posted by dpm on 10/16/2013
It’s hard to grasp the massive scale of Annapurna’s South Face which was soloed by “the Swiss Machine” Ueli Steck last week. Fortunately, for those of us that haven’t been to the Himalaya, a short video has been posted online that offers a glimpse into Steck’s already legendary ascent up the 8091-meter peak.
Ueli’s new route followed a line that was first attempted in 1992 by the French pair Jean-Christophe Lafaille and Pierre Beghin. Their attempt ended in tragedy when a rappel anchor failed at 7500 meters and Beghin fell to his death forcing Lafaille to descend alone with little gear. He barely survived.
Steck’s first attempt at the line was in 2007. That attempt ended when he was hit by rockfall that nearly killed him. He tried again the following year but his attempt was cut short when he heard word that his Spanish friend Iñaki Ochoa de Olza was stranded on the mountain. Ueli attempted a rescue but Olza perished on the unforgiving mountain.
This year, Steck set off up the route with Don Bowie but his partner deemed the face too dangerous and retreated. Steck continued on by himself and, after a 28-hour push, returned to basecamp having successfully completed one of the greatest feats of modern Himalayan mountaineering. Planetmountain has the full interview with Steck where he discusses the route in detail. Click the image below for a short video that shows the line of ascent.