Who is the best athelete of Switzerland ? Most of people dont have trouble at all to answering that question : of course Roger Federer, 7- time Wimbledon winner, former World # 1 for record time 302 weeks etc...
They may be right too. But there is another Swiss, whose achievements are even more impressive because all his records are achieved on very dangerous circumstanses.He risks his own life again and again and again.
His name is Ueli Steck . His proffession is carpenter, but he is more known as the best alpine climber of modern world.
There are lot of mountineers in the world, but only few use extreme alpine style :very light rucksack, solo,no using fixed ropes or bolt ladders, practically they risk their life on every step they make in mountains. And they brake incredible records.
Eiger North Face is one of most dangerous mountains in the world.More than 60 alpinists died there.Every year Eiger claims another victims who are not prepared or lucky enough to make it to the summit. Clint Eastwood made movie about it " Eiger sanction "
Eiger is also Ueli Steck`s backyard, Ueli being born only few kilometers away from mountain. Usually it takes 2 or 3 days to climb Eiger, even for very experienced mountaineers. Ueli thought : there has to be way to make it much faster ! In order to do that he abandoned every mountaineer gear: no tent, no extra food,no fuel, no partners. He climbed it solo, free ( no fixed ropes at all ) and he improved legendary Meissner record by 6 hours !He made it in 4 hours
But reaching summit,his first thought was : I can be much, much faster, I wasted too much time fixing ropes I didnt need at all !I have to be in better shape physically and fuck the ropes, I climb it all free !
He prepared a year like Olympic athlete and made another attempt. He broke his own record more than hour, he climbed Eiger in 2 Hours 47 minutes ! In sports world it is same as to run marathon in 40 minutes, it is impossible ! But it is documented, he did it.
Eiger record made Ueli Steck world famous and he broke other several records in solo free climbing.
He climbed Eiger, Matterhorn and Grandes Jurasses all combined less than in 11 hours. Just to watch him on Mont Blanc without any rope or safety equipment whatsoever is very scary
After he conquered Alps, he moved into Himalayas. He climbed 8000 m peak Shishapangma free solo in 10 hours 30 minutes and Everest in 2012 without extra oxygen. He never uses extra oxygen, fixed ropes or bolt ladders of other climbers, he considers it cheating. His life is in real danger on every step he makes in mountains.
After marrying he promised to his wife though he will not climb solo any more, he has partners now.But still no ropes to rely on, it is all free. If he makes ONE mistake, he is dead.
He barely dodged the bullet in Himalayas in 2007 climbing murderous peak Annapurna. He even now dont know what happened. He was knocked unconsciuous by falling rock which smashed his helmet, he fell more than 200 feet, but survived with only bruises and concussion.