11 August 2022, The Traverse Of The Eiger🇨🇭

Before climbing The Aiguille Verte we are alpinists, afterwards we become mountaineers…

Gaston Rebuffat

For Chris’ 50th birthday, we climbed the Aiguille Verte, 10 years on, he’s back, going strong, and, as mountaineers, we are Eigerbound.

Lost in a sea of cloud, limestone and Eiger…Chris on the Mittellegi Ridge.

There is something about the Eiger that creates a slightly foreboding feeling even approaching it.  Like crossing a bridge with a troll underneath…The Ogre is saying “who is this who dares to approach mighty me!?”  There are certainly plenty of goblin like tunnels to even reach the start of the hut approach…

Chris at the entrance to the goblin tunnels on the South Face of the Eiger

So a certain degree of confidence is required to get off the train at Eismeer, locate the trap door at platform 4 and three quarters, and head out in to the hall of the mountain kings….

Not your normal type of bridge over a crevasse on the approach to the Mittellegi, but hats off to the Grindlewald Guides for maintaining the route!

This reminds me of the answer to the discussion about which is the hardest move on Right WallThe first one.  Like last weeks Eiger post, the route itself is ok, once you have done the training and developed the skill and confidence to actually set off on it!

Chris enjoying the good limestone sport climbing en route to the Mittellegi Hut!

The Mittellegi Hut is a great base camp and very well run at the moment by Mirjam and assistant.  The hut was full, but there was a good ambiance of climbers looking forward to the climb.  The sustained evening pelting from the hail storms only built the anticipation further.  Sure enough the skies were clear the next morning and just before our pre dawn breakfast Chris and I witnessed the remarkable site of the ghost train of Elon Musk’s starlink satellites cruising through the starlit sky.

The Elon Musk Starlink Satellite train crosses over the Oberland with the Shreckhorn below.
Brilliant base camp at Mittellegi Hutte, Photo Chris Wright.

There are not many huts where the action starts so rapidly on leaving the door.  The exposed limestone ridge scrambling kicks off from the gun.  The crampon scratched rock leads the way but the dampness from yesterdays storm had already mainly been dispersed by the relatively warm rock and rolling overnight breezes.

Post dawn fixed rope hauling on the Mittellegi Ridge. Photo Chris Wright

The climbing is a fun combination of ridge scrambling with lots of short limestone pitches and plenty of fixed rope hauling along the way.

Limestone ridge climing and fixed rope hauling. The Mittellegi is direct, but still quite long!

The summit snow ridge has been withered by this summers heat and, for the first time ever, we didn’t use crampons there to access the summit as the snow was avoidable on the south face side of the ridge.

Near the summit of the Eiger with only a few narrow sections of snow ridge remaining on the Mittellegi Ridge
Chris & Rob on the summit of the Eiger – 10 years on from the Aiguille Verte – Happy Birthday Chris!

The South Ridge descent is also of course very dry and thus relatively rapid to negotiate.  Then the grey limestone of the Eiger becomes the red Gneiss of the Eigerjoch and there is more good scrambling and climbing along the way.  For those that have put in the training and are feeling fit and moving well this is enjoyable terrain and provides some great views back to the Mittellegi Ridge and hut behind.

The training has paid off – Chris enjoying the scrambling across the red gneiss of the Eigerjoch with the Eiger beyond. Mittellegi Ridge on the right of the summit.

Enjoyable or not, it’s good to get back on to the snow and crampon along the final fine snow ridge section of the Eigerjoch which leads in to the glacier journey back to the flesh pot of Jungfraujoch.

The last leg of the journey is on snow. First the final ridge of the Eigerjoch and then the glacier return to Jungfraujoch.

Happy 60th Birthday Chris, and well done on completing the traverse of the Eiger in style.

What are we doing for your 70th!?

Happy 60th Chris and good effort on climbing the Eiger in style.

If you’d like help with your journey to the Eiger…or any other mountain, please check out our Alps and UK training courses or get in touch to discuss your own progression and training journey.

We also have the following remaining course places for the remainder of summer and autumn 2022:

Les Piolets – Mittellegi Hutte.

Climb The Eiger 3970m