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Ueli Steck and David Goettler on Shishapangma, Bad Weather and Climbing

At the end of April, Ueli Steck and David Goettler arrived in Nepal to open a new route on Shishapangma’s south face. During the first two weeks, they acclimatized in Khumbu Valley. They managed travelled over three passes to Chuckung Pass over 58 km and then climbed Island Peak. From there, they headed to  the base camp of Shishapangma with hopes of climbing a difficult line. They climbed two routes, but never managed to reach the summit due to very bad weather. After several weeks, they travelled back to Kathmandu.

“Without one full day of good weather we still climbed a lot,” said Steck. “David and I climbed the Girona Route up to 7,800 metres followed by the British Route to 7,600 m. Both in a single push up and down. It was interesting to see what it takes to climb in bad conditions on such a huge face.

Photo Ueli Steck Shisapangma
Climbing the British Route. Photo Ueli Steck

“Until now I always climbed single pushes on 8000 meter Peaks, and in ideal conditions and weather. This time we were forced to climb in difficult conditions. Both times we went as far as we could in terms of taking risk and staying safe.

“Unfortunately we did not have a whole day of good weather the entire trip, instead we had daily strong winds or precip. Not ideal for climbing 8,000 peaks. In one way, you always like to reach the summit, but on the other hand we climbed a lot and we are coming back with a huge amount of experience.

Thanks to David for such a great trip. It feels great to know we pushed ourselves and at least tried to climb. If I look back on the last two months, we simply had a great time. Climbing Island Peak from Chukhung, running the three Passes in a day, and finally doing laps on a 8,000-metre Peak. I look forward to the next trip with David. We definitely reached our goal this trip: come back stronger.”

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