Ueli Steck’s Training

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.Ueli Steck was one of the most polyvalent alpinists ever.  Steck is a true all-arounder and has put up M11 mixed routes, free soloed 5.13/8a and WI6, and sport climbed 5.14/8c, done first ascents in 8000m peaks, speed solo ED routes and he has also participated in Ultra Trails.

Among his achievements he has open rock climb routes as Paciencia (8a/5.13b) in solitaire, La vida es silbar (Eigernordwand 900 m 7c) with Stephan Siegrist, both in Eiger North face, he has redpointed Golden Gate (8a/5.13b) at El Capitan. In alpinism he realized some first ascents as West Face of Pumori with Ueli Bühler  (1400 m M4/80), The Young Spider (1800 m M7/Wi6; 7a/A2) in Eiger North face again with Stephan Siegrist. He has done some of the most impressive fast and solo climbs as Excalibur (6b), Eiger North Face in 2h22min, Grandes Jorases Colton-McIntyre in 2h21min, Matterhorn’s Schmid in 1h56min and in 8000ers SishaPangma South face in 10h30, Annapurna South face finalising Lafaille-Béghin route in 28h, Climbed Everest without Ox, linked all 84 4000ers of the alps in 62 days, linked Eiger-Jungfrau and Mönch in 25h…

He started at a young age to perform in alpinism and sport climbing mostly, He started rock climbing at 12, never top-roping, then start indoor climbing, and joining the junior national climbing team, At 17, climbed the east pillar of the Scheideggwetterhorn (30 pitch 5.10ish). At 18 he did his first Eiger North Face and Bonatti Pilar. And soon started with solo climbings as Haston Colouir (TD+, 1,000m) on the Mönch, Walker Spur in Winter, and start first ascents in far ranges as West face of Pumori (7,164m) and The Young Spiders (5.11d A2 M7 WI6, 1,800m) in 2001, and the new route Blood From the Stone (5.9 A1 M7 AI6+, 1,600m) on Mt. Dickey, with Sean Easton in 2002.

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For most alpinists, training is just climbing. Ueli Steck believed that to reach higher goals he needed to plan and train specifically for it. He had a staff of people working with him for training (coach, mental coach, nutrition…). He was training around 1200h/year. Planning his training in blocks to keep his polyvalence (Climbing-strength / Generl Endurance / Alpine Endurance / Himalaya Training / Big wall Training). Depending on the goal he was scheduling his year program to focus more on strength if it was a drytooling or free climbing goal, in Endurance if Alpinism…

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For climbing, he did gym or rock training a couple of four-hour sessions per week. He was quite serious about the mental aspect, logging about three hours per week of autogenic training, including both relaxation and concentration exercises. For endurance, he was running, cycling and doing ski mountaineering.

He shared with climbing.com some of his week’s plans:

FOCUS: ALPINE ENDURANCE (PRE-EIGER RECORD)

  • MONDAY 1 hour running–Intensity 2 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour stabilization (core) training / slideshow
  • TUESDAY 2 hours running–Intensity 2 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • WEDNESDAY 4 hours climbing in the gym / 2 hours running–Intensity 1 / 1/2 hour stretching / slideshow
  • THURSDAY 4 hours climbing in the gym / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • FRIDAY 1.5 hours running–Intensity 1 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • SATURDAY 3.5 hours running–Intensity 4 / 1 hour stretching / slideshow
  • SUNDAY (REST DAY) Climbing with my wife 4 hours / 1 hour stretching

FOCUS: YOSEMITE CLIMBING (2010, WEEK 17)

  • MONDAY Run: 12 kilometers/1,000 meters gain–Intensity 2
  • TUESDAY Climbing outdoors: 3 pitches of 5.13d, 2 of 5.13a, 1 of 5.11d / 1 hour weight training / 1 hour stretching
  • WEDNESDAY Climbing outdoors: 4 pitches of 5.14a, 2 of 5.13a / Run: easy 12 kilometers/800 meters gain–Intensity 1
  • THURSDAY Run: Eiger Lauper Route, running and climbing from Grindelwald, 20 kilometers/3,075 meters gain–Intensity 3
  • FRIDAY (REST DAY)
  • SATURDAY Climbing in the gym: 4 pitches of 5.13b, 3 of 5.12d, 5 of 5.12b, 6 of 5.11d / 1 hour weight training / 1 hour stretching
  • SUNDAY Run: 18 kilometers/1,700 meters gain–Intensity 2

FOCUS: GENERAL ENDURANCE (2010, WEEK 33)

  • MONDAY (REST DAY)
  • TUESDAY 3-run series, total 27 kilometers/ 5,100 meters gain–Intensity 3 / 1 hour stretching
  • WEDNESDAY Climbing gym: 3 pitches of 5.13b, 4 of 5.13a, 6 of 5.12c, 4 of 5.11d / 1 hour stretching
  • THURSDAY Climbing gym: 3 pitches 5.13b, 5 of 5.13a, 6 of 5.12b, 6 of 5.11d / 1 hour stretching
  • FRIDAY 3-run series, total 27 kilometers/ 5,100 meters gain–Intensity 3 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training
  • SATURDAY Climbing outdoors: 2 pitches 5.13d, 1 of 5.12c, 3 of 5.11d
  • SUNDAY (REST DAY) Drive to Dolomites

FOCUS: HIMALAYA (2011, WEEK 2)

  • MONDAY 1 hour running–Intensity 2 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour stabilization training / slideshow
  • TUESDAY 2 hours running—Intensity 2 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • WEDNESDAY 4 hours climbing in the gym / 2 hours running–Intensity 1 / 1/2 hour stretching / slideshow
  • THURSDAY 4 hours climbing in the gym / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • FRIDAY (REST DAY) 1.5 hours running–Intensity 1 / 1 hour stretching / 1 hour mental training / slideshow
  • SATURDAY 3.5 hours running–Intensity 4 / 1 hour stretching / slideshow
  • SUNDAY (REST DAY) Climbing with my wife 4 hours / 1 hour stretching

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