Before climbing The Aiguille Verte we are alpinists, afterwards we become mountaineers…
For Chris’ 50th birthday, we climbed the Aiguille Verte, 10 years on, he’s back, going strong, and, as mountaineers, we are Eigerbound.
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…
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….
This reminds me of the answer to the discussion about which is the hardest move on Right Wall? The 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!
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.
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.
The climbing is a fun combination of ridge scrambling with lots of short limestone pitches and plenty of fixed rope hauling along the way.
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.
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.
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.
Happy 60th Birthday Chris, and well done on completing the traverse of the Eiger in style.
What are we doing for your 70th!?
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:
- 1 place – Matterhorn Training & Chamonix High Alpine Rock – Late Aug 2022
- 2 places – Climb The Weissmies 4017m 🇨🇭 September 2022
- 1 place – Climb Mont Blanc 🇫🇷 & Weissmies 🇨🇭 September 2022
- 2 places on our Becoming An Alpinist course, 19-23 September in Chamonix
- 3 places – Climb Gran Paradiso 🇮🇹 Late September 2022
- 2 places – Climb Gran Paradiso 🇮🇹 Early October 2022
- 2 places – Climb Mont Blanc 🇫🇷 Early October 2022