Europe, Switzerland, Berner Oberland - Eiger

The Eiger is a notable mountain in the Swiss Alps, rising to an elevation of 3970 m. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge-crest that extends to the Mönch at 4107 m, and across the Jungfraujoch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m. The three mountains of the ridge are sometimes referred to as the Virgin (German: Jungfrau, lit. "Young Woman" - translates to "Virgin" or "Maiden"), the Monk (Mönch) and the Ogre (Eiger). The name has been linked to the Greek term akros, meaning "sharp" or "pointed", but more commonly to the German eigen, meaning "characteristic".

The Nordwand, German for "north face", is the spectacular north (or, more precisely, north-west) face of the Eiger (also known as the Eigerwand, "Eiger wall"). It is one of the six great north faces of the Alps, towering over 1,800 m above the valley in the Bernese Oberland below.

MFF: On Location #14 - Climbing the Eiger - The Alps

It was first climbed on July 24, 1938 by Anderl Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek of a German–Austrian group. The group had originally consisted of two independent teams; Harrer (who didn't have a pair of crampons on the climb) and Kasparek were joined on the face by Heckmair and Vörg, who had started their ascent a day later and had been helped by the fixed rope that the lead group had left across the "Hinterstoisser Traverse." The two groups, led by the experienced Heckmair, co-operated on the more difficult later pitches, and finished the climb roped together as a single group of four. A portion of the upper face is called "The White Spider", as snow-filled cracks radiating from an ice-field resemble the legs of a spider. Harrer used this name for the title of his book about his successful climb, Die Weisse Spinne (translated into English as The White Spider: The Classic Account of the Ascent of the Eiger). During the first successful ascent, the four men were caught in an avalanche as they climbed the Spider, but all had enough strength to resist being swept off the face.

Subsequently the face has been climbed many times, and today is regarded as a formidable challenge more because of the increased rockfall and diminishing ice-fields than because of its technical difficulties, which are not at the highest level of difficulty in modern alpinism. In summer the face is often unclimbable because of rockfall, and climbers are increasingly electing to climb it in winter, when the crumbling face is strengthened by the hard ice present.

A huge slice of rock has fallen from the Eiger mountain.

Since 1935, sixty climbers have died attempting the north face, earning it the German nickname, Mordwand, or "murder wall", a play on the face's real German name Nordwand.

The major routes on the Eiger are:
West Flank & West Ridge - AD (G4) with III-, 1650m. 6 hours in ascent, 3 to 4hours in descent.
North Face - 1938 Route: ED2 (G14) V-, A0, 60°, 1800m, one to three or more days.
Northeast Face (Lauper)- ED (G12) with V, mostly IV+ and III, 50-55°. 1700m, 15 to 18hours
Mittellegi Ridge - D (G5) with IV & fixed ropes, 4 to 8 hours from Mittellegi Hut
South Ridge - AD, rock to III, 7 to 9 hours in ascent and another 6 to 7 hours in descent

More information about climbing routes could be found here.

Live cams in the area - Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau; Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe; Männlichen; Bahnhof Kleine Scheidegg

Used information, pictures and video from http://en.wikipedia.org/, http://www.summitpost.org/ and http://www.youtube.com/


Europe, Greece, Thessalia - Meteora

There is an area called Thessalia, in the heart of Greece, in which one of the most well-known and best climbing areas of Greece is situated. It is called Meteora, which translated means: the ones that stand, hang alone in the air. The first people who climbed these rocks were shepherds who carried their sheep up to the top to graze to ensure their survival.

The first routes to be climbed were the cracks and chimneys similar to those climbed in the area of Saxony in East Germany. As is the custom a small notebook was left in a metal box on the top of every peak. What is amazing is that on some infrequently climbed towers you can still find the notebooks dating back to the seventies and read the notes of the first climbers. On the first page the major routes of the pillar are denoted, as are the ways to descend (rappels) followed by the names of all those who have reached the top up to the present day.

The type of rock is unique and quite different from other climbing areas of Greece. The rock is mainly pebbles, stones, gravel and frail sandstone.

The ideal weather conditions of Greece permit climbing starting from the spring, late April to middle of June and after the hot Greek summer from September till the end of November. Generally speaking, climbing is possible throughout the whole year.

Climbing in Meteora never ends. There is an unlimited selection of routes. Get yourself familiar with the rock and the way of climbing it, after carefully studying & consulting the climbing guides. Every route has its own beauty and worth.

Some of the most beautiful routes, with many repetitions and in classic style, as given by the Hasse & Stutte guides are the following:
One of the classic routes is in the Holy Ghost «The pillar of Dreams » V+ 250 m. On the Sourloti rock «Hypotenuse» VI 225 meters and « The line of fallen drop» VI 170 meters. On Kelch tower «The eggs dance - Eiertanz» VI- A1 130 meters with the fantastic and breathtaking step across and in Alyssos the " Community Route" VI A2 320M.
On the tower of Bell "Glockenspiel" VI 125m, in Bantova rock "Swiss cheese" VII - and in Doupiani rock " Ostkante VI 125 m. & "Dickes Ende" VII- 145m.
An amazing and well known corner (pictures 20,30,40) is in Holy Ghost «The corner of Madness » VII 180 meters and in the Caucasian tower a classic route "Roussanou End" V+ 160.
If you prefer a little bit of everything (cracks, traverse, steep) go to The Tower of Meteora, at the "DOHLEWAND DIRECT" VI- 145 m route.

Last but not least - It is forbidden to climb to the towers on which Monasteries exist! There are no routes! This was what Dietrich Hasse and his team agreed together with the church authorities back in the 70's and this still applies today.

The map of the area.

Used information and pictures from http://www.planetmountain.com/ and http://picasaweb.google.com/


Quote Of The Day

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

~ John Muir