Ueli Steck didn’t originally plan on climbing Shishapangma (26,289 feet) alone. But when his partner Don Bowie became altitude sick near the end of their only weather window, Steck headed up the mountain, planning to climb to just 23,600 feet to check conditions. Ten and a half hours later, he topped out Shishapangma for what was likely the peak’s fastest-ever ascent. Steck, who originally made a name for himself by racing up the Eiger and other alpine faces in record time, planned to follow his ascent of Shishapangma with fast-and-light climbs of two more 8,000-meter peaks as part of his Himalaya Speed expedition. He and Bowie went on to summit Cho Oyu, but were turned back by cold conditions on Mt. Everest.
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