Ueli Steck. It wasn't all that long ago that he was in the Himalaya attempting a summit of Nuptse, and now he is back home in the Alps, and enjoying some time in the mountains that he knows best. That includes climbing The Eiger recently with mountain runner Kilian Jornet. But now Ueli has reminded us why he called "the Swiss Machine" by also setting a new record for a speed climb on that same mountain.
On Monday of this week, Ueli set off on the famous Heckmair Route in good conditions and with great weather. He later posted a photo of himself on the summit, showing his recorded time on his Suunto watch. The display read 2:22:50.7, which means he was able to top out in under 23 minutes. Thats five minutes faster than the 2 hours and 28 minutes it took Dani Arnold to summit the same route back in 2011, when he set the previous record. It should be noted that Arnold used fixed ropes on his ascent, while Ueli does not. For purists, that added an asterisk to the previous mark.
Ueli is certainly no stranger to The Eiger. He climbs it regularly, and it is part of his personal playground in the Alps. In fact, he set a record of 2 hours, 44 minutes back in 2008. That was the record that Arnold later broke. It has been a few years since than, and that record held up well, but it seems Ueli has lowered the mark even further. The funny thing is, he probably didn't even set out to break a record, but was instead just trying to climb while the weather conditions were good. But we all know how fast Steck can be once he gets rolling.
Congrats tu Ueli on setting the new mark. He was as impressive always.