Ueli “Swiss Machine” Steck Died One Year Ago Today
Ueli Steck died on April 30, 2017, while climbing alone on Nuptse in the Himalays of Nepal.
He was known as the “Swiss Machine” for his bold speed ascents up technical alpine climbs.
“One year ago today, Ueli Steck didn’t return from one of his acclimating tours in his beloved Himalayan mountains,” said Andreas Bantel, a spokesperson said on behalf of the Steck’s family.
Steck was acclimatising when he fell, he was preparing for the Everest to Lhotse traverse that goes up the Hornbein Couloir to the summit of Everest to the South Col and to the summit of Lhotse.
As of right now, there are climbers who are trying to complete Steck’s traverse in his honour.
Tenjing (Tenji) Sherpa, who was meant to be Steck’s partner last year is currently attempting the traverse without supplemental oxygen.
“I want to dedicate my climb to Ueli,” he said from base camp. British climber Jon Griffith, along with three more climbing Sherpas, are filming the attempt.
Romanian Horia Colibășanu and Slovak Peter Hámor are also attempting the traverse and have already reached above Camp I to attempt from the West Face on Everest with a plan to traverse to Lhotse. “They want to continue with the Ueli’s unfinished bid,” said Nima Nuru Sherpa.
“We’ve spent four days up here now and Tenji has been up to 8,000m – he’s proving to be a bit of a machine doing laps up the Lhotse face!” Griffith twitted on Sunday.
Steck won two Piolet d’Or awards, one in 2008 for his new route with Simon Anthamatten up the North Face of the Tengkangpoche (6,487m), and another in 2014 for his first solo ascent of Mount Annapurna.
“I like to be alone,” said Steck. “I am focused on what I am doing. I feel the nature and I feel my body. It’s so simple.”
He was the first recipient of the Eiger Award for his mountaineering achievements in 2008, also completed his 82 Summits project, ascending all 4,000-metre peaks in the Alps in 61 days in 2015.
“It’s been difficult for us all to accept that he has passed away. We miss him dearly and he stays in our thoughts,” said Bantel.
“We’re thankful for all the love and care we were given in this hard time of saying goodbye and letting go. We will all remember Ueli with gratefulness and joy.”
A memorial monument to Steck was set up at Thokla area by placing a two-coloured prayer flag in the Everest region.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Ueli's death on Nuptse. Ueli's brothers asked me to join them at his stupa to erect his memorial plaque – it was an emotionally charged hour with tears and laughter, but it made me realise how minimal my loss was compared to a brother. Someone you had spent your whole life with. So many memories, for better or worse. Rest on peace Ueli