By climbing the south face of Annapurna by direct route, Swiss climber Ueli Steck has just completed one of the greatest achievements of the past decades. It is thought impregnable by the direct route. The south face of Annapurna (8091m) is a huge wall of ice and rock 2500m high and 12km wide, stiff and a technical relentless, exposed to winds.
It is the deadliest Himalayan peak after K2. The biggest climbers failed there. This mythical wall, never climbed alone.
Ueli Steck, speed climber, 37, has climbed in 28h between 8th and 9th last October. Solo and without oxygen, with a lightweight bag. Economy of means rarely achieved. For comparison, the victorious ascent led by Chris Bonington on the same south side in 1970 took two months, six high camps and 4500m of fixed rope.
43 years later, this ultra fast solo achievement, acts as a further step in himalayisme performance. And brought Steck in the pantheon of climbers.
Information about L’Equipe Magazine: