North Face of the Eiger Kit List
The following list is purely a record of what equipment we took on our mid-october ascent in very good conditions. It is not a suggested kit list and the appropriate equipment to take on the face will obviously vary considerably according to conditions, weather and your ability and strategy for climbing the face. Some items were not used at all and there is some discussion of this along with the compromise between speed, weight and safety margin in the notes after the list.
More general info here on Climbing the Eiger.
- Scarpa Phantom Lite boots
- Liner socks and medium thickness socks
- Rab waterproof trousers (420g)
- Powerstretch material sallopettes
- Long sleeved thermal top
- Light Lowe Alpine soft shell jacket (with hood)
- Waterproof Jacket (with hood) (500g)
- Synthetic insulated jacket (with hood) (570g)
- PHD down jacket (390g)
- Wooly Hat
- Neck Gaiter
- 4 Pairs of gloves: liner, thin, medium, thick
- 50m, 9.6mm single climbing rope (3040g)
- 60m, 7mm cord (as an abseil pull cord / cut up for abseil ‘tat’) (1725g)
- 2 X Black Diamond Reactor axes
- Grivel bungee tether for ice-axes
- Petzl Dart crampons (820g)
- Petzl Elios helmet
- Petzl Reverso 3 belay plate
- 3 X Petzl Attache 3D screw gates
- 2 X Prussiks
- 10 X quickdraws made up with Wild Country Helium krabs (4 short, 3 long, 3 made up with extendable 4ft slings)
- 3 X 8ft slings with snap links
- Daisy chain cows tail
- 5 X Black Diamond Camalots (sizes grey to yellow)
- 6 X DMM wallnuts (between sizes 2-9)
- 4 X Ice screws (13-19cm)
- 1 X Knife blade peg
- Abalokov threader
- Crux AK47 Rucksack, with many straps and waist belt cut off (970g)
- Petzl Tikka Headtorch
- Map & Compass
- Photocopy of Alpine Club route description plus a couple of photo topos.
- Light First Aid Kit (Good selection of painkillers, several large dressings, plasters, tape etc)
- 1750ml of Isotonic drink in 2 bottles
- Sandwich, Lots of cereal bars and sweers. (Bought some power gels as it was the Eiger, first and last time I am doing that!)
- Cheap, lightweight sunglasses
- Mobile phone, with rescue numbers stored
- Insurance details
- Waterproof / shockproof Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 camera
- 580g Rab bivi bag
- 920g Synthetic sleeping bag
- 200g ¾ Length Karrimat (cut and taped to fold into 3 and fit into back of rucksack)
- Jet Boil stove
- 2 X 225ml gas cans
- Bivvi food (instant soup and noodles, salami, chocolate, tea bags and crepes for breakfast)
- 2 X Chemical toe warmers
- Plastic bag for collecting mini snow blocks for stove
The equipment taken needs to match the desired strategy for the face. Ueli Steck probably doesn’t take much in the way of bivvi gear but then most of us aren’t Ueli Steck. We compromised with substantial bivi gear for 1 night which seemed about right, although as conditions were so good, if we had gone much lighter and just gone for it we would not have needed bivi gear at all (the descent only took 1 hour 35 mins) Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it was good to descend in the light feeling less tired next morning.
Crampons: By taking Petzl Dart crampons with no anti-balling plates instead of my usual Grivel G14’s 420g were saved. A huge weight saving on one item! The Darts are also extremely precise and aggressive to climb the limestone mixed ground in and were generally a pleasure to use whether on your boots or lightly sitting in your pack on the rock sections. For our October ascent and early morning descent of the West Face not having anti-balling plates was not a problem. In other conditions it obviously could be.
Ropes: It was fast and efficient to climb on a single 50m rope and none of the 3 pitches we did required anything anywhwere near this long. Carrying 60m of 7mm meant we could double up to do 50m abseils in the event of retreat and start cutting the cord up for linking anchors / tat.
Rack: We took a pretty heavy rack on the basis that if there weren’t many pegs on the hard sections we would need it and if things felt easier we would be moving together and could do long pitches. This felt about right although we only used 2 out of the 4 ice-screws.
Bivvi Gear: The lightweight bivi bag taken worked fine but would not have been good if the occasional gusts of spindrift had continued as it did not have a complete seal. Toe warmers were taken to try and keep the feet warm and this worked for the 5 hours they lasted! Enough fuel was taken to make plenty of brews and even several hot water bottles which made a big difference to overall warmth in the bivi. One slightly larger can of gas would have been enough and would have been lighter than the 2 small ones we took.
Rucksack: I had taken the scissors to my old Crux AK47 pack and cut off various straps and the waist belt reducing the weight and increasing the simplicity of this already fairly minimalist pack. Why don’t manufactures make really simple, tough light packs!?