My first climb was on lead; there were pitons, no bolts.
Right now, I’m just focused on the 8,000-meter peaks. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t think I will get tired of climbing.
The people in Nepal don’t care about alpinism; they just care about money.
Everest is how it is right now. We have to fix ropes up there; we have the commercial expeditions. If you don’t like that, go on another mountain or choose another part of the mountain. There’s still space for everybody.
During the climb, I never get afraid. But you can’t lose your fear – it is really important. If you lose it, you are going to die.
Everybody has to choose his or her own way to climb a mountain. I don’t give an opinion. But there needs to be enough room for others.
I don’t worry about other people, and I don’t let them influence me too much. I try to find out what I want to do and not what other people want me to do.
I’m getting older, turning 40 this year. I had a period where I thought each expedition had to be something harder, something faster. But you can’t go on like that, or you’re going to die.
Slow down and stay alive.
These guys make a lot of money. Of course it’s hard and dangerous work, but Sherpas are the rich people in Nepal. If you make so much money, you can somehow lose reality.
Not all Sherpas are bad. There are a few who are crazy, but the rest are good people.
No one in Switzerland knows me as the Swiss Machine, and that’s good, because I don’t like it.
You can, maybe, do something like Annapurna once in a lifetime. Then don’t try to do it again.
I don’t like being restricted. When I climb, I feel free and unrestricted; away from any social commitments.
Annapurna was a special situation. It was a lifetime dream to finish that route. When I started climbing the South Face, I really expected not to come back alive.
It’s really impressive what those like Messner and Walter Bonatti have done – they are a big part of the history of alpinism.
Of course I climbed Everest without oxygen, but it’s not the end of the story for me. The summit itself is not what counts. It’s how’d you get there, what’d you climb, and there are really great opportunities to climb on this mountain. It’s a beautiful place.
It’s like a living process. You start out, and you see the Eiger north face, and you think, ‘That’s impossible.’ Then you start to dream. Then you climb the Eiger north face. Then maybe you go to the Himalaya.
I don’t need to come back to Everest.
I never expected to make a living from climbing, but it got to the point where I either had to get a job or start trying to make some real money from it. I didn’t want to be 45 and a dirtbag.
Today, to find a challenge is really hard. In the Alps, everything is done. The new lines, almost all of them are finished. So to find a new challenge, it’s all beginning to go to speed.
When you go to the mountains, you really have to accept that there is always a risk. It’s more dangerous than sitting at home watching TV. It’s really sad.
Once you start, if you’re still afraid, don’t do it. Either it’s too hard, or you’re not prepared. I’ve never done something when I was scared.
That’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if you climbed the Eiger’s north face in two hours and forty-seven minutes or in two days. If it’s your challenge, and you’re happy with it, that’s the most important thing.
Climbing Everest is so big now, with so much money involved, and the Sherpas are not stupid. They see this, and they want to take over the business and kick out the westerners. This is a big fight.
I don’t have a death wish. On the contrary, I’m hanging onto my life like never before.
The goal is not to solo. Of course, it is possible to move fast in alpine style also with a partner. I just need the right partner.
I don’t cheat.