Ueli Steck Wins Coveted Eiger Award

The winner of the 2008 Eiger Award was announced last night in Grindelwald, Switzerland with Swiss Climber Ueli Steck taking home the honors. The award comes just months after Ueli set a new speed record on the mountain that the award is named for, beating his old record by 67 minutes, and just days after his dramatic rescue attempt of Iñaki Ochoa on Annapurna.

The typically humble Steck remained modest about his accomplishments, but did, for the first time, reveal some details on what happened while on Annapurna. If you are like me, and watched with baited breath and fingers crossed for news on Iñaki, then you’ll want to read this article, as the rescue attempt was just as dramatic as you could imagine. In fact, Ueli says that he, and his climbing partner Simon Anthamatten didn’t even have time to grab their usual climbing gear before setting off to help Iñaki and thus they found themselves at 6900 meters wearing their hiking boots and not their high alpine mountaineering footwear.

The article goes on to touch on a number of other items with Ueli as well, such as his speed record attempts, his relationship with Simon, and his long term plans for the future. For now though, he’s going to take some much deserved rest and time to reflect on the past year. Congratulations Ueli! You are a very deserving winner of this award!

I’d like to thank Jo Adams for this excellent article and great photos, as well as taking the time to drop me a note to let me know about the event. Ueli has become one of my favorite personalities in the mountaineering world, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last piece of hardware he picks up in the near future. He is a great example for all of us.

Kraig Becker