Climb The Eiger 3970m

The colourful history of the Eiger brings this mountain, like few others, in to the popular domain and
means it is both famous and notorious not just with mountaineers but with the public at large. A lot of the Eiger’s fame comes from its enormous, steep and imposing north face, the Eigerwand. Less well know but equally of high interest and greater accessibility to the mountaineer are the Eiger’s fine summit ridges. Our 5 day Climb The Eiger course warms up with 2 training climbs in Chamonix before heading East for an adventure in the Bernese Oberland, the mountain range in the Swiss Valais Alps with the Eiger at its heart…

2019 Climb The Eiger Dates & Prices

Climb the Eiger North Face

Latest Eiger Conditions

Course Aims

  • Climb two of the classic ridges on the Eiger and thus make a fine traverse of the mountain
  • Warm up with two classic alpine climbs based in the Chamonix Valley
  • Climb a famous 4000m peak of the Swiss Bernese Oberland, like the Jungfrau or Monch
  • As the approach to the Mittelegi Hut is an alpine climb itself we aim to climb 5 alpine routes in 5 days
The traverse of the Eiger…Mittellegi Hut on the ridge lower right and then the rocky Mittellegi crest leads to summit before the South Ridge descent to Eigerjoch and continuing technical terrain to reach the glacier and weary journey to Monchjoch Hut!

5 Day Climb The Eiger Itinerary

This is a suggested itinerary based on good weather. It may be necessary to change the programme to make best use of local mountain conditions.

Pre-Course fitness & mountaineering training and then, if you have the time, some training and acclimatisation in the hills above Chamonix for a few days before the course starts. We can offer advice on how to get the most out of these pre-course elements & please see our UK Matterhorn training weekend courses for adding another great element to your build up.

The technical rock section on the approach to the Mittellegi Hut. Easier if there is high snow volume on the glacier!
  • Days 1 & 2: Complete two training & acclimatisation climbs based in the Chamonix Valley. The exact climbs will be decided close to the time according to weather & conditions and based on your experience and aspirations. These climbs will include steep rock, ice and snow to prepare for the terrain on the traverse of the Eiger. Examples are the Aiguille du Peigne (3009m) in the Chamonix Aiguilles, Left Edge Route on Mont Blanc du Tacul and many other Chamonix classics. Check our Chamonix Mountaineering Gallery for more information.
Cloud spills over the Mittellegi Ridge on the Eiger with the North Face shrouded in mist and the South Face completely clear.
  • Days 3 & 4: The Ascent of the Eiger. An early start for the drive to Grindlewald which is followed by the spectacular train ride up the Jungfraujoch railway. We disembark at a tiny station in the bowels of the Eiger and make our way along the technical ascent up to the spectacularly positioned Mittelegi Hut. After an evening of relaxing Swiss hospitality we make an early start next morning to climb the Mittelegi Ridge and descend the South Ridge to the Monchsjoch Hut. A long day! If conditions are snowy we may opt to climb the South Ridge instead.
During a traverse of the Eiger via an ascent of the Mittellegi Ridge and descent of the South Ridge.
  • Day 5: Climb the Monch, Jungfrau or Gros Fiescherhorn from the Monchsjoch Hut. Another classic days mountaineering on a Bernese Oberland 4000m peak depending on the weather and energy levels remaining after the Eiger. Take the Jungfraujoch train back to Grindlewald and return to Chamonix for evening celebrations.
Guiding High On The Jungfrau In The Swiss Valais Alps

Who Can Climb The Eiger?

The mere sound of this mountains name “The Eiger” tells you that this is not a beginners peak! This ascent is therefore only suitable for folk with previous rock climbing and mountaineering experience. Confidence and competence is required with crampons and ice axe and climbers should be capable of seconding steep rock pitches in mountain boots (Alpine IV, UK Severe, U.S. 5.6) wearing a rucksack. The summit day can be quite long (9-12 hours) and therefore good fitness, stamina and the abillity to concentrate on exposed terrain when tired are all also important. Further training in these skills along with swift alpine rope work will be given at the start of the week but it is essential that folk have proven competence in all these fields already. Please get in touch to discuss your experience levels or, if you are not sure, why not complete one of our Chamonix mountaineering courses beforehand?

The superb final snow crest of the Mittellegi Ridge that leads to the summit of the Eiger.

Peter Little, Eiger Climber, July 2015

Rob, I had an amazing time, and yes I’m over the moon about summitting the Eiger – and of course getting back down safely. Paul was great – a wonderful mix of knowledge, skill, experience and measured patience, which helped me enormously. I learned a great deal too. The commitment to helping me achieve my goals and flexibility to making this happen all played a part in making it a success. Warm Regards, until the next adventure….

North Face Of The Eiger From Kleine Scheidegg. The Mittellegi Ridge is out of site behind the left hand skyline and the right hand skyline forms the South Ridge descent and traverse to Monchjoch Hut as per our itinerary

Climbing The North Face Of The Eiger

We often get asked about guiding the North Face of the Eiger and what sort of preparation and mountain skills are required for people with this goal. How fit do you need to be? How tough & experienced from other alpine climbs and how long does it take to develop all this experience?

In reality the preparation for an ascent like this is not a ‘box ticking’ exercise but moreover a case of building solid skills in a wide range of mountaineering areas. Once these are developed they need consolidation on other tough high mountain alpine climbs & north faces. Only then will the alpinist emerge…. Someone who not only possesses high level skills from technical rock, ice & mixed climbing but also has the toughness & cool headedness to deliver them in a high & exposed mountain arena where fatigue, fear, dehydration & hunger are constant companions!

Mike on ‘The Traverse Of The Gods’, Eiger North Face

As discussed these skills all merge in to each other & large mixed alpine faces are amazing alpine training venues in that they demand a multitude of mountain tac tics, skills and physical & personal traits just to get to the top of them! However here is an attempt to isolate some of the required skills and assess how they may be acquired:

  • Good general mountaineering movement skills gained from many trips in to the mountains and including tough walking over broken terrain; rocky scrambling; use of crampons and one ice axe. Experience of this can be gained on classic alpine ‘pd’ terrain or Scottish grade I-II routes.
  • Rock climbing skills, seconding up to at least F6b / UK E2 with rock climbing shoes on and at least F5c / UK HVS with mountain boots and a pack on.• Very solid & efficient rope work skills as well as the ability to manage all other mountain equipment effectively & swiftly. An ability to look after yourself in terms of temperature regulation, hydration & fuelling and to be able to do all this without it slowing the pace of the climbing team.
  • Very solid cramponing on ‘classic alpine north face terrain’ eg 50-65 degree snow & ice and to have the fitness & muscular endurance to do this for miles on end with a big pack on. This experience is best gained through other alpine routes & smaller north faces. Examples would be routes on Chamonix’s Triangle du Tacul and other smaller North Faces like the Tour Ronde, Gran Paradiso, Les Courtes, Aiguille du Chardonnet & Midi etc.
  • A solid skill level with 2 technical axes on steep ice & mixed ground eg WI 5 & M5+ / Scottish VI gained from technical alpine routes – eg some classic Chamonix Goulottes; hard Scottish winter routes from grade IV upwards but at least some seconding of Scottish grade 6 pitches. Some dry tooling routes, especially on limestone to simulate a similar style to the Eiger would also be useful.
  • The ability to climb steep broken or technical rock passages in crampons is also an essential skill on the Eiger ascent. This is best gained from lots of general alpine mountaineering & technical mixed climbing Scottish style winter mixed routes & dry tooling practice.
  • Obviously great fitness is required for an ascent of the Eiger north face but, unless we are trying to emulate Ueli Steck (which we are not!) then this is more of an endurance / diesel engine style fitness. Blistering ground speed is not required but the ability to maintain a steady & efficient pace for several days on the go without drastically fatiguing is critical. This must be achieved despite the possible additional factor of spending a night or several bivis on the face. The art of making yourself comfortable on a small, cold & exposed ledge for the night is another skill that needs practice therefore!

Like many hugely rewarding ascents & achievements, success on the Eiger Nordwand is likely to come as a result of a long & tough series of pathways of preparation. Even then there still requires a temporal alignment of good conditions, great weather & a partner who is available and as fit, well trained & motivated as you are. Good luck….but more to the point, good training and do get in touch if we can help with your personal Eiger training plans and arrange some alpine climbing with us. Having done a few routes together we can then advise you on a training programme to be able to attempt the face.

Mike high on the North Face of the Eiger during an autumn ascent in great conditions.

In the meantime watch our inspiring short film of a one day ascent of the 1938 route on the Eiger North Face by High Mountain Guides staff Rob Jarvis & Mike Brownlow:

2018 Course Dates & Prices

Our course includes 5 climbing / guided days and an introductory talk the evening before the first day.

Courses are run in July, August & early September. Get in touch to discuss your own dates to arrange a private guiding arrangement.

Max Guide to client ratio is 1:2 for days 1 & 2 and 1:1 for days 3-5

Cost

£1975 based on 2 clients sharing a guide for days 1 & 2 and 1:1 guiding for days 3-5

£2445 based on an individual booking with 1:1 guiding for days 1-5

What’s included in the Price?

Our courses are priced on a ‘guiding only’ basis which means you pay the exact cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes. These expenses amount to about 650 euros which includes 6 nights half board accommodation in a hotel & mountain huts & lift passes. You could reduce this figure if you wanted to stay in a gite or camp and increase it if you want to stay in a more luxury hotel.

  • 5 full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
  • Course planning. A tailor made itinerary and booking of mountain huts
  • Car transport during the course

What’s not included?

  • Valley accommodation. This course is based in Chamonix and a variety of accommodation options are available. Please see our Chamonix Accommodation Notes with overnight rates starting at C. 20 euros per night for guest house style accommodation through to 5* Hotel options.
  • Mountain huts & lift passes, for you and the guides. Allow about 50 euros per night half board accommodation. The guides expenses are split between the group members and are discounted in huts, hotels and on lifts and trains. The best way to deal with these expenses is to make a communal group ‘kitty’ which you contribute to and all expenses are paid out of.
  • Parking in Tasch and the train to Zermatt for both the clients and guides.
  • Your personal mountaineering equipment – see our alpine mountaineering kit list and options for mountain equipment hire.
  • Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix.
  • Lunches, extra drinks, snacks etc during the course
  • Insurance
Pulling On The Fixed Ropes On A Section Where The Route Traverses Onto The North Face

Latest Eiger Conditions

Please check the comments boxes below for any recent reports from the Eiger. If you have been on the Mountain yourself recently please send us a conditions report so we can add it here….

12 August 2018, Good Conditions & Great Weather For Aller Retour On Eiger South Ridge

Having already delayed the ascent by several days due to the storm last week, a weather window presented itself for today, but the Mittellegi hut was already full as it was Saturday night.  What to do!?  An aller retour from the Monchjoch Hut gave an enjoyable 5 hours of climbing up and 4 hours in descent for Helen and Mike.  A great result after Helen did our Matterhorn training course and Matterhorn ascent this time last year.

Helen climbing the South Ridge of the Eiger en route to the summit. Monch & Jungfrau beyond.

5 July 2018, Mittelleggi Hut Open For The Weekend & Decent Conditions For Eiger Traverse

The Mittellegi Hut was open last weekend and will be opening again this weekend and continuously beyond that if weather & conditions allow.  The Grindlewald Guides company reported ascents of the Mittellegi Ridge last weekend and the traverse completed via the descent of the South Ridge.

3rd August, Hut Open, Teams Climbing, Snowy Summer Conditions

After a long snowy start to the season the Mittellegi Hut is finally open to welcome climbers and teams are traversing the Eiger via the Mittellegi and South Ridge descent. The guardian at the hut was reporting reasonable conditions, plenty of snowy on the route, on both ridges unlike last years heat wave, but decent conditions.

30th June 2016, Snow Conditions Prevail On The Eiger – Mittellegi Hut Still Shut

Snowy conditions remain on both the Mittellegi Ridge as well as the South face and approach to the Mittellegi Hut thus the hut remains closed in the short term and will need at least a full week of warm sunny weather, possibly more, before the hut opens. Hopefully conditions will improve in July and the summer season for Eiger traverses will commence!

24 September 2015, Mittellegi Hut Closed For The Season, Snowy Conditions On Monch & Jungfrau

Recent early autumnal snow falls have made conditions difficult on the Eiger’s Mittelleggi Ridge and means the hut will now be closed until summer 2016. As usual this will be once the main build of snow has been stripped from the South Face approach to the hut and the Mittelleggi and South Ridges are once again practical to make the traverse. The snowy conditions are of course more useful on the Monch & Jungfrau normal routes and whilst these have not been climbed in the recent stormy weather, once this snow settles, perhaps this weekend, ascents will once again be made.

27 August 2015, Excellent Conditions For The Eiger Traverse

Good conditions for the ascent of the Mittelleggi and descent of the South Ridge. Generally very dry with virtually no snow on the South face, some big but avoidable crevasses on the glacier approach and a steep but bolted entrance pitch to leave the glacier and begin the approach to the Mittelleggi Hut.

The route itself was mainly totally dry with the snowy traverses later on being in good shape and not icy. The summit snow ridge is short and only the last 10 mins or so required crampons. A good outing but stormy weather next morning at Monchsjoch Hut next morning sent the team scuttling down to the station rather than climbing the Jungfrau!

22 July 2015, Eiger North Face Via Ferrata, Eiger Traverse & Geneva Pillar

We enjoyed a softer option than usual for climbing on the Eiger today! The Rotstock Via Ferrata takes an enjoyable, short and pretty easy line up through the North Face of the Rotstock, the lump of rock (2663m) on the lower right side of the main North Face. This route is easily accessed by a pleasant 45min walk along the Eiger trail from Eigergletscher Station on the Jungfraujoch railway. The route is easy to follow and takes a series of ladders, rocky ramps and ledges, mainly with Via Ferrata cable to clip into, and takes an atmospheric route to the great viewpoint at the huge cross on the summit of the Rotstock. The descent is by direct loose rocky ledges and short sections of fixed rope (with painted way marks) back down to Eigergletcher in around 30mins. This makes a pleasant short mountain activity on the way in to the high Oberland via the railway.

We met one strong team who had climbed the Geneva Pillar (7a) on the North Face (reported as hard and bold!) but they avoided the upper 4-5 pitches of cracks as they were wet after recent storms.

Many teams are traversing the mountain at the moment via the Mittelleggi Ridge and down the South Ridge round to Monchsjoch Hut and generally climbing the Monch or Jungfrau the next day.

July 10th 2015, Mittelleggi Hut & Ridge Open!

In stark contrast to the wet & cold summer of 2014 the last few weeks here in the northern Alps have been sunny and hot. HOT! This has rapidly stripped back the winter / spring snow on the ridge and the Grindlewald Guides are now reporting that the Mittelleggi Hut is open and teams are traversing the Eiger via this hut and down the South Ridge to Monchsjoch Hutte.

Also in Bernese Oberland news – teams have been climbing the normal routes on the Monch & Jungfrau in good conditions although starting early to avoid the considerable heat & soft snow later in the day.

Early September 2014 – Still Snowy Conditions for Eiger Traverse & Hut Closed

The constantly cool & showery conditions through out July and the first part of August have left the Eiger in an unusually snowy summer state. After very few ascents of the mountain the Grindlewald Guides company have closed the Mitteleggi Hut with a likely re opening date of July 2015! There remains a winter room option at the Hut but with snowy conditions on the South face & ridge line itself neither the approach or traverse are in normal late summer conditions. Contact the Grindlewald Guides company for any more up to date info.

6th June 2014, Mittellegi Ridge Very Snowy

The Mittellegihütte on the Eiger is still closed as usual at this time of year and reports from Grindlewald are of lots of early summer snow on the ridge. Folk usually start climbing the South Ridge first as it strips of snow much more quickly and has a safer approach. More details to follow as the season unfolds…

25th July 2013, Perfect Conditions for the Eiger Traverse…

Notes from an Eiger Traverse 25/7/13.

Mittellegi hut approach (2hours):

The traverse into the hut was made in good conditions both on the glacier, well filled with snow, and on the terraces traversing the south face, clear of snow.

(Hut opened on 15th July.)

Mittellegi Ridge (4 hours hut to summit):

Fine conditions. Ridge mainly dry rock lower down. Decent stiff snow in the good track on the upper snow ridge. Bit of a cornice on S side.

South Ridge (5 hours summit to Monchjoch Hut):

Again, good conditions with dry rock on the ridge & decent snow with a good track where required.

Jungfraujoch railway – Eiger traverse ticket (Grindlewald Grund – Eismeer + Jungfraujoch – Grindlewald Grund) = 191 Swiss Francs for 1 adult + 1 guide.

Mittellegi Hut:

Cost:

Bed night per person: 30 Swiss Francs

Dinner, breakfast & tea for flask: 40 Swiss Francs per person

No discount for Guides

18th June 2013, Heavy snow on the Eiger delaying opening of Mittelleggi Hut

The Grindlewald guides office are currently reporting poor / dangerous conditions across much of the Eiger and that the opening of the Mittelleggi Hut is on hold until further notice and until some of the massive amounts of winter snow starts to melt! Current weather across the Alps is now very warm with a freezing level above the summit of the Eiger & rain forecast for high up too – this should at least strip some of the snow away! More details to follow & please add any further relevant info if you have any via the comments button below.

1st August 2012

Great day traversing the Eiger in near perfect conditions. Busy hut – due to Swiss national day – but all very sociable and not a problem on the route, teams found their own pace and all enjoyed the traverse via the South Ridge. An excellent days alpine mountaineering & well done to Matt, Martin and fellow guide Mark Thomas for a swift & stylish traverse.

October 2010, Eiger North Face, Mittelegi Ridge & SW Face Descent

Superb conditions on all the above routes on the mountain. We climbed the 1938 route in a day from Kleinne Scheidegg (with a bivvi on the Mittelegi Ridge). Stiff snow ice on the first, second and ‘White Spider’ ice-fields. Mainly dry rock on the steeper crux sections including difficult and quartz cracks. A bit of snow on the brittle ledges but still climbed fine in bare hands. Good snow with a track on the upper face. The Mittelegi Ridge had excellent stiff snow as did the whole of the descent route which was completed from the top of the face to the Eigergletscher path in an hour and a half over the summit.

Rob Jarvis & Mike Brownlow

Rob & Al on the summit of the Eiger, August 1995. See our article ‘Eigerwandering’