Wednesday, 25 November 2009

An Indoor Weekend

The Kendal Mountain Festival is now a regular fixture in our calendar and, depending on the schedule, it is usually possible to get out for run. This year, however, both the schedule and the weather conspired to make the prospect particularly unappealing. We were fortunate that the flood water subsided quickly in most places in the south Lakes and we were able to get to and from our accommodation in Troutbeck.

After Doug Scott on Saturday and the obligatory tour of the kit sale in “base camp” (made especially enjoyable by the samples of Bowmore, a favourite malt whisky) we settled down round an open fire for a glass of wine.

2009-11-11_troutbeck_ 022 

The alternative was a head torch run over Wansfell in pouring rain and a strong wind – wasn’t such a difficult choice. By the following morning the weather had improved only a little and we weren’t tempted out.

Troutbeck - looking southTroutbeck – looking south 

Ueli Steck’s presentation on Sunday morning was likely to be the highlight of the weekend and he didn’t disappoint. Steck currently holds the records for the north faces of the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses.

Ueli Steck Steck made the record attempts seem like the natural and obvious thing to do, almost surprised that there are many others doing it too. His first solo on the Eiger took him around 10 hours, almost twice the previous record time and so after practising, a bit, he aimed for a sub 4 hour time without knowing if he could do it.


Part way up he realised a sub 4 hour time might just be possible.


Not only possible but achieved



Even after his sub 4 time he knew he could do it faster and so after a year’s training he went without a specific target and reduced the record to 2 hours 47 minutes and 33 seconds. The next “obvious progression” was to tackle the records for the north faces of the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses, ‘on sight’, and sure enough those records were broken too. If Sunday’s presentation is anything to go by he is a highly focussed, very determined and hugely unassuming individual who almost seemed surprised that anyone else was sufficiently bothered about his “speed climbing” to turn up on a Sunday morning.

YouTube has plenty of material showing reconstructions of the attempts, one of them is here Ueli Steck's triple speed climbing record


  1. Looking back through your photos for the last few posts you have such diversity of landscapes to run through!

    As always great photos!

  2. We are very fortunate to have such variety within easy reach and, of course, a variety of weather and seasons that create a runners' wonderland.

    Glad you like the photos.