Friday, April 22, 2011

Eiger North Face

Yesterday myself and Jon Griffith climbed the 38 route on the Eiger. It was great to finally get this done. There've been several times over the last couple years when its been "in", but I’ve always been busy or occupied by other climbing plans over here in Cham.
       However, this time i was starting to feel left out, so we drove over Wednesday evening slept at the Eigerglestcher that night and climbed on Friday.
    In many ways the route was very different to what I’d always expected. Most notably, the quality of the climbing was actually better. Although you hear horror stories about lose rock on the face, apart from the brittle ledges its all pretty solid due to so many ascents. Moves are also very straight forward due to so much cleaning and scratch marks. As for gear, there are belays and pegs everywhere, 60% of which are of course extremely poor and most belays want backing up.
       We made decent progress climbing the route in about 11.40 and managed the round trip in under 14 hours. At first we intended to really go for it and put in a fastish time (as this seems to be the fashionable thing to do on this face), but when we caught up with our friends Adam and Caroline on the ramp, we relaxed a fair bit and made a pretty casual ascent with good banter for most of the rest of the way.
       Best pitch is the waterfall pitch, and best position is the last 3 metres of the Traverse of the Gods.
         As for times, Ueli's and now Dani Arnold's records are mind-boggling. I think with a decent track and good conditions one day ascents will soon become normal. And i can completely see how it could be shaved to the 7-8 hour time bracket for a non-onsite ascent.
  Brilliant route, brilliant history and on a great mountain. Get on it before it melts in a week's time!!

Here's some shots:

Chossy pitch before the Death Bivi.


Waterfall pitch.

Another view of Jon and myself on the waterfall pitch. Credit: Caroline George.

Waterfall pitch.

Above the Brittle crack.
Quartz crack.


  1. Nice one Will, looks like fun.
    Hope you're well and training hard for some alaskan horror show.

  2. Excellent, Top effort! Have a good time in Alaska and stay safe.

    Frankie x