When I was 20 I stepped down from the yellow La Poste bus on to a completely dark and deserted street in Grindelwald. I tried to scan the featureless sky above and ahead of me to try and make out even the faintest outlines of the mythical mountain but thoughts quickly turned to finding somewhere to bivy for the night. I watched storms roll in from nowhere and broil up in its huge concave face, I went for a walk underneath it and found a bit of climbing shrapnel and got lost in a world of fantasies as to the origin and its eventual demise coming tumbling down this face. But mainly I revelled in the history of it all and marvelled at what kind of a climber it would take to try such a monster.
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The Eiger North Face is one of the classic alpine routes in the world. Long, steep, committing and a story made famous by books like The White Spider and Clint Eastwoods movie the Eiger Sanction, it is a must do climb for many alpinists.
There is much written about the North Face of the Eiger and also some excellent topos available online. I thought however it might be good to share the climbing gear we took with us for a winter ascent. Firstly the route is long.
It is also generally very run out on moderate terrain so if your are not comfortable solo climbing moderate ice, leading M4 with limited protection and in general moving efficiently on a big climb then this is not the route for you.
The crux pitches feel around M and have plenty of fixed gear making them fairly straight forward to climb. We struck the face with good conditions and I could imagine with less ice you would have allot more rock fall. We used 4 out of our five mostly for moving together on easy terrain. All route cruxs are protected with rock protection.
Single 70m Tendon Master Rope 8. Many of the pitches were long and we did find the 70m rope useful for linking some of them. I would personally favour taking a skinny single over one half rope as the rock was quite loose and it would be easy to knock something off and cut a skinner rope. We each took two pairs of leading gloves and one warm belay mitt plus a thin fleece liner glove. I never neede to use the mitts but if it had got colder they would have been handy.
Our temps on route ranged from - minus 15 so quite warm for a winter ascent. We also each carried a belay jacket. Mine being the Macpac Equinox. With this clothing combination i was warm for the whole route including the bivy's.
We did not take bivy bags. We started the climb after lunch and due to a forecast of snow decided to bivy on route and finish the following day before the bad weather came in. We made the decision to not go for a single day push due to the fact that each of us had not climbed much together and it had been awhile since Chaz had done a big alpine route.
Taking the option of a night at the Death Bivvy was really nice. It made for two moderate days of climbing. A fast and light team however would have no problems climbing the route in less than a day in winter if the conditions are good. The Descent.
This is described well in the following route topo. Move fast when you are under this and dont stop moving until you reach the train station. The avalanche path basically went all the way to the bottom of the descent line.
We were bivvied next to the train track for the night and got covered by the powder cloud but were in a safe position. Skip to main content. Single set of camalots. Expedition Reports.
Eiger North Face
H ulking perilously above the village of Grindelwald in Switzerland is the infamous north face of the Eiger. The face - physically the biggest in the alps - also has the biggest reputation. A dizzying m in vertical height, the north face is world famous among climbers and is well known to the general public. It's a magnet for alpinists and tourists alike, some who climb it and many who just gaze up at its magnificent but deadly architecture from the safety of the valley.
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face
The Eiger North Face is one of the classic alpine routes in the world. Long, steep, committing and a story made famous by books like The White Spider and Clint Eastwoods movie the Eiger Sanction, it is a must do climb for many alpinists. There is much written about the North Face of the Eiger and also some excellent topos available online. I thought however it might be good to share the climbing gear we took with us for a winter ascent. Firstly the route is long.
How to Climb the North Face of the Eiger
The north face, considered amongst the most challenging and dangerous ascents, was first climbed in by an Austrian-German expedition. Since , at least sixty-four climbers have died attempting the north face, earning it the German nickname Mordwand , literally "murder ous wall"—a pun on its correct title of Nordwand North Wall. Although the summit of the Eiger can be reached by experienced climbers only, a railway tunnel runs inside the mountain, and two internal stations provide easy access to viewing-windows carved into the rock face. The two stations within the Eiger are Eigerwand behind the north face and Eismeer behind the south face , at around 3, metres. Since the Eigerwand station is not regularly served any more.
Eiger North Face 1938 Route Winter Ascent Beta and Free Topo