/ Eiger North Face

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alpchild004 - on 23 Jun 2012
Hey guys, I'm quite interested in the North Face of the Eiger and would like to know more about and one day actually climb it. Have you climbed it? Has anyone know climbed it? Cheers
Jonathan Lagoe - UKC - on 24 Jun 2012
Indy - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:
Interesting, thanks for that!
Lew13 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004:

Another good read....

http://davesearle.me/tag/eiger-north-face/
Dave Searle - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: I have, what exactly do you want to know?
Mike Nolan - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Dave Searle: Out of interest, what kind of experience did you have before you climbed it? What had you climbed in the Alps, Scotland etc previously?

What did you do to prepare and what do you wish you'd done differently? (For example, more practice moving together on IV terrain etc.)

The UKC article linked above says the climbing isn't much harder than VI - do you agree with that? A lot of multipitch routes in the UK (forgive my lack of alpine experience!) look a lot steeper and scarier in pictures and from a distance than they do when you're actually on them. Did you notice the exposure as much when you were on the face?

Sorry, hijacking the thread with a million questions!:P
Dave Searle - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan: In reply to Mike Nolan: Hi mike, urm....

Well I had done the Colton/McIntyre on the GJ and the giant on the droites but that was the extent of my big face experience. Although I had done a fair amount of D's in the alps.

The only thing that I would have done differently would have been leaving Cham earlier and biving at the bottom of the face rather than in the car! Might of had a chance of climbing it in sub 12 hours then! As suposed to the 24 hours with sleepingbagless bivy on a poor ledge. We felt good and the conditions were very good with a big track.

I think the most important thing is good conditions. I could imagine it to be a total nightmare with lots of snow or lack of ice.

I think the waterfall pitch and maybe one of the pitches in the ramp is VI but might feel harder with let ice. The exposure really sets in on the brittle crack where you have 1000m + of air beneath you as you wobble up th slightly loose rock.

Same old story really the better your feeling and climbing the easier it's going to feel. It was totally different to any route I've done as there is a lot of easy angled stuff which you can just plough up broken with short crux sections that require more care,

Hope thats of some use.

Dave
Goucho on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: I've been on it twice, ist attempt got as far as Death Bivi when horrendous weather and conditions forced us back with tails firmly between legs (the 2nd icefield was the biggest piece of rotten choss I've ever climbed)

2nd attempt, got as far as the Brittle Ledges (including the obligatory drenching on the waterfall pitch), when history repeated itself, and in the worst storm and conditions I have ever experienced, had a classic 3 day Eiger epic getting back down - and only just!!!

Never had any intentions of going back for a third kicking :-)

Prior to going on it, I'd done the Walker on GJ, Bonnati Pillar, American Direct and North Face of the Dru, NF Droites, Bonnati Gobi & Cechinnel Nominne on the Grand Pillar D' Angle, Matterhorn NF & Freney Pillar amongst many others.

In those days, we were doing it in summer, but nowadays I think that's out of the question, and all ascents are usually made in winter, which may put a completely different slant on things, so my experiences of the face may be no longer relevant.

It was though, without doubt, the most unpleasant face I've ever been on, and I'd give it an enjoyment factor of -1000 :-)


Simon4 - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Goucho:

> It was though, without doubt, the most unpleasant face I've ever been on, and I'd give it an enjoyment factor of -1000 :-)

Its funny, even when I was going well enough to think about that sort of route (though much less hard/serious), it never appealed to me. Its an evil looking thing, seems to radiate palpable menace, while not being the slightest bit attractive as a mountain.

Don't get me wrong, I admire and respect those who are good and bold enough to go for it, but I still struggle to see the appeal compared with, say, the North face of the Matterhorn, history aside that is.
Goucho on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Goucho: And I meant to add to the last line of my post - a sphincter twitching factor of +1000
Goucho on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Simon4: The best way I can describe being on it, is that you feel like you are being constantly 'hunted'
Al Randall on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: The face is the most intimidating place I have ever been but then we did get caught in storm that had not been forecast which forced us to retreat in atrocious conditions. I had also read all the books and at that time climbers were still dying on it on a regular basis. I get the feeling that done in winter it is far less serious than it used to be in summer. Prior to climbing this, well perhaps I should say attempting I have failed twice, I had climbed all of the other great north faces apart from the Cassin route on the Badile.

Al
rocksol - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004:
All of the comments listed are valid. As Dougal Haston famously said, "nothing harder than grade 5 said the man who,d never been" It,s scary dangerous and conditions can vary tremendously.
Mind you it was in 1975 I did it without a bivvi bag or proper rucsack [homemade item] & a home bent axe cut down from a longer straight picked one. We had 2 goes in 2 weeks due to horrific stonefall & poor conditions. It was my 1st mixed route in the Alps, having previously done the Comici on the Cima Grande. So at the time, being a caver I was quite chuffed!
pawelx - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: out of interest, not that I ever plan to climb the route, but how heavy are the backpacks that people normally climb with? I look at the list of gear in the article http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3652 and it seems like all this stuff would easily fill a 45 liter backpack (per person)? Are we talking about 15+kgs of extra weight when climbing those grade 6 cruxes? Amazing..

And how do people stay hydrated on the route?
Lew13 - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to pawelx:

I'd hazard a guess, melting snow like you do on all other relatively big alpine routes. Then again it depends whether your doing it in one push or bivvying!
a lakeland climber on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to pawelx:

I think Jack did the route in winter so would need big sleeping bags and the warm clothing - summer ascents (very rare these days I would have thought) or spring/autumn ascents would need much less kit. By the time you take out the climbing kit there probably is less than 5Kgs in the sack when climbing. For non-winter ascents you could probably get away with a 35 litre sack.

Hydration: easiest thing to do is to have a length of plastic tube (a bit of platypus/camelbak tubing will do) in your jacket pocket. When you come to a trickle or pool of melt-water, just use the tube to drink it.

ALC
Pete Graham - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:

> Hydration: easiest thing to do is to have a length of plastic tube (a bit of platypus/camelbak tubing will do) in your jacket pocket. When you come to a trickle or pool of melt-water, just use the tube to drink it.
>

This is BS. If there's trickles and pools of water it's too hot and you probably won't want to be on the route.

a lakeland climber on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to Pete Graham:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
>
> [...]
>
> This is BS. If there's trickles and pools of water it's too hot and you probably won't want to be on the route.

Afraid not young Peter. Virtually no stonefall and a reasonable amount of free running water, though it was frozen up in the mornings. This was a late summer ascent.


ALC

Enty - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Pete Graham)
> [...]
>
> Afraid not young Peter. Virtually no stonefall and a reasonable amount of free running water, though it was frozen up in the mornings. This was a late summer ascent.
>
>
> ALC

Like ^^^^

E
Pete Graham - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber: Fair enough. Don't think many people are daft enough to climb it in late summer these days. I personally wouldn't like to climb the eiger with running water and puddles. Reckon it must be a pretty small margin in temperature between being warm enough for running water and cold enough to stop rock fall.
a lakeland climber on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to Pete Graham:

There doesn't have to be much to be useful. The face does get sun from about 4pm onwards and the dark rock heats up a bit and you get a few trickles here and there. Can't remember puddles, certainly not on the Eiger, but on other routes I've come across small pockets of water in the rock that have been useful.

ALC
Rick Graham on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:

The sun hits the third icefield about 1 pm in July. Get across before 1.10 at your peril.
All the Eiger literature I've read stresses the importance of being in the right place at the right time. This applies to most other alpine routes as well particularly in summer.

Top tip about the drinking tube, even muddy pools will run clear after a couple of minutes.

ALC. Did you include your name on the list last year ?

Rick
Dave Searle - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: We filled our water bottles up on the traverse of the gods at 4pm in April.
Goucho on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to rocksol: I would have thought being a caver at the time Phil, was the perfect background for a summer ascent of the Eiger :-)
paddy cave - on 29 Jun 2012
In reply to Pete Graham:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
>
> [...]
>
> This is BS. If there's trickles and pools of water it's too hot and you probably won't want to be on the route.


Don't think it is BS... A straw or tube is a good idea, I had a welcome drink also at the end of the Traverse of the Gods, a straw would have been great! This was in April and we saw only a single rock fall the whole time we were on the route...

If running water is re-freezing at night then it may not mean the conditions are bad, it may well be helping some good ice build up..

Paddy

alpchild004 - on 30 Jun 2012
In reply to alpchild004: cheers guys thanks fro letting me know this is a real help
Tom G - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to alpchild004:

http://www.climbing.ie/exped/eiger/eiger.html

Good article from 15 years ago
ads.ukclimbing.com
the beekeeper - on 14 Jul 2012
In reply to paddy cave:

plastic tube saved our asses on an otherwise frozen and in-nick frendo spur. we were getting slower with every pitch due to dehydration.

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