I've seen the movie Nordwand (North Face) and also read several bits of mountaineering literature about the history of climbing on the Eiger. Since my plans for Mont Blanc were destroyed, I thought it would be fun to do a hike below the north face as a sort of consolation prize. Studying maps on the internet in my hotel, I saw that there were actually two peaks right under the north face of Eiger. Lauberhorn (8110 feet) seemed to be a fairly popular little hike but Tschuggen (8271 feet) was less common even though it was higher. I decided to do both.
I took the cable lift up to Männlichen as a staging point. The plan was to climb Tschuggen first and then traverse the ridge between the two peaks. I didn't have much beta to go on. As soon as I got off the lift I could see that the south ridge of Tschuggen was not an option. The south face was a series of cliffs. I followed the trail around to the northwest side and hiked off trail up to the top of a ski lift which was closed for the summer. Here I found a climbers trail. The trail led up to some short easy scrambling and then the summit.
Views of Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau were astounding, not to mention the surrounding valleys with small villages. I could see that following the ridge over to Lauberhorn would not be an option either as its south face also had cliffs. Bummer. I would have to descend all the way to the trail again to traverse around to the northwest side. I did that and found an easy trail to follow up. The views got even better as I was closer to the big peaks. Amazing to think that Jungfrau was the first 4000 meter peak to be climbed in the Alps. It looked like a tough climb.
When I was done taking it all in I hiked down to Kleine Scheidegg and took the train to Grindelwald to check out the Eiger Museum.
Bonus photos from a short hike I did on Schilthorn (9744 feet) the previous day:
I was waiting for your report--and the sequel. Thanks.
Amazing to think that Jungfrau was the first 4000 meter peak to be climbed in the Alps. It looked like a tough climb.
It's climbed from the other side--the train dumps you on the glacier between the Monk and the Jungfrau--and the route not that hard, especially if you are with a guide. I must confess, though, that I ran out of gas a few hundred feet below the summit--altitude sickness?--and decided to conserve my energy for Mont Blanc. But I vowed to return to the Jungfrau. The Monk is a gem of a climb.
Have you ever watched the Lauberhorn (World Cup) ski race? I've hiked in that area and cannot for the life of me understand where they ski. Well, I do, but I don't understand how they ski it. Anyway, if you've seen it it's neat to try to pick out the route when you're hiking there.
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