16 July 2011

insanity has a new name and it is Ueli Steck

I know human nature is to push the limits. If one person can do an Ironman Triathlon then others will do ten. If one person skis off a cliff then someone else has to drop from higher up. To the point where you need a parachute to survive.

ASIDE - of course sometimes things go very wrong. Which is exactly why all this extreme sports stuff is so insane.

Still, in spite of the risks people will never stop trying to go faster, higher, longer and thus put themselves out there where disaster is pretty much the only option if they make a mistake. Any mistake.

One of those people is Ueli Steck.


I was surfing YouTube today and came across this video. It's Ueli climbing the north face of the Eiger. What used to take days (as popularized in one of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies) took Ueli just 2:47. TWO HOURS AND FORTY SEVEN MINUTES. Jesus Christ.

Sit back, relax (or break into a sweat like I did) and watch this guy do his stuff.

If I do a mistake, I fall off.

Back in the day I thought speed climbing on rock faces or soloing huge walls was crazy but Ueli takes 'crazy' to a whole new level.

Anyone who has climbed probably knows about the rest step, it's a technique that lets you recover for a split second (or longer if needed) while you ascend. Ueli is practically running up that last snow field! He truly is the Swiss Machine:

I'm really like fanatical training.

"My vision is taking the fast, light alpine style to big, really technical alpine faces in the world."

"We start simulclimbing, it was so cool."

He keeps talking about how you need to control everything to have a successful ascent. It is my humble opinion that on the north face of the Eiger (or any similar alpine peak) there are quite a few things that are by definition out of your control. But hey, some people think that descending a twisty road on a bicycle with narrow tires at 45 mph is nuts so where do you draw the line? For sure Ueli draws it over there and I draw it over here.

You go Ueli. I just hope you are single and don't have any kids. And that someone is constantly following you around with an HD camera.

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