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Big Rockfall on the Eiger’s North Face

Robert Japser, who's climbed several of the Eiger's test-piece routes, shared details of the rockfall

The Alps and Dolomites have been experiencing more rockfall than normal this summer due to record high temperatures and dry conditions. Big rockfalls have now affected climbs on the north face of the Eiger and Matterhorn.

Experienced alpinist Robert Jasper noted a large rockfall took place in the area of the Ghilini-Piola Direttissima on the Eiger. Rene Ghilini and Michel Piola made the first ascent of the 1,400-metre climb 40 years ago this summer at a grade of 5.10 A4. A pillar above the 20th pitch fell and hit the lower pitches.

The huge collapse also possibly affected a new route called Renaissance, a 30-pitch 1,220-metre climb that was opened this summer by Silvan Schupbach and Peter von Kaenel. The all-trad route followed previously unclimbed pitches up the Rote Flüh.

Two rockfalls took place on the Matterhorn, one on the south face and one near the famous Zmutt Ridge. Several other rockfalls were noticed on the surrounding peaks. The temperatures have not dipped below freezing for over a week, which is likely leading to large collapses. Watch a video from Luciano Canova below.

Matterhorn Rockfall