Ueli Steck on His Alpine Solos
and a New Route on GII
So what was your feelings about difficulties on the famous Traverse of the Angels?
This is perfect drytooling. Some parts are pretty compact slabs but you can always find small cracks. Monopoint Crampons and good iceaxes makes big difference there. Unfortunately the bivy spot on the end was not as good as I had expected. Walter wrote that’s a good bivy spot, but I found this only a good belay… My back still hurts when I think about that night. However, the Traverse is surely the most technical part on the route. The pitch around the corner is just very steep in the beginning, but after that it’ ok…
I guess that some great mental training for you for this kind of ascents can be freesoloing moderately difficult multi-pitch routes, like for example Excalibur 6b?
This are very good adventures and the risk is not too high. I am not interested in hard soloing on rock, but I like to practise also these skills. What I’m really interested in is alpine solo climbing and for this discipline it’s good to know that you’re able to do pretty hard rock stuff free solo. For me the important thing in rock climbing is a beautiful line! The grade is not that important.
Destivelle’s ascent was made under the eye of the helicoper and long focus lens of photographer, Pascal Tournaire. During soloing on the Eiger you were photographed by Robert Bösch. But I don’t know anything about photos from climbing on the Matterhorn (except from the one from the top). Does it mean that you climbed completely alone and were not observed by anybody?
At the Eiger there was Röbi. But in the end this is not soloing… Soloing is when you are completely alone! So on the Matterhorn I was going alone. That’s why now there are not many good photos… Maybe we’ll go back to shoot some pictures this winter. For me Bonatti was better adventure. It was total fun, I felt very secure climbing and I was just running up there. Maybe I will never have again such a good climbing experience. It was one of these days when you feel you can do everything!