Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Will Ueli Steck Attempt Everest-Lhotse Traverse in Spring of 2017?

When it comes to daring climbing expeditions in the big mountains, Ueli Steck always seems to be planning something interesting. Over the years, the Swiss climber has built an impressive reputation for going fast and light in both the Alps and the Himalaya. So, naturally when he shares plans for an upcoming expedition, it is usually something of interest to the mountaineering community. Ueli did just that in a recent interview with Stefan Nestler for his adventure sports blog.

Recently, Nestler caught up with Steck at the International Mountain Summit in the Dolomite mountains of Italy. They talked about what Ueli has been up to recently, which included a climb on Shivling in India to celebrate his 40th birthday. On that expedition he traveled with his wife, and kept the climb low-key, not even alerting media to their plans. While they were there, they also met and shared Base Camp with Polish climbers Grzegorz Kukurowski and Lukasz Chrzanowski, who ended up later perishing on that mountain.

In the interview, Ueli also talks about what it is like getting older, and that while he can still go fast ni the mountains, he finds that it takes him longer to rest and recover. He's also learned that he doesn't necessarily want to take the big risks that he has in the past, although he estimates that he has another five years of big expeditions ahead of him.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is when Nestler asks him about his plans for the future. Steck says that his next project is another attempt on making the Everest-Lhotse traverse which would involve a summit of the tallest mountain on the planet, followed by a daring crossing of the ridge that links it to its neighbor Lhotse, where he would nab another summit along the way. "The Swiss Machine" doesn't give any indication of exactly when he'll give this expedition a go, but it seems that it could be on his radar for the spring 2017 climbing season in the Himalaya. Naturally, he'll be making the traverse and both summits without oxygen.

Ueli tells Stefan that he'll make the climb as part of a two-man team, with only Tenji Sherpa joining him on the expedition. Tenji was with him in 2012 when Ueli summited Everest, and the two have enjoyed several other expeditions in the Himalaya together as well.

The 2016 fall climbing season isn't completely over just yet, but we already have something to potentially start looking forward to in 2017. As always with Ueli, it should be a fun expedition to follow. Stay tuned.

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