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Funeral held in Nepal for climber Ueli Steck after accident near Mount Everest

A funeral has been held for Swiss climber Ueli Steck in Nepal following his death in a mountaineering accident near Mount Everest.

The family plans to take some of his ashes to Switzerland after Buddhist monks from the Tengboche Monastery lead a cremation ceremony, spokesman Andreas Bantel said.

He said the 40-year-old, who died on Sunday, originally planned to scale Everest's South Col a day after arriving at Camp 2 base.

Instead, he opted to try Mount Nuptse after noting the "ideal" conditions there.

Mr Steck entered the Lhotse flank but at around 7,600m (24,930ft) hit trouble.

Italian helicopter pilot Maurizio Folini recovered his body about 1,000m (3,280ft) lower.

Mr Steck was one of the most renowned mountaineers of his generation.

He was best known for speed-climbing, including setting several records for ascending the north face of the Eiger, a classic mountaineering peak in the Bernese Alps that he climbed in two hours and 47 minutes without using a rope.

In 2013 he achieved the first solo climb of the Annapurna south face in Nepal after almost losing his life in a fall there in 2007.

For that he received the Piolet d'Or, considered the Oscar of mountaineering, the following year.

In 2015 Steck decided to climb all 82 peaks in the Alps higher than 4,000 metres (13,100ft) travelling between mountains by foot, bike and paraglider only.

He completed the feat in 62 days, helping cement his reputation as the "Swiss Machine".

Steck said in an interview last month with Swiss Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that he considered himself an "outsider" in the mountaineering scene because athletic achievement was more important to him than adventure.

Asked about his forthcoming Everest-Lhotse expedition, involving a quick climb from one peak to the other including an overnight in the "death zone", Mr Steck said: "When I'm on Everest I can stop at any point.

"The risk is therefore quite small. For me it's primarily a physical project. Either I get through, or I don't have the strength for the whole traversal."

Asked what he would consider to be success on his expedition, Mr Steck told Tages-Anzeiger: "Of course I want to climb Everest and Lhotse. But that's a very high goal.

"Failure for me would be to die and not come home."

AP

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