Five More Things You Didn't Know About ... Eigernordwand


Stephan Siegrist, slick as a whistle on the Eiger.


The Italian Claudio Corti was the first person rescued from the top of the Nordwand, in 1957, when German guide Alfred Hellepart was lowered on a steel cable from the summit. Corti’s partner Stephan Longhi, who had sustained injuries, died of exposure. The Germans Franz Mayer and Gunther Nothdurft perished trying to aid the Italians.

The first American to climb the Nordwand was John Harlin II, in 1962. He died four years later, attempting the first direct route up the Eiger, later named after him by his teammates, who made a subsequent successful ascent.

The German Daisy Voog made the first female ascent of the Nordwand, in 1964. Her accomplishment was degraded in a Swiss tabloid, which proclaimed in a headline, “Blond Munich Secretary Daisy Breaks Wall of Death Taboo.” Two years later, the blond secretary returned to make the first female ascent of the Lauper Route.

Messner-Habeler of the on the North Butress saw its second ascent in 1973, accomplished in three days in September. This also marks the first all-female party to climb the wall, and was carried out by Wanda Rutkiewicz, Danuta Wach, and Stefania Egierszdorff, all from Poland.

Ueli Steck and Stephan Siegrist, of Switzerland, navigated their 2001 route, The Young Spider (5.11d A2 WI6 M7, 3,600 feet), making it the hardest mixed route on the Nordwand. Unable to climb it in a single push, Steck returned in January 2006 to meet that objective, with a solo, winter ascent. He fell at the ever-forming icy crux pitch, severing a vein below his knee.