The 2011 Himalaya season is barely underway, and most climbers are still en route to their respective base camps, but Ueli Steck has already been in the region for several weeks, and has completed training climbs on the 6000 meter peaks of Lobuche and Cholatse. But for Ueli, these are just “warm-ups” for something bigger. The Swiss speed climber has some major plans for the big Himalayan mountains, and will be spending the next five months pursuing his Project: Himalaya expedition.
The details on what he has planned remain a bit shrouded in mystery at the moment, but you can find several videos and a couple of dispatches from Ueli’s support team at HimalayaSpeed.com. That team includes the likes of Freddie Wilkinson, Rob Frost and Jim Aikman, who have traveled to Nepal to chronicle Ueli’s light and fast, alpine style attack on some of the mountains there. Exactly which mountains remains to be seen.
Considering the project is expected to last five months, we can almost guess that these climbs will take Ueli all over the Himalaya, and quite possibly into the Karaoram sub-range. Steck is one of the best climbers in the world, and it isn’t out of the question for him to take on some of the biggest mountains on the planet, but which ones does he have his sights on? Will he make a speed attempt on Everest for instance? How about Annapurna? Clearly he’ll have to vacate Nepal/Tibet by early June due to the Monsoon, does that mean K2 is on his radar? I guess we’ll have to wait to see what the Project: Himalaya itinerary has in store for the team. But one thing is for sure, it’ll most likely be quite an interesting expedition to follow.
For those unfamiliar with Ueli, check out the video below, which serves as a great introduction to the man known as the “Swiss Machine.” Then watch the second video to get an early update on the Project: Himalaya expedition from Kathmandu.
Update: ExWeb has more details on Ueli’s plans. It seems that he is climbing with Asian Trekking and that he has just left for Tibet, where Steck, along with American Don Bowie, will be going for three 8000 meter peaks this year. The two men will make attempts on Shisapagma, Cho Oyu and Everest.
So, there you have it. The three peaks that Ueli is set to challenge. It should be very interesting to see how he fares on those mountains.
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