Photographing the Eiger…
Every story needs a bad guy. In the Book of the Berner Oberland, its the Eiger. Its history of mountain climbing is layered with one tragedy after another. From its Wikipedia page:
Since 1935, at least sixty-four climbers have died attempting the North Face, earning it the German nickname, Mordwand, or “murderous wall”, a play on the face’s German name Nordwand.
The mystique of this mountain is palpable the moment you lay eyes on it. From Männlichen, it appears like a blunt arrowhead piercing the clouds. From Kleine Scheidegg (above left), it resembles a lurking sharks fin. Both places are ideal spots for the classic Eiger photograph, but to capture images with a little more nuance, you really have to hike underneath the mountain’s legendary North Face.
We tooled around in the pastures underneath it at the Alpiglen train station (above right), located halfway between Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald, and it turned into one of the most transformative travel moments of my life. I’ll devote a whole blog post to it at some point, but in short, the Eiger began to shed loose ice chunks and snow plumbs in a display that was at once intimidating and exhilarating to witness. Our neighbor at the hotel hiked the North Face trail — which skirts beneath the entire length of the mountain — and he reported that at one point he discovered a single climbing glove beneath the rocks. Who knows how it got there, but it clearly captivated and slightly haunted him just seeing it there.