Ueli Steck. Photo: Ludovic Péron CC-BY-SA-3.0

Ueli Steck. Photo: Ludovic Péron CC-BY-SA-3.0

The climber who held the record for the fastest ascent of the North Face of the Eiger has died in an accident in the Himalaya.

Ueli Steck’s body was found near the Nuptse Face on the Everest massif on Sunday.

He had been preparing for an attempt on the world’s highest mountain via the West Ridge without supplementary oxygen.

He had been seen early in the morning climbing solo on Nuptse. His body was recovered to Lukla by helicopter.

The 40-year-old Swiss mountaineer regained his Eiger record in 2015 when he completed the classic Heckmair Route on the North Face in a time of 2hrs 22mins, beating Dani Arnold’s ascent record by five minutes.

He won two Piolet d’Or awards, the ‘Oscars of climbing’ in 2009 and 2014.

In April 2013, he was among a group of western mountaineers involved in an unseemly argument with Nepalese Sherpas fixing ropes on Everest in which death threats were reportedly made.

Earlier this week, Steck posted on Facebook: “Quick day from Basecamp up to 7,000m and back. I love it; it’s such a great place here. I still believe in active acclimatisation. This is way more effective than spending nights up in the altitude.”

Ueli Steck’s death is the first in the Everest region this climbing season.

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