70th Anniversary of First Ascent on the Eiger North Face


Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, perhaps the most iconic of all the European big walls. Back in 1938, the Eiger was a daunting foe that had already claimed many lives, and it took meticulous planning and incredible skill to assail it’s face. Three days after setting out, Anderl Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek eventually stood on the summit, triumphant at last.

This is in stark contrast to today, where better equipment, refined techniques, and known routes have allowed Ueli Steck to speed climb the Eiger in just 2 hours, 47 minutes and change. The Eiger remains a daunting rite of passage for many european climbers, and it’s North Face has inspired many young climbers over the years.

Writer and photographer Jo Adams has written a great piece on the mountain to commemorate this 70th Anniversary. The article, hosted at RacingandSports.com.au takes an in depth look at the history of the Eiger and the challenges that needed to be overcome on the North Face to allow four men to put up the first ascent. This is definitely a must read for fans of the mountain and those that know some of the epic tales that have taken place in it’s shadow.

3 thoughts on “70th Anniversary of First Ascent on the Eiger North Face”

  1. This 70th. anniversary of the first ascent of the north face brings back wonderful memories . I was at boarding school in Berkshire when those four German soldiers, absent without leave, completed that first ascent. I had just been to see the Eiger from Grindelwald and was thrilled to read of the climb in the Illustrated London News. But 2hours now ? Impossible !

  2. Yep. It’s hard to believe how fast these speed climbers can go up these days. Of course, their gear, training, and understanding of the mountain is light years better than those first climbers, for whom it was all pretty much new.

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