Ueli Steck

Legendary mountaineer Ueli Steck has died while preparing for an ascent of Mount Everest in Nepal.

The man known as “the Swiss Machine" died after falling to the foot of Mount Nuptse, according to Ang Tsering Sherpa, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The BBC reported that Steck was climbing solo at the time with his climbing partner having previously contracted severe frostbite.

"He had an accident on the Nuptse wall and died. It seems he slipped," Ang Tsering Sherpa told news agency AFP.

It is reported that Steck’s body has been recovered and was being taken to Kathmandu.

Kamal Prasad Parajuli of the Nepal Tourism Office said Steck had slipped 1,000m in the Western Cwm along the normal route to Everest.

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The Swiss climber was famous for his high-altitude speed-climbing.

He was on Nuptse to acclimatise for a challenge which would have seen him attempt to scale Everest via the rarely climbed West Ridge and the Hornbein Colouir. Over the years the West Ridge route has caused more deaths than it has seen successful ascents.

He would then have gone down to the South Col and on to the 8,611m summit of Mount Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world, all without supplementary oxygen. He had previously climbed Everest without oxygen successfully in 2012.

Steck has long been considered one of the most impressive and ambitious climbers of his generation and set numerous records during his career as a mountaineer.

In 2015 Steck climbed all 82 Alpine peaks over 4000m (13,100ft) in just 62 days using only human-powered transport; by foot, bicycle and paraglider.

He famously held the speed record for the original route on the north face of the Eiger, reclaiming that record in November 2015 in a time of 2 hours 22m 50 seconds.

He first climbed the north face of the Eiger when he was 18 in 1995, then solo climbed it in 2004 in 10 hours. Tributes have been pouring in from around the world of mountaineering and beyond since the tragic news broke.

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Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ueli. Forever a legend.