The world famous Eiger ! The efforts to make the first ascent of the North Face have become part of climbing legend. However to stand on the summit by any route is no mean feat. We aim to make our ascent via the Mittelegi ridge which is graded AD+. This ridge is extremely narrow, and requires a high degree of competence on rock and snow. As such it is only guided 1:1.
The first 3 days will be spent warming up in the Chamonix area. Our aim is to undertake technical ascents of high mountains to acclimatise you and to check your climbing level before heading over to Grindelwald for the summit phase. Peaks often used in training are:
Tour Ronde South East ridge AD
Dent du Geant AD
Traverse of the Perron AD
The climb to the Mittelegi Hut is also graded AD, so you will have two fantastic days of climbing on the mountain. To begin the climb we will drive to Grindelwald and then take the mountain train to Klein Scheidegg. After changing trains we will head to Eismeer station where we leave the tourists behind and begin our climbing journey. A descent through a long and mysterious tunnel finishes with us emerging onto the South Face of the Eiger and the glacier. After a half hour traverse of the glacier we have a few short pitches of rock climbing (UK Severe grade) on smooth limestone before we follow a faint system of ledges and tracks, eventually leading to the charming Mittelegi Hutte. This excellent refuge was renovated and extended in 2019.
The next morning we get stuck into the Mittelegi ridge. After a 5 minute traverse from the hutte we are climbing on steep limestone. It's a combination of short pitches and moving together over difficult terrain. There are often fixed ropes on the difficult sections and a pair of thin leather gloves will make your life much easier on these. For a while we move along, up, and down, before we hit the main fixed ropes and start heading skyward towards the summit. If conditions are dry then this can be quite rapid, but if conditions are snowy then it will be much slower. Often we can get to within 40 minutes of the summit before we put our crampons on. The final ridge to the summit can be a test of nerves with huge drops either side. This is why we need to know that you're good on your feet !
After summit photos the descent of the South Ridge is next. Downclimbing and lowers soon see us at the North Eiger Joch (col). Once there we traverse another fantastic rocky ridge (AD grade) to reach the South Eiger Joch and the end of the difficulties. An hour over easy glacial terrain finds us at the Monchjoch Hutte, where a pisted track leads us back to the Monchjoch station and the train. Sometimes we will stay at the Hutte and undertake another climb from there the next day.