It has been awhile since we’ve heard anything out of Ueli Steck, the Swiss climber who never ceases to amaze with it daring mountain expeditions. But if you know anything about Ueli, its that he’s always planning something, and often it is a project that is unexpected. Take for example his latest pursuit, during which he is attempting to summit 82 European peaks in just 80 days.
Ueli calls this undertaking his #82summits project. Together with German climber Michi Wohlleben, Ueli is spending his summer attempting to reach the top of all of the 4000 meter (13,123 ft) mountains in the Alps, which number exactly 82. But simply climbing those mountains isn’t enough for the “Swiss Machine.” He is also traveling between them by mountain bike, paraglider, and skis.
Steck and Wohlleben are currently a little more than half-way done with their summer-spanning expedition, having knocked off about 50 of the peaks so far. If they are successful in their bid, the duo will have biked more than 965 km (600 miles), and climbed more than 91,400 meters (300,000 ft) in just 80 days. As National Geographic Adventure points out, thats the equivalent of summiting Everest 26 times in less than three months.
Of course, Ueli knows the Alps very well, having grown up there, and climbing in them since he was a boy. It is also where he made his reputation for going fast and light on his climbs, perfecting his style on some of the most famous mountains in the world.
The #82summits project may be one of the last of Steck’s storied career. In the Nat Geo article he talks about moving on to other things. He says that he’ll always climb, but that he doesn’t have the desire to try things like his solo-summit of Annapurna from a few years back. Steck says that he thought he might die on that climb, which is not something he is willing to risk again.
You can follow Ueli and Michi on their adventure on Ueli’s website and on Facebook. The two-men aren’t done yet, and there are still plenty of mountains to go before the end of the summer. It should be interesting to see if they can complete this epic project on schedule.
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