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Eiger Ascent

Thanks to its formidable North Wall, the Eiger (Ogre) is a world-famous summit and one of the alpine ‘big three’ alongside the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Forming the left edge of the North Face, the Mittellegi Ridge rises in imposing steps and towers to a knife-edge snow crest leading to the summit.

Level 3 Guiding & Coaching

5 or 6 days

Ratio: 1:1

Prerequisites: Classic AlpinISM (Instructional Course) Or equivalent

Price: Call

More technical than the Matterhorn even with sections of fixed rope, it was the last of the great Oberland ridges to be climbed (1921).

All routes on the Eiger are demanding and serious. The most popular is a traverse of the peak via the Mittellegi Ridge, descending by the South Ridge to Jungfraujoch. This is normally the route we follow, but if conditions favour the South Ridge we are happy to change plans.

With stronger rock climbers who take a 6-day block of 1:1 guiding for the Eiger, we are prepared to climb the peak via the Mittellegi Integrale. The 'Integrale' is one of the longest and finest expeditions of its standard in the Alps, involving around 8000ft of ascent from the tiny hamlet of Alpiglen to the summit over 3 days. We can attempt this with people who are confident following Hard Very Severe (American 5.8, alpine grade V+) on rock. The most technical sections of this are climbed in rock shoes.

By climbing on a 1:1 ratio, and keeping the programme flexible to take account of the weather, conditions, and the individual training/preparation needed, we will give you the best possible chance of success on the Eiger and a great climbing week in the process.

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In addition to the Eiger traverse, the 5-day course will include a training climb and at least one other technical route / peak in the area.

When to attempt the climb

The traditional 'high season' for the Eiger is mid-July till the end of August. Recent hot summers have greatly extended this and at the same time made weather patterns generally less predictable.

We can arrange an Eiger Ascent course any week from the beginning of July 'til mid-September.

Is This Course For Me?

Anyone wanting to climb the Eiger by the Mittellegi should have alpine climbing experience and ability to climb at Severe standard (Alpine grade IV, American 5.6) in mountain boots and wearing a rucksack. Competence in rope work and abseiling (rappelling) in essential, as is experience with ice axe and crampons. Fitness and stamina are obviously important, especially for those with ambitions to climb the Mittellegi Integrale.

Training for the Eiger

Both North Wales and the Lake District have suitable terrain for training for an Eiger ascent. Anyone who thinks they would benefit from this, or who is not completely confident in their climbing skills/fitness, should contact us (see Climbing Courses UK). We are able to provide this training from October to June inclusive, and find that two or three brief sessions properly spaced are most effective (with time to work on specific fitness training in between).

Note on costs
We charge for this course on a personal guiding basis. Please contact the ISM office for our private guiding rates and for more information.

Course Description

Possible routes include the following:

  • Monch (4099m) SW Ridge (AD). The classic traverse of the Monch from Jungfraujoch, an excellent mixed ridge.
  • Monch NE Ridge (AD) or NE Face (D+). Both these routes give good sustained ice climbing on the 'quiet' side of the peak.
  • Gross Fiescherhorn (4048m) has a classic NW Ridge (AD) and more technical lines on its W Face.
  • Trugberg (3932m) The full N-S traverse of this peak is a long, challenging route of sustained interest (AD/AD+).
  • Jungfrau (4158m) PD+, the classic ascent of the SE Ridge.
Sample Programme

On this course we have more of a 'strategy for success' than a day-to-day itinerary.

Sunday evening
The course starts with participants and guides meeting at 6.45pm at Le Grand Chalet hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for the guides find out as much as possible about your climbing experience, brief you thoroughly on the plan for the course, sort out any particular equipment requirements and for you to ask any questions that you may have!

Monday to Friday
After breakfast we start by checking and issuing any personal climbing equipment you may need. We then drive through the Saanental to the north side of the Bernese Oberland. If weather and conditions are right for the Mittellegi, and we feel that you are properly prepared, we will take the Jungfraujoch train straight to Eismeer and ascend to the Mittellegi Hut, going for the Mittellegi Ridge on the Tuesday.

If the weather forecast is better for the latter part of the week we take the train to Jungfraujoch and begin by climbing one of the routes listed above (taking the train back down to Eismeer when we are ready for the Mittellegi climb).

If the Eiger is too snowy for the Mittellegi, it may still be possible to climb it by the South Ridge (an equally fine route). In this case we take the train to Jungfraujoch and operate from the Monchsjoch hut. Finally, if our plan is to attempt the Mittellegi Integrale, we take the train for just one stop up to Alpiglen then climb up to the Ostegg bivouac hut to begin our climb.

Whichever plan we follow, our goal is the summit of the Eiger and we will do our very best to get you there!

Course Dates

Please call +44 1539 721561 for availability