June 9, 2022

Who Was Ueli Steck? The GREAT SWISS Climbing Machine

by Bernice

Ueli Steck was a Swiss professional mountain climber. He was born on October 4th, 1976, and lived until April 30th, 2017 when he died while climbing Mount Everest.

Steck was regarded as one of the greatest of his age. He had set numerous speed records and was named the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

He was also a double-time winner of the Piolet d’Or. Sadly, Ueli Steck died while climbing Mount Everest without oxygen. 


Table of Contents

Ueli Steck’s Early Life and Biography

Steck was the youngest of three brothers conceived in Langnau, Switzerland’s Emmental Region.

The three all began playing hockey at a young age, a tradition for Langnau kids. Unfortunately for Ueli, he could not make it to the pro level. 

He was, however, introduced to climbing at Schrattenfluh by a household acquaintance, and he rapidly focused his energies on the trajectory that’d ultimately characterize his career.

By the time he was aged 17, he was hailed for achieving UIAA’s tenth difficulty grade. 

Nicole Steck, Ueli Steck‘s spouse, survives him. The climber, however, did not reveal the identity of his parents.

As one of the most successful mountaineers, Ueli Steck was among Switzerland’s most famous athletes.

Who Was Ueli Steck
Who Was Ueli Steck?

Ueli Steck’s Climbing Career 

  • Ueli began mountaineering at an early age and reached the 9th complexity grade when he was 17. At 18, he ascended the massif of Bonatti Peak and Eiger’s north face. As of 2004, Ueli went ahead and hiked the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau in just one day, where Siegrist accompanied him.
  • In 2005, he was included in the climber’s magazine “Climb” due to the “Khumbu-Express Expedition,” which ranked him among Europe’s best three alpinists. The trip comprised ascending Cholaste’s north face and Taboche’s eastern face, which are about 6400 meters tall.
  • Due to avalanche danger, Steck called it quits on his Annapurna expedition in 2008. He ascended to rescue climber Inaki Ochoa de Olza, but the latter perished despite his assistance. He received the inaugural Eiger Award for mountain climbing efforts that season. He first came to public attention in 2013 after a deadly fight with Sherpas on Everest’s South Col trail. That year, he solo climbed the Annapurna’s Lafaille climb, conquering the tallest portion of the wall and marking it as the greatest and most spectacular Himalayan summit in history. Also, he took only a day, four hours from the foot to the peak. 
  • Ueli solo climbed the Annapurna in early 2015, earning him another Piolet d’Or. Additionally, he made history on Eiger’s North Face, finishing in less than 143 minutes. 
  • Steck and Michael Wohlleben connected the triple north sides of Tre Drei Zinnen in 2015. In mid-2015, he hiked all 82 Alpine peaks greater than 4000 m in two months without using motorized means.
  • The next year, he discovered the corpses of Bridges and Lowe, who’d perished in a snowstorm over Shishapangma in 1999.
  • Amid planning for an expedition devoid of supplemental oxygen to ascend the Hornbein climb of Everest’s Western Face, his companion got frostbite; nonetheless, he continued the ascent supported by Yannick. However, Ueli Steck fell a thousand meters off when he had a remainder of 300m to reach the peak. The reason for his accident is unclear, although the body was recovered and returned to Kathmandu.

Did They Find Ueli Steck?

Yes, Ueli’s body was found at an altitude of 6300 m. The time was 9:34 AM. Ueli fell just 300 m off the main route.

How Far Did Ueli Steck Fall?

Ueli Steck fell roughly 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) below the summit, approximately 300 meters (980 ft) from the summit. The cause of the fall is unknown. After being found between camps 1 and 2, his body was transported back to Kathmandu where a memorial service was held. Nicole, his wife, survived him.

How Good Was Ueli Steck?

Ueli Steck was awarded twice the alpine climbing’s most prestigious award, the Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe).

Why Was Ueli Steck Attacked?

Simone, Ueli, and Jonathan were climbing up to Camp 3 where the rope-fixing team was setting up the lines when the altercation began. When they arrived at the climbers’ position, the Sherpas said they should stay off the ropes while working on them, which they gladly did. However, the altercation didn’t stop there, and Ueli added another 260 meters of fixed rope up to Camp 3 in order to calm down the situation.

Did Ueli Climb Annapurna?

Ueli Steck’s solo climb of Annapurna, the 8091 meters (26,545 ft) Himalayan peak considered to be one of the toughest climbs in the world, was among the most impressive of 2013.

Ueli Steck’s Education

Climbing seems to have taken early roots in Ueli Steck’s life. Whether he attended school and completed his formal education remains unknown. He had managed to keep it secret. 

Ueli Steck’s Personal Life: Dating, Girlfriend, Wife, Kids

Ueli Steck got married to Nicole Steck in 2008, and the two seemed to have enjoyed their marital life without any trouble until the tragic passing of Ueli.

However, he was still secretive about his personal life. The marriage was also childless.

Ueli Steck’s Height, Weight, and Age

Ueli was born on October 4th, 1976. By the time of Steck’s death on April 30th, 2017, he was 40.

The climber never disclosed details regarding his height, but he has a bodyweight of 67 kg.

Ueli Steck’s Awards, Achievements, Nominations

  • Before Ueli Steck’s death, there was nothing that the Swiss legend had not dared to do in his life concerning climbing. To begin with, in mid-2015, Ueli Steck hiked all 82 Alpine peaks greater than 4000 m in two months without using motorized means.
  • Steck and Michael Wohlleben connected the triple north sides of Tre Drei Zinnen in 2015.
  • He was featured in the climber’s magazine “Climb” following his “Khumbu-Express Expedition,” which ranked him among Europe’s best three alpinists.
  • In 2008, he received the Eiger Award based on his alpine climbing feats.
  • In 2009, he was awarded his first-ever Piolet d’Or award. This was after scaling the climb on Tengkampoche’s northern wall.
  • By 2010, his climbing adaptability had become widely known, and he had achieved the Karl Unterkircher prize.
  • In 2014, he did a solo on the Annapurna South Face and earned his second Piolet d’Or award. 
  • The following year, he was recognized as the nationwide topographical Explorer of the Year.
  • Ueli’s last achievement came in 2017. This was the Wasatch’s mountain filming award, the George Mallory Honor.

Ueli Steck’s Movies, Documentaries, Books

Ueli Steck’s scariest adventures happen to have been caught by the camera. He was a regular figure in “Ueli Steck at The North Face Trilogy.”

The filming was based on the Eiger’s north face and featured the Grandes and Matterhorn as the most challenging parts.

But the swill climbing machine couldn’t spoil the moment. He did a free solo on the tri-set within a day. 

The Net Worth and Salary of Ueli Steck

Ueli Steck’s career started at an early age, and he had amassed a huge amount of wealth from his outdoor adventures.

By his death, Ueli Steck was estimated to have a net worth of $5 million.

The Swiss climber’s primary source of income was from climbing, and thanks to his outstanding achievements, his worth saw increments across his career.

Related Climbers’ Bios:

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About the author 

Bernice

Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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