Annapurna's south face.
Annapurna's south face.

Ueli Steck Solos Annapurna’s South Face

First to summit route alone.

Annapurna's south face.

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“Summit, alone, South Face,” was the text that Ueli Steck sent from base camp at 10:00 p.m. on October 9. He was referring to his solo ascent—the first ever—of the south face of Nepal’s 26,545-foot Annapurna.

The Swiss alpinist was joined by Canadian Don Bowie for acclimatization trips up the mountain, and they climbed together to at least 20,000 feet (6,100 meters). According to, British climber Jon Griffith confirmed the ascent after contacting Steck’s base camp.

Steck had attempted the south face route twice before. His 2007 attempt ended when he was hit by a rockfall and fell about 1,000 feet; in 2008 he and partner Simon Anthamatten abandoned their climb to rescue Spanish climber Iñaki Ochoa de Olza.

Steck explained his persistence in his blog on September 15:

Adventures stand out because you can never calculate in advance what all could happen … nothing is for sure. To walk through life in a comfortable way is still not my goal. This is why I want to try to climb Annapurna a third time. I would like to implement my dreams and visions into reality. Annapurna is one of them.

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