Morbid Eiger Nordwand History

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From: Steelmnkey <steelmnkey@aol>
Newsgroups: rec.climbing
Subject: Re: Deaths on the north face of Eiger

Joshua Berman (joshua@santafe.ed) wrote:

The following five people died (in this order) trying to climb the north face of Eiger (I'm pretty sure)

1. Bartolo Sandri

Died June 21st, 1938. Climbing with Mario Menti. Fell near the "difficult crack"

2.Uli Wyss

Recorded as the 12th ascent of the Eiger face. Between August 20-22, 1953 with partner Karlheinz Gonda. Fell to their death from the summit ice field on the third day after completing the climb of the face. Recognition of this ascent, withheld for a decade, was finally accorded in 1964.

3. Ernesto Navarro

Ernesto Navarra and Alberto Rabada were on the face between August 11th and 15th, 1963. They battled their way to the Spider where they died of exhaustion and exposure.

4. Tsuneaki Watabe

Died August 1965. He and partner Mitsumasa Takada were a couple hundred feet from the summit when Watabe fell and tumbled a hundred feet down a gully. Takada held his partner then climbed up to Watabe and helped him onto a ledge. Watabe had a broken leg. Takada anchored him to the wall and climbed to the summit and then descended to the Kleine Sheidegg (4 am) and then past to alert the rescue attempt. The rescue was delayed by bad weather and some other goofy stuff by the rescue service and local guides. After a scan of the face with a telescope by Toni Habeler (recently arrived) at 5:45am, he saw a red crumpled heap at the bottom of the wall. The flew a helicoptor out to pick up Watabe at 7am from the bottom of the face. The theory on what happened to Watabe was that he committed suicide. Takada said he knew he had firmly anchored him to the wall. Takada was the 27th death on the wall.

5. Jiri Siegl

Died April 1977. Jiri Pechous and Jiri Siegl left their camp for the final summit push. Two partners followed them up the fixed lines and on arrival at the pillar above the Fly, they found two rucksacks and a ten foot piece of broken rope. The partners started rappelling and looking for the two Jiri's, but had to hole up for two days due to a storm. They finally made it down safely. Pechous and Siegl were found a month later at the foot of the wall. The 42nd and 43rd deaths on the wall.

Incidentally, there are many others that died on the face besides these five. Including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Max Sedlmayer and Karl Mehringer (August 1935). First deaths.
  • Edi Ranier, Willy Angerer, Andreas Hinterstoisser, Toni Kurz (July '36)
  • Sandri and Menti (listed above).
  • Paul Korber, Roland Vass (July 1953).
  • Wyss and Gonda (listed above).
  • Dieter Sohnel and Walter Moosmuller (August 1956)
  • Gunther Nothdurft, Fanz Mayer, Stefano Longhi (August 1957) 14th Ascent
  • Adolph Mayr (Auust 1961) Died on first solo attempt.

As of 1977, there were 43 deaths on the wall.

etc...etc... Pick up a copy of the White Spider, by Heinrich Harrer. I just happened to be reading it right now and saw your post. Also you can get Eiger - Wall of Death, by Arthur Roth, which is also quite detailed.

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