.

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