Imagine how long it would take to reach the top, 102nd, floor of the Empire State building if you had to walk up the stairs to get there. Now imagine that someone stacked five Empire State buildings on top of one another and asked you to walk up the stairs to get to the top. How long would it take you to get there? No, scratch that. Imagine that there are still five Empire State buildings stacked up but instead of stairs you now have to climb the vertical outer walls to get to the top. How long? I know—it’s a stupid question because you wouldn’t do it. But that’s because you aren’t Swiss speed-mountaineering legend and Mountain Hardwear athlete, Ueli Steck.
In 2008, Steck set a speed record on the treacherous 5,900-foot north face of the Eiger by summiting the near-vertical behemoth in…wait for it…two hours and 45 minutes. That’s about how long it’d take you to finish watching The Lord of the Rings. Kinda makes you feel like a Hobbit, doesn’t it? (You can watch Ueli in all his speed-mountaineering glory in the video above.)
While you aren’t going to beat the Swiss phenomenon in a race up the mountains of Mordor anytime soon, you can still take a page out of his book to help crush your own precious personal best. Steck teamed up with Mountain Hardwear designers to create the ultimate ultralight speed-mountaineering kit.
Here’s what they came up with: