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Alpinist Turns Around Short of Summit

May 31, 2011

Imagine having given every single drop of energy and having traveled from the other side of the world to fulfill a dream. Having invested heaps of time, sweat and money. With only one goal: climbing Mount Everest, the highest mountain of the world. And now, you are there. Almost. Only 100 meters between you and the summit. But…. your feet are cold. Actually you can’t feel them anymore… Oeps… What now?! Most climbers continue. The pressure to stand on the roof of the world is extreme. You have to go on!

But than we have Ueli Steck. A professional mountaineer from Switzerland. He turned around last week, just short of the summit. So no topsucces for him, but he achieved an even bigger performance by saving his feet from frostbite. Acting in a high risk environment, searching the limit every day, Steck has clearly planned his limit, his acceptable risk and his exit scenario. It seems that he was always one step ahead, kept a clear overview of his situation and stuck to his plan by confirming every intermediate step very consciously. Accepting supplementary oxygen would bring him to his goal, but would alter his plan and risk matrix. To turn around 100 meter below the top shows great professionalism in risk management and understanding human performance. Respect!

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