Eiger

Eiger, one the most famous peaks in Switzerland, entices climbers to reach its summit. Forged over the vast reaches of time, this mountain of ragged limestone peaks rises more than 13,000 feet (3970 meters) above the green valley of Grindelwald. Even if you don’t know carabiners from your crampons, it’s still possible to experience this mighty peak for yourself. The signature peak of the Bernese Alps, whose name is from the German for ogre, is both a backdrop to vacations and a reason for visiting. Whether you’re ready for a mountaineering adventure or just admiring the scenery from the valley below, Eiger is a force of nature.

Eiger Climbing Routes & Climbing History

Eiger Climbing Routes & Climbing History
Eiger Climbing Routes & Climbing History

One of the most famous north faces out there, Eiger is a legend in the climbing world. Since Charles Barrington and his guides reached the peak in 1858, a trek up Eiger has drawn the attention of the adventurous. This expedition followed the western route, one of many routes to the top. It took decades until the first trek successfully scaled the north face of the mountain, which remains one of the most difficult climbs. A team of German and Austrian climbers, including Ludwig Vorg and Anderl Heckmair, scaled the “white spider,” a series of cracks filled with snow that look like the famous arachnid. As the sport of climbing has progressed, more people have reached the peak—more safely and in less peril that Barrington and his generation. Today’s climbers will encounter several different climbing routes, including the trek up the north face. Often the route depends on the conditions in the Swiss Alps, something that professional mountaineers and guides can determine.

Eiger Trail

Eiger Trail
Eiger Trail

For many climbers, the Eiger Trail is preferred route for climbing Eiger. Winding near the north face, this route stretches for 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) and is best suited for at least intermediate-level climbers. After starting at the Jungfrau rail station at Eigergletscher, the trail advances to the foot of Eiger’s north face, offering fantastic views of the Wetterhorn. From there, the trail winds and zigzags down to the train station at Alpiglen into Grindelwald. Hikers will find a vast network of trails at the lower elevations and down in the valley, as especially popular reason for visiting in the summertime.

Interlaken & Grindelwald

Interlaken & Grindelwald
Interlaken & Grindelwald

Grindelwald lies in the shadow of Eiger and its two mountain peak neighbors, Jungfrau and Mönch—together known as the ogre, the maiden and the monk. In the Bernese Oberland, the highest point of the Bern Canton, Grindelwald is one of Switzerland’s top resort towns. This cosmopolitan vacation hideaway has the scenery and visitor amenities to turn a visit into a vacation. Once largely inaccessible, Grindelwald was made accessible by the railway in the 19th century, and today remains home to Europe’s highest train station. Vacationers also flock to nearby Interlaken to enjoy the hotels and the mountain scenery or make a day trip from Zürich.  

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