Everyday Activist - Good-bye Ueli Steck

Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 06:00 PM

Good-bye Ueli Steck

Tribute by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

I just saw the news that “The Swiss Machine” Ueli Steck died in Nepal. At this time details are unknown as to what happened, but it’s devastating for the climbing and mountaineering community. It’s really hard for me to come to terms with the deaths of people around my age. In February, it was Rob Stewart and now Ueli Steck. He was born October 4, 1976, awful close to my October 9th, 1979. I found my first grey hair the other day and have pondered aging, much like Ueli was before he died and now I wonder what it’s like to never have the opportunity to grow old.

A quick search will bring up a number of videos of Ueli’s speed ascents. He changed mountaineering much in the same way the younger, Alex Honnold has for climbing; fast and light. I first saw his film on the Reel Rock Tour DVD back in 2011 and of course, through the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival, keeping tabs on his progress throughout the years. Some notable achievements have been climbing all the peaks in the Swiss Alps above 4000 m in about two months using only human power and his countless speed ascent records all over the globe.

While I never met him personally, I met one of his climbing partners, Simone Moro at the Banff Mountain Film Festival a couple years ago. We briefly talked about him, because in 2013, some angry Sherpas in Nepal took their anger out on them. Simone talked about the incident, with the audience at the Banff Mountain Film Festival with humility and understanding for the Sherpas, despite the violence. Ueli survived a rock to the head. While many climbers and cavers can say this, most rocks in those cases aren’t thrown by a furious mob. 

Climbing like diving has risks, but when the environment starts claiming the best of the best, it gives you a lot to think about, while you’re sitting at home with your own injuries. He had been planning to climb Everest and Lhotse in May. ‘"Of course I want to climb Everest and Lhotse," Steck told Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger when asked about his measure of success. "But that's a very high goal. Failure for me would be to die and not come home."’ Rest in Peace Swiss Machine. May Heaven be a place for endless first ascents.


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