Ueli Steck liked the quote, “Everybody needs a dream and a dream without a plan is just a wish.” It illustrates his philosophy in life and in the mountains. An intense dreamer, he believed that achieving those dreams took determination, dedication and stunning mental and physical focus. He was systematic and scientific in his approach and it rewarded him with a life of many realized dreams—from astonishing speed records to miraculous first ascents—dreams that have inspired all generations of climbers and pioneers.
Still, he was far more than the “Swiss Machine” that he was affectionately dubbed. Ueli not only shattered records on the world’s highest pinnacles, his humble spirit and warmhearted charisma shattered any images of the egotistical alpinist. And this was the Ueli that we knew at MSR—just a guy with a dream and the ambition to go for it, even when the world said it couldn’t be done.
Thank you, Ueli, for showing us that it can be done. That we can push ourselves to do more than we ever thought possible.
On April 30, Ueli Steck passed away while climbing on Mt. Nuptse during an acclimatization exercise in preparation for his astounding Everest-Lhotse traverse. Like the rest of the world, we at MSR are still trying to process the loss of one of the world’s greatest alpinists to have “played,” as he called it, in a high-altitude realm that few will ever know.
Ueli, you truly redefined what was humanly possible. It’s unruly dreamers like you that inspire us at MSR to defy convention, be imaginative and rethink the word “impossible.”