Ueli Steck Speed Solos Le Ginat on Les Droites

Ueli Steck (top left) soloing Le Ginat, north face of Les Droites. Photo by Jonathan Griffith

So I ran into Ueli Steck at ispo and he told me about a ‘fun’ day of climbing he’d had in Chamonix recently. Seems like the overachieving hard man had been in Bern for business and since he hadn’t done any serious climbing in a coupla months he decided to mosey on down to Chamonix for a relaxing day in the mountains.

So, as you do, Ueli made an alpine start and drove the two hours to Argentiére in time for first bin then broke trail through deep snow to the base of Les Droites before scampering up Le Ginat (ED: V/M4+/85˚/1000m) on the north face of Les Droites in a mind-blowing two hours and eight minutes.

Lucky for us, Chamonix lensman Jonathan Griffith was in a heli with Pascal Brun to snap some brilliant photos of the climb. The previous speed record on Le Ginat was held by Christophe Profit who climbed it in two hours and thirty minutes. Read Jon’s account and see more photos at AlpineExposures.com.

Photo: Jonathan Griffith

Steck’s impressive climbing CV includes Khumbu Express and Gasherbrum II’s east summit in 2005, speed records on the north face of the Eiger in 2007 and 2008, the first free climb of the Eiger’s hardest route Paciencia (8a [5.13b]/23 pitches/900m) in 2008, the speed record on Les Grandes Jorasses in December 2008, the speed record on the Matterhorn at the beginning of 2009, a redpoint of Golden Gate on Yosemite’s El Capitan in June 2009 followed by ascents of Gasherbrum II (8035m) and Makalu (8463m).

As for the future, Steck’s website reports:

I do not plan any great expedition for next year. So I can focus on my workout seriously and I will also have more time for my sponsors. I will concentrate on my projects in the Alps and a trip to the Yosemite is also planned. For 2011 I will focus again on projects in the Himalaya.

Maybe one day I will succeed on Makalu over the west pillar or with the Annapurna southface. As said: I have plenty of ideas.

At present I am very busy with my book, which is planned to appear on September 1, 2010. The follow up book of Solo from MALIK NG has up to today been sold 20’000 times.
Along with the book a documentary film is planned with our local TV broadcast SF DRS. Out of it a DVD of

the speed trilogy should arise. The writing and filming are tasks, which are very time demanding.
On January and February 2011 I will go on tour again with Explora and up to now 35 slideshows are scheduled.

Ueli Steck

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