Triology in the Bernese Oberland: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
The steep North Faces of the three most famous mountains in the area, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, form a true masterpiece of Nature.´
Ueli Steck and myself know these mountains off the back of our hand, having spent almost five weeks non-stop on the Eiger last year. The results? A new route and the Rotpunkt climb of “La Vida es Silbar”. The long bivy nights on the face consisted of scheming out new plans: Eiger North Face, Mönch North Face plus the Jungfrau North Face all in one.
Due to the heat wave last summer, nothing came of this idea straight away, yet we still kept it very prominently in our minds! While waiting for the perfect weather front to arrive, we spent time training seriously and preparing for our adventure. At midnight on July 29, we stand full of aprehension at the base of the Eiger. Despite far from perfect conditions, we climb in a comfortable pace to the top. We surpass the Waterfall Chimney via the Rébuffat Variation to avoide the wet Chimney. Ueli and I shake hands on the first of the three peaks at 9 am.
The second peak proves to be the easiest, we make it down via the Eigerjoch in 2 hours and are delighted to find perfect snow conditions on the Mönch allowing us to have our second peak handshake only three hours later. Things are going well. It’s a two lane highway to the Jungfraujoch where Thomas Kohler and Rob Frost are waiting for us and have prepared a hearty and nutritious meal of Soup and Noodles. We allow ourselves a first break since our start from the Guesthouse at Eigergletscher.
We eat and drink as much as possible, and after 1,5 hours make our way to the base of the route. Unfortunately, traversing from the Jungfraujoch to the base of the route costs us much more time than planned. We arrive at the last face at 7:30pm. It’s starting to get dark, this is the only route both of us don’t know at all. Our legs feel heavy, we concentrate on every step and try hard to enjoy the beautiful evening light surrounding the peaks. This, theoretically, should be the easiest face to climb but the Jungfrau is proving to be quite stubborn. The thin ice is as brittle as ever and the rocks are nothing but loose choss. It takes us 3 hours to climb the last, short distance of 150 meters.
After 25 hours of climbing, we top out and hug each other. Again, our faithful helpers Rob and Thomas have prepared our bivy for us, all we have left to do is sink into our bags. Almost immediately deep sleep comes over us along with the first tweak of new dreams of quests to conquer.
Start Eiger: 24.00
Eiger Peak: 09.00 (9h Eiger North Face, Heckmeier Route)
Mönch Base: 11.00
Peak Mönch: 14.00 (3h Mönch North Face, Lauper Route)
Dep. Jungfraujoch: 16.30
Jungfrau Base: 19.30
Jungfrau : 01.00 (6,5h. Jungfrau North Face, Lauper Route)
Total: 25h Kletterzeit