Switzerland, Europe

Eiger Climber

The Eiger whose name means Ogre needs little introduction. Famed for its fearsome north wall, it is one of the most recognized peaks in the world. An ascent of this legendary peak by the Mittellegi Ridge or the South Ridge is one of the finest expeditions of its standard in the Alps and is on the list of every aspiring alpinist. Our tried and tested program managed by our own IFMGA guides gives you the highest chances of success.

The Eiger, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are considered to be the ‘big 3’ of the Alps, so climbing the Eiger by any route is an important milestone for alpinists. The notoriety of the peak is largely thanks to the monstrous 2000m North Face. The epic battles which have taken place on the Nordwand - a 2,000m wall of near vertical rock are well documented in mountaineering literature and have guaranteed the Eiger a place in history.

All the routes to the summit are demanding and serious, requiring exacting technique and a well-planned approach.  Our favoured route, which is the most aesthetic, is to traverse the peak via the Mittellegi Ridge and descend via the South ridge. However, in certain conditions, we would opt to both ascend and descend via the South ridge. The Mittellegi Ridge occupies the left edge of the North Face and rises in steep and imposing steps to cumulate in a fine and sharp snow crest leading to the summit. The route is considered more difficult than the Hornli Ridge on the Matterhorn and was the last of the great ridges of the Oberland to be climbed in 1921.

Our course starts and ends in the classic alpine centre of Grindelwald, which is in the heart of the Swiss Bernese Oberland. Throughout the week, in addition to the Eiger, we climb a number of other magnificent peaks in the area, notably the Monch, Jungfrau and Gross Grunhorn. 

Conditions on the Eiger can be changeable from day to day, our itinerary has been carefully put together to allow the flexibility required for this summit. 

How difficult is the Eiger?

Both the Mittellegi Ridge and the South Ridge are graded AD and principally climbed on rock. The descent of the peak is long and challenging in its own right. So this is a route for experienced alpinists only. You should be able to climb rock in big boots at a grade of 3 and 4+ (UIAA). There are long easier sections of climbing so you should be able to travel confidently and fluidly on narrow ridge crests. Recent rock climbing and/or scrambling experience is essential, plus a structured fitness plan before you arrive. This will make the trip safer and considerably more enjoyable.

If you feel you need extra training before your Eiger attempt, we offer additional training days both in the Alps and the UK.

What is the standard of accommodation?

When in Grindelwald we use a good quality hotel, the rest of the week is based in mountain huts. The huts are run by full-time staff that looks after us on a half-board basis, the cooking is hearty homemade food. Water, beer, wine and a picnic lunch is available at extra cost. The sleeping quarters are communal.

The Eiger whose name means Ogre needs little introduction. Famed for its fearsome north
wall, it is one of the most recognised peaks in the world. An ascent of this legendary peak
by the Mittellegi Ridge or the South Ridge is one of the finest expeditions of its standard
in the Alps and is on the list of every aspiring alpinist. Our tried and tested program
managed by our own IFMGA guides gives you the highest chances of success.
The Eiger, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are considered to be the ‘big 3’ of the Alps, so
climbing the Eiger by any route is an important milestone for alpinists. The notoriety of the
peak is largely thanks to the monstrous 2000m North Face. The epic battles which have
taken place on the Nordwand - a 2,000m wall of near vertical rock are well documented in
mountaineering literature and have guaranteed the Eiger a place in history.
All the routes to the summit are demanding and serious, requiring exacting technique and a
well planned approach. Our favoured route, which is the most aesthetic, is to traverse the
peak via the Mittellegi Ridge and descend via the South ridge. However in certain conditions
we would opt to both ascend and descend via the South ridge. The Mittellegi Ridege
occupies the left edge of the North Face and rises in steep and imposing steps to cumulate
in a fine and sharp snow crest leading to the summit. The route is considered more difficult
than the Hornli Ridge on the Matterhorn and was the last of the great ridges of the
Oberland to be climbed in 1921.
Our course starts and ends in the classic alpine centre of Grindelwald, which is in the heart
of the Swiss Bernese Oberland. Throughout the week, in addition to the Eiger, we climb a
number of other magnificent peaks in the area, notably the Monch, Jungfrau and Gross
Grunhorn. For the full six days we use a 1:1 guiding ratio; this ensures we give the correct
technical training and care and to maximise your chances on this incredible challenge.

Day Itinerary

  • Arrival

    Travel to Grindelwald to arrive at our comfortable partner hotel for the 7pm welcome meeting and briefing. There will be a kit check including the option to rent equipment.

  • Classic peaks of the Oberland

    Using the Konkordia, Finsteraarhorn and Monchjoch huts we enjoy 3 days of classic mountaineering while maintaining a flexible approach. The serves as acclimatisation and training as well as some magnificent climbing.

    The principal summits are:

    Monch (4107m)
    Jungfrau (4158m)
    Gross Grunhorn (4044).
  • Ascent of the Eiger

    We start from either the Mittellegi hut (Mittellegi Ridge) or from the Monchjoch hut (South Ridge). Either way an alpine early start is needed, the typical climbing time for the round trip is 9-10 hours. After the ascent we descend the Jungfrau mountain railway back to Grindelwald.

     

  • Depart after breakfast

Classic Routes if the Oberland

Gross Grünhorn 4044m
The most climbed route is the normal route from the Konkordia hut over the Grünegghorn. The route goes over glaciers, snow and rock up to the final summit ridge of the Gross Grünhorn. The route is graded II or PD+. If the circumstances don’t permit fast climbing there is always the possibility to limit the climb to the Grünegghorn which is a nice goal in itself. The view from the top is one of the best in the range due to its central location.
Finsteraarhorn 4274m

The Finsteraarhorn is the highest mountain in the Bernese Oberland, and is located central in the range. The peak is one of the most remote in the Alps, the nearest road being at least 2 days away. The normal route climbs the South West Flank and North West Ridge and is graded PD. The climb starts on the steep snow slope behind the Finsteraarhorn hut (3048m) and crosses the wide face from right to left. The summit ridge is an airy climb on mixed ground. In total there is 1200m of ascent which takes 5-6 hours.

Mönch 4107m

The Monch is the central peak in the famous trilogy ‘Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau’, and due to easy access is also the most popular. The Southeast Ridge is considered the normal route and is graded PD. This route, while never severe, includes some very exposed ridge climbing both on snow and on the fine gneissic rock which makes up the core of the Oberland. There is 500m of vertical ascent which takes around 3 hours.

The Jungfrau 4158m
The Jungfrau is one of the most well known mountains in Switzerland. The Ordinary route to the summit is graded PD +. There are passages of snow and ice up to 40° - 50°. The ascent involves 850m elevation gain and takes approx 4 hrs. Starting out before daylight, the route crosses the Jungfraufirn, and climbs steep mixed snow and rock to the Rottalsattel, at the base of the summit tower. From here, there is a traverse across a steep snow and ice slope which leads to the easy but somewhat airy rock of the summit ridge.

2019

Dates

Price

Sat 03 Aug
- Sat 10 Aug
£2995 Full
Sat 17 Aug
- Sat 24 Aug
£2995 Book

2020

Dates

Price

Sat 01 Aug
- Sat 08 Aug
£2995 Book
Sat 15 Aug
- Sat 22 Aug
£2995 Book

All prices for 2020 are Early Bird prices. Book early to keep the low price for your trip!

The price includes guiding fees and expenses, b&b hotel accommodation (twin share) and half board accommodation in mountain huts.

The price excludes travel to and from the Alps, evening meals in the valley, lunches, beverages, local transfers and uplift costs.

The guiding ratio is 1:2 for the first 4 climbing days and then 1:1 for the 2 days for the Eiger. 

Single room occupancy in the hotel in Interlaken will incur additional charges. Contact us for details.

The price for private guiding (1:1 for 6 days): £3,795.

On our Eiger week, you will use Jungfrau railway to get up into the mountains and return the same way. The return ticket costs about £150 per person. This is not included in the price and needs to be paid for locally in Swiss Francs.

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This list contains our recommended clothing and equipment for our Eiger Climber week.

In the summer months, the days generally start very cold and warm up during the morning to become hot in the afternoon. It is therefore essential that you have 2-3 thin layers that you are able to put on/take off as the conditions change. Thin layers also allow better movement as opposed to one layer of bulky clothing.

If you are uncertain what to bring with you or need further information, please contact us.

  • Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long sleeved is best, wool base layers form Smartwool or Icebreaker are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. For your legs a couple of pairs of long or ¾ length bottoms are best.

    Mid-layer fleece tops – a couple of fleece type jacket or tops that can be worn between your base layer and outer layers. The “Layering” approach offers the best heat retention and flexibility in warm and cold weather.

    Insulation Layer - a down or primalotf jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.

    Lightweight softshell type trousers - you want to wear a lightweight softshell or similar material on your legs, these types of trouser offer good protection from snow/ice as well as abrasion on rock and are comfortable to move in.

    Walking shorts or pair of trousers with zip-off legs. Useful for walk-ins to huts on hot days.

    Gore-Tex Jacket - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jacket. Best to have a lightweight jacket that can be worn in the event of wet or windy weather but is packable enough to fit in your rucksack. Your insulated ski jacket will be overkill and too hot and bulky.

    Gore-Tex Pants - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable trousers. Lightweight is important plus side zips for putting on over your boots and crampons. Used in cold, wet and windy weather.

    Sun hat and warm hat – bring a wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap plus a warm beanie style hat.

    Light, thin gloves – a thin pair of fleece or softshell gloves for warm weather are a must.

    Insulated gloves - You need to have a pair of waterproof warm gloves to wear on cold days.

    Gaiters – these are useful to wear to keep snow out of your boots.

    Socks - 3-4 pairs of medium weight socks usually mid-calf length is good.

  • There are 2 grades of boots for alpine trekking and mountaineering: B1 and B2

    • B1 boots are usually lightweight boots offering more flexibility when walking and are usually suitable only for trekking, easy glacier walking and Via Ferrata trips.

    • B2 boots are semi-rigid boots that are the best option for summer alpine mountaineering trips. There are leather and plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof.

    B2 boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.

    Key features of a good alpine boot include Vibram soles, a reversed leather upper (which protect the best side of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.

    Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which needs to be well worn-in prior to your trip.

    Alpine huts supply hut slippers so that you don't need to take any other footwear apart from your boots. Boots are not allowed in the dining room or dormitories and must be left in the foyer.

  • These items are essential for all alpine mountaineering courses

    All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sport shops in the Alps.

    • Climbing helmet
    • Ice Axe - General mountaineering / alpine pick 55-70cms long depending on your height.
    • Boot crampons - with anti-balling plates.
    • Climbing Harness – adjustable leg loops are useful for easy of putting on over your boots.
    • Adjustable trekking pole(s)

  • Rucksack - A simple and lightweight pack with a capacity of between 35-45 liters is recommended. You need to have one loop for carrying an ice axe on your rucksack.

    Lightweight sleeping bag liner – a silk or cotton sleeping bag liner is now compulsory in all mountain huts.

    Water bottle or Thermos – a water bottle or hydration system is needed.

    Head torch with spare batteries

    Penknife

    Personal first Aid Kit - Should contain:

    Plasters – of various sizes and possibly some adhesive wound dressings.

    Pain Killers – aspirin or Paracetamol/Nurofen

    Antiseptic cream or wipes

    Blister kit – compeed and elastic tape to hold it in place (essential)!

    (Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)

    Whistle

    Sun Glasses - minimum category 3.

    Ski Goggles – these can be very useful if you encounter strong winds and poor weather.

    Sunscreen and Lip Protection

    Ear Plugs - For noisy huts!!

    Camera

    Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.

    Passport

    Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are some ATMs and most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards, but most huts still accept cash only. You should allow about 30-40 Swiss Francs or 25-35 Euros per day for lunch and drinks (amount approximate and depends on consumption).

    Toiletries – Should contain:

    Toothbrush and paste - a mini one is ideal

    Soap

    Anti-bacterial hand cleaner

    Wet wipes – essential to try to maintain hygiene

    Tissues and toilet roll

    Small light quick dry towel e.g. a Lifeventure Soft fiber towel

    (Any other essentials you need but remember there are no shower facilities and generally no running water in the huts and you have to carry everything with you!)

    Alpine club card - If you're a member.

    Book, pack of cards and or Ipod/MP3 player – It’s nice to have something to read or listen to when you are in the huts or to challenge your fellow travelers to a game of card. These items are not essential but if you have space you might appreciate them.

  • It is possible to hire boots and the technical items needed for the Mont Blanc Climber week in Chamonix and guideline prices for 6 days hire are:

    Mountaineering boots €55
    Ice Axe €30
    Boot crampons €35
    Harness €15
    Helmet €15

    If you wish to hire any technical kit please contact us in advance with your requirements.

Matterhorn August 2016 5

Switzerland

View map

Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country consisting of 26 Cantons, with Bern as its main federal city.  

It is boarded by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.  Its a landlocked country with the mountainous regions occupying a greater part of its territory.  

Home to around 8 million people (2013) the country has many pretty villages, lakes and mountains.  The highest mountain in Switzerland is the Monterosa (specifically the Dufourspitze) at 4,634m.  The country has the highest concentration of 4000m peaks at 48.

Its 2 largest cities of Zurich and Geneva are global economic centres and gateways to the Alps from countries across the world. 

Its main languages are French, German, Italian and Romansh.

  • It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
     

  • Interlaken has good rail connections from the main airports of Geneva, Zurich and Basel.
    The approximate transfer times are:
    From Geneva airport: 3 hours (usually involves 2 changes)
    From Zurich airport: 2 hours and 15 minutes (usually involves just 1 change)
    From Basel airport: 3 hours (usually involves at least 2 changes including bus from the airport to the train station)
  • All our mountaineering trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.

  • We run this trip with maximum group size of 4. The preparation and acclimatization days are guided on a 1:2 ratio.

    The 2 days on the Eiger are climbed on a 1:1 ratio.

  • Interlaken has lots of hotels and guesthouses. Our preferred guesthouse is the Rugenpark B&B. This is a small but very comfortable and friendly hotel located close to the centre of town. The owners, Chris and Ursula, are excellent hosts. You'll stay here on your first and last nights of the trip. For the rest of the week you'll be staying in traditional alpine mountain huts. In the huts breakfast and evening meals are included and are generally nourishing and plentiful. Vegetarians can be catered for although in most huts there is usually only 1 menu option.
  • The Alps generally have a very pleasant climate throughout the spring, summer and autumn with warm days and cool nights, with daytime temperatures in the valley around 25 - 30°C. At high altitude the temperature often goes down below -10 and can feel even colder with wind chill.

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