Eiger traverse - Mittelegi Ridge and S Ridge descent

Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren

Bernese Oberland

One of the very best routes in the Alps, on a legendary peak

Also in Bern, Switzerland

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
6.3 km
Ascent
878 m
Descent
726 m
Low Point
3.3 km
High Point
3.9 km
Gradient
30˚
VIEW ON MAP
Eiger traverse - Mittelegi Ridge and S Ridge descent Map

Description

Famed worldwide, any ascent of the Eiger is a cherished prize and the Mittelegi Ridge is aesthetically the most pleasing of the ridges on the mountain. In combination with a descent of the S Ridge it makes for a traverse of the highest calibre, as the S Ridge is over very good rock and extremely enjoyable in descent. Indeed the S Ridge is a very high altitude route in itself, involving technicalities in ascent and descent. Due to the committing nature of this route it is unsuitable in all but an excellent forecast.

From the hut the ridge is immediately extremely narrow and exposed. There are virtually no route finding difficulties as you stick to the crest, climbing over anything rather than avoiding it. Occasional bolts protect short down climbs.

After the Grosse Turm at 3689m you descend/rappel 20m, following which there are several hundred metres of fixed rope to yard on. This is predominantly on the N side of the ridge and above here the ridge eases in angle, but not exposure. You tiptoe along either side of the snowy crest, over small rises and small descents before arriving on the summit itself, with stunning views in all directions. Grindelwald appears to be beneath your feet and behind you the Schreckhorn Lauteraarhorn is particularly fine.

From the summit descend to the S, easy initially then much steeper where a couple of rappels can be expected. Easier downclimbing leads to the first of the two Eigerjochs. The route then climbs up, over and down the intervening mixed ground to the second of the Eigerjochs. The rock on this section is much better here than on the Mittelegi itself and is very exposed with the odd bolt serving as protection. It is also predominantly climbing up with over 150m height gain, followed by much less descent. From the far side of the rocks all that remains is a glacial journey, past the Mönchsjoch Hut to the Jungfraujoch complex. An amazing day out!

Difficulty

Difficult

The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

The majority of the route is "no fall" terrain.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Quickdraws
  • Glacier kit
  • Wires and Friends

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Guidebooks in this area