On 34 July 1938, The German-Austrian team of Anderl Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, Fritz Kasparek and Heinrich Harrer reached the summit of Switzerland’s Eiger via the North Face, making 2013 the 75th anniversary of the first ascent of the world’s most iconic alpine north face. The wall had already been the scene of several fatalities and Hitler himself offered a prize for the first German party to climb it. Times have changed: Swiss climber Ueli Steck’s speed record for the face is two hours and 47 minutes.The town of Grindelwald is celebrating the 75th anniversary with a historic display, a media event and some published historical studies, including a fascinating exploration of the true origin of the name. Turns out it couldn’t have been named after the Ogre after all. More likely origins of the name are that it is the family name of the first settlers below the mountain or the Old High German word for spear.
There are also some fascinating videos reflecting on not just the climbing, but on what it’s like living close to the giant face.