My Life in Climbing
Ueli Steck Mountaineers Books
Ueli Steck’s largely transcribed autobiography will not give you any details about how he came to be one of the greatest alpinists of his generation. The climber of this book appears fully formed from the first page. You will learn that he solo climbed the North Face of the Eiger twice while monitoring his heart rate and rate of ascent in metres per hour the way a professional cyclist would. You will wonder how it’s possible to be so well conditioned and so seemingly fearless. You may even be inspired to adapt the innovations of ultra-running to the practice mountaineering. While he lived, Ueli certainly thought you should.
My Life in Climbing takes the reader from a commercial climb up Everest conceived of as a fitness outing to Steck’s possibility-defying solo of the South Face of Mount Annapurna and then back to the Alps to climb its eighty highest peaks in a single outing. It’s the profile of a climber exploring the outer limits of performance in the mountains in ways that mirror the approach taken by Alex Honnold on rock. Oddly but not amusingly, the near-death experience that Steck describes most vividly occurs during a confrontation with Sherpas during the course of an expedition.
The premise that Steck adheres to throughout the book is one of deep acceptance of mortality and the rewards made possible by accepting a higher degree of risk made possible by an uncompromising approach to training.—Tom Valis