Celebrated Swiss climber Ueli Steck cremated near Everest | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 04.05.2017
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Celebrated Swiss climber Ueli Steck cremated near Everest

The body of Swiss climber Ueli Steck has been cremated at a Buddhist monastery near Mount Everest. The legendary alpinist was killed over the weekend while attempting to scale the world's highest peak.

Members of Ueli Steck's close family gathered for a memorial ceremony at the Tengboche Monastery in Nepal's northeast on Thursday.

The funeral pyre was lit as Buddhist monks played music and offered prayers. Several climbers were also expected to trek down from Everest base camp - some 20 kilometres (12 miles) away - to pay their respects, Steck's expedition organizer, Seven Summits, told the news agency AFP.

The 40-year-old mountaineer died on Sunday after slipping from a ridge and falling more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). He had been on an acclimatizing trek as part of preparations to summit Everest via a rarely used route.

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'Swiss machine'

Tributes to Steck have continued to flow in over the past few days, with fellow mountaineers around the world praising his courage and extraordinary skill.

Dubbed the "Swiss Machine" for his daring speed climbs in the Alps, Steck has scaled some of the world's most dangerous peaks, often alone and without safety equipment such as bottled oxygen or fixed ropes. In 2013, he became the first climber to complete a solo ascent of the world's 10th highest mountain, Annapurna. That earned him the "Piolet d'Orn," considered the Oscars of mountaineering.

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This year Steck was attempting another first - charting a rarely climbed route to summit both Everest and Lhotse, the world's fourth highest mountain, all without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Steck was the first casualty in this year's spring mountaineering season in Nepal, which began in March and will end in May.

nm/rt (AFP, dpa)

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