Thanks to Snow and Rock I was fortunate enough to bag a ticket to Ueli Steck’s lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London last night. It turns out I’d known only a tiny bit of what Ueli has achieved in his time, despite already being in awe of him. For the duration of the lecture I was gripped on every word, as he took listeners through the very ‘ordinary’ nature of how he has become the speed climbing sensation that he is today. Of his climbing he describes his motivation: “You’re progressing on something and that’s what it’s all about. You want to keep moving and having a progress in your life”.
Ueli had a magical way of making his quite extraordinary accomplishments sound routine and accessible. Though I am sure nobody left that lecture hall feeling as though they were on the same level, perhaps many left thinking they could at least tap into their potential in the way Ueli described. As he was undertaking physiology tests with the Swiss Olympic Institue, they told him that his results were no greater than a ‘normal person’ and certainly not on a level with elite athlete performance. And Ueli said he was delighted with this result, because it meant he had lots more room for improvement! What a great attitude.
I particularly enjoyed his humble nature as he described his ascent of El Cap in Yosemite. Whilst a group of accomplished climbers were busy on their second day of The Nose route, Ueli and his partner scurried through their equipment as they free climbed to the top. The next day, Ueli and his partner repeated the ascent, again climbing through the same group of climbers a little further up the wall. He says they were a little less friendly on that second day!
His future plans are under wraps, but I am sure they will be something equally remarkable. Keep an eye out for him!
Here’s his website: Ueli Steck