E I G E R . W E S T F A C E .
P R O L O G
In 2015, I wrote to a colleague if he would have time for a tour on the weekend. He told me since he had already planned something, but did not want to reveal exactly what. The following day he sent me a GoPro photo which showed him from above with a huge panorama, including the signature: Eiger. When I asked him, what it was like, he said, exciting in the the upper part he was mostly on the frontal peaks of the crampons. It had been quite adventurous, but he had been more excited about the crazy ski tourists who had come to meet him on the descent ... I was not sure what I thought was more crazy. Alone on the Eiger or the ski tourers.
Four years later, skiing on the Eiger West flank with ski is high on my list, after many ski tours and alpine adventures, the tour seems far less crazy than in 2015. I am convinced that, given the right conditions, an ascent with skis In spring, is the safest way to climb this proud mountain.
P R E P A R A T I O N S
In addition to studying the route (which is clear in this case), it is always about getting the current conditions in experience. Once again, Instagram proves useful here. After heavy snowfall, I had already set out on April 13, knowing that the weather window would be small. In the end, it was not right for me, so I only went up to 2800m and drove off the lower part. Upstairs, the flank still looked horrible, but a colleague told me that an ascent is currently well possible.
E A S T E R . . .
The Easter weekend is well known to be the quietest in the high mountains of the Bernese Alps, but significantly fewer alpinists get lost in the Eiger west flank than at Konkordiaplatz and Co. The best conditions, therefore, should fit only the weather. The weather forecast promised a mostly clear night with clouds in the morning and clearing up in the course of the morning.
L E T S . G O .
After a cozy night in Grindelwald Grund we waddle at 07:15 towards the train station. In the midst of the high tourists, we get hold of a place and leave the fairground at 08:05 clock at the station Eiger Glacier at 2320m. The clouds are still thick over the Eiger summit, but the view is clear above the Seracs.
At 08:15 we make our way and with crampons we make rapid progress. Past the Rotstock, the route here turns right and now in direct fall line of the Seracs up. A 5x5 m block is threatening and makes your legs faster.
After 1:15 h we made the crossing under the glacier, a true relief. It is still steep, about 45 degrees and only with the aid of the crampons is a climb with skis still possible. At 3200m we change our skis against crampons and thanks to a good track we get ahead quickly. Above the glacier, we pull to the left and pull up a steeper Colouir.
At 3500m, the snow is much less, and after a brief reflection, we make our ski depot. Now the Iceaxes are used. The track is mostly good up to 3700m, but over and over again the smooth, down-layered slabs come to the fore and require a careful climb. At least now it is clear why in each guide the rock formations of the Eiger are described as unpleasant to climb. In addition, we are in the midst of a cloud, the atmosphere is accordingly great with menacing touch. Most people seek vainly for grips, the pimple rarely stops because there is not enough snow available. The last 100hm are extremely difficult for me, my colleague has less trouble there. Nevertheless, we make good progress and just before the summit, the sun actually breaks through the clouds.
It's like a dream come true. The last steps to the summit are just incredible. I see the pictures in front of me as Ueli Steck rams his 2 ice picks into the snow after his record through the north face. The mood is great, and the clouds reveal the view of the fantastic mountains again and again. It is calm and due to the clouds we are in no hurry.
After an extensive summit rest we pack our stuff together and make our descent. The first 100 vm in descent are a nightmare. Due to lack of snow we strive with the crampons down the western flank, which resembles a scree. Again and again stones come rolling and disappear in the gray nothing. At 3700m, the snow is better and we can soon find our skis in the fog. Finally, it can be skied, without a panorama but quite sufficient visibility. At first I slide down timidly, but the hard snow is grippy, no bare ice and I go quickly into swinging.
Due to the clouds, a sprouting has not taken place, so we keep close to the west flank to avoid the ravine further west. At the height of the Seracs, we still enjoy the finest springtime snow and so we pull our bows down to the Eigergletscher station.
The subsequent descent to Grindelwald is then spring skiing at its finest, only from Bäregg it is pure waterskiing. After 1650hm ascent, 3030m downhill and 20km we unbuckle the skis and look back to the Eiger one last time. Thank you very much, it flits over my lips, you should treat every mountain with respect.
2x Petzl Gully