ExWeb Interview - Steve House: Riding on the wild side, part 1

Posted: Apr 01, 2005 01:21 pm EST

Steve House is 34 years old and lives in a van. Not exactly your idea of the American Dream! But, well, thats a question of priorities. Steves dream can be summarized in one word: Climbing. And in that sense, the guy is a winner!

Awarded for his amazing climbs all over the world, he stays loyal to the code of clean, light and fast. What really matters in the vertical world of Alpine style is not how high you get - but how you get there.

The purist

In todays first part of ExWeb's interview with Steve, we focus on his return to Pakistan this summer, back to Nanga Parbats huge Rupal face. He may summit or he may not, but whatever happens - no trace will be left on the wall.

ExWeb: What can you tell us about your upcoming expedition. Are you completing the line you started last year on Nanga's Rupal wall?

Steve: I will attempt to climb the route again with partner Vince Anderson.

ExWeb: In your first attempt last year, health problems forced you down - what happened?

Steve: Looking back I see we made several mistakes. We were in a tough situation because we got a good weather forecast just one day after arriving in Base Camp. We had to go, but we were not well rested and had been only to 6,900 meters three weeks before. There were other mistakes too On such a demanding route, you are not allowed any errors.

ExWeb: You tried to go back and solo it a few days later You were not giving it up just like that, uh?

Steve: Yes, I tried. I very much would like to climb Nanga Parbat. I first visited the mountain when I was very young as a member of a Slovenian expedition. I celebrated my 20th birthday in BC. I still hold onto my dream to open a new route on the Rupal Face.

ExWeb: Who will be on the team this season? What will you do different?

Steve: I will climb with Vince Anderson. We will share Base Camp with Scott Johnston and Colin Haley. Scott and Colin will attempt to complete the Mazeno Ridge. We will try not to repeat last years same mistakes.

ExWeb: Any other climbing plans for this season?

Steve: I expect to travel to India in May, where I will launch an attempt on Kalanka.

ExWeb: Pakistan is a big wall paradise and fees are low. Why is almost nobody trying to open new routes there, in your opinion?

Steve: Many people are scared off by the west vs. Islam slant of the popular media. However mountaineers have nothing to worry about in Pakistan. It is a wonderful country and full of wonderful people. Of course if you want to find bad people, you can do that too. But that is true of the USA too.

I encourage people to visit Pakistan for themselves and they will see how welcoming the Pakistanis are. Theirs is a wonderful country and home to what I think are the best mountains in the world.

ExWeb: What would be your dream-climb?

Steve: The West Face of Makalu in alpine style.

Part 2: Alpine style vs expedition style.

Accomplished climber and an Alpine Style purist, Steve was nominated for the prestigious Piolet dOr award 2004 for his speed solo climb, in super-light style (his backpack weighed just 4 kg) on K7, an isolated Karakorum spire.

Steve was awarded by the public attending the ceremony, but the award finally went to the Russian team who completed the first climb on Jannu North face, in expedition style.


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