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Eiger North Wall 

Since a very long time people are fascinated by the myth „Eiger" and its north wall. What is true, what is fiction? The many stories and myths around the Eiger are simply changing...


The Eiger was the first mountain in the Swiss high Alps to receive her name mentioned in a sales certificate - "ad montem qui nominateur Egere."


The Irish leisure alpinist Charles Barrington succeeded on August 11th together with the local alpinists Christian Almer and Peter Bohren to conquer the Eiger via the west side (3970 m).


The English Lucy Walker is the first woman on the Eiger. Her guide was as always Melchior Anderegg from the Bernese Oberland.


Opening of the Eigergletscher Station (2320 m.)


Opening of the Eigerwand Station (2865 m).


Opening of the Eismeer Station (3159 m.)


The Japanese alpinist Yuko Maki (Japans first professional alpinist) conquers together with Fritz Amatter, Fritz Steuri and Samuel Brawand the Mittellegigrat for the first time on September 10th.


First ski ascension on May 18th by the Englishman Arnold Lunn and the Swiss Fritz Amacher, Walter Amstutz and Willy Richardet. Ascend and descend over the Eiger glacier. From northern Eigerjoch (3614 m) the four ascend by foot further over the southern ridge over the mountain top. Construction and inauguration from the by Yuko Maki donated Mittellegi hut (3355 m).


The Germans Willy Beck and Georg Loewinger did a first attempt in climbing the wall in July. They made it till around 2900 meters, 1800 meters high in the wall they got rescued while waiting in the Stollenloch of the Jungfrau railway company.


First, serious clean descent into the North Wall: the Munich Max Sedlmayr and Karl Mehringer ascend on August 21st in a direct route and froze to death in a narrow bivouac on August 25th after being in a storm for days on 3300 meters altitude, this place is now named ‘death bivouac'.


The German Andreas Hinterstoisser and Toni Kurz, the Austrian Willi Angerer and Edi Rainer ascend separately into the wall on July 18th. Though they decided to accompany each other and created a rope traverse (where they are obstructing a way back). They had to return due to bad weather, this is when faith took its horrible turn: three men died  in earshot of the linesmen of the Jungfrau railway company on July 21st. In the morning they tried to rescue Toni Kurz who was still hanging on a rope. He died in front of the eyes of the rescuers. His merciless end is, besides the fall of four alpinists attempting to ascend the Matterhorn for the first time in 1864, the most known tragedy in the alpinist history. In July the canton of Bern banned attempts to conquer the Eiger North Wall. They had to withdraw this ban again after just 4 months due to lawful shortcomings. A movie was made regarding this tragedy and was filmed on Kleine Scheidegg in spring 2007.


The 1st woman in the north wall: Loulou Boulaz from Geneva attempted together with Pierre Bonnant. They had to return reaching 2700 m on July 21st.


First clean ascent of the Eiger North Wall by the German Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Voerg, the Austrian Fritz Kasparek and Heinrich Harrer from 22nd special 21st - 24th July, Heckmair leaded the operation. The ascension was followed from the bottom as well by airplane. The pictures from the Bernese photograph Hans Steiner of the first men who conquered the Wall went around the world, the message of the first ascending as well. The Nazi's took full advantage of this achievement seeing it as an athletic symbol for the alignment of Austria to the German empire. The bestseller "around the Eiger North Wall" was published by the Nazi's.


First successful rescue in the Wall. The Italian Claudio Corti is saved after 9 days in the wall with a steel rope by international volunteers on August 11th. The rescue of his companion Stefano Longhi failed. From the west ridge rescuers heard his last words "fame, freddo!" his body was seen for 2 years as a morbid sensation in the Eiger. First in 1961, with the discovery of the body of the German alpinists Guenther Notdurft and Franz Mayer in the west ridge, poor Corti who was suspected of joint guilt of their disappearance, were recovered. This drama was presented and published in a book named "Corti Drama" with spectacular pictures during its 50th anniversary.


A Dutch publisher sponsored the recovery of Longhi's body by a local guide; in return he wanted to get the exclusive story and tried to ban the air space for other reporter airplanes.


The Swiss Loulou Boulaz tried again to conquer the Eiger North Wall end of July together with three other Swiss. A bad weather break-in made them return from the ramp. The body of Karl Mehringer was found early September on the edge of the 2nd ice field.


Four day try via a direct route during bitter cold January. The German Werner Bittner, Reiner Kauschke, Peter Siegert and Gerd Uhner were sponsored by the German newspaper "Bild". Though, they did not make it to the agreed altitude. Daisy Voog from Munich was the first woman to make it to the top joined by a guide. It is the 51th ascent of the Heckmair-Route.


Dave Knowles was killed by falling rocks while shooting the Hollywood thriller "the Eiger sanction". Chief character Clint Eastwood said: "oh shit - let's get the hell out of here" when seeing the wall up close for the first time.


The first delta flight from the top of the Eiger by the Swiss Juerg Frey in September.


First paraglide flight from the top of the Eiger by the French Pierre Gevaux on September 23rd.


The French Bruno Gouvy surfed with his snow board down from the west ridge on April 29th.


First night rescue out of the Wall on January 31st: an exhausted, bad equipped Swiss alpinist couple was able to radio a helicopter from the Goetterquergang. Even by night time and complicated wind situations the pilots and co-workers succeeded in rescueing them both out of the Wall.


The alpinist association Grindelwald constituted the Eiger-Ostegg-Hut (2320 m ) which holds room for 12 people located on the north east extension of the Mittellegi ridge.


The Swiss Television broadcasted on September 9th and 10th in cooperation with the south west radio "Eiger-North-Wall-Live": backward and forward rolling cameras, two alpinist rope teams (Evelyne Binsack, Stephan Siegrist, Ralf Dujmovits and Hansruedi Gertsch from Grindelwald) were traversing the Heckmair route through the North Wall. This broadcast was a big success and was also communicated on the internet. Eiger- the vertical arena. Worldwide.
Opening of the fixed rope route Rotstock.


In May the alpinist association Grindelwald replaced the old Mittellegi hut with a new, bigger hut holding 24 places. A helicopter flew the old Mittellegi hut in one piece to its new habitat above the Eigergletscher station, which nowadays functions as a museum.


The Eiger North Face is one of the great north faces of the Alps. Being the first to conquer this famous wall was the dream of many a climber from all over Europe. The many tragedies and the successful first ascent are more than reason enough to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this mountaineering milestone! More information on www.eigernorthface.ch

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