The North Face of the Eiger was long notorious as the most dangerous climb in the Swiss Alps, one that had claimed the lives of numerous mountaineers. In February 1966, two teams – one German, the other British–American – aimed to climb it by a new direct route. Astonishingly, the two teams knew almost nothing about each other’s attempt until both arrived at the foot of the face. The race was on.
John Harlin led the four-man British–American team and intended to make an Alpine-style dash for the summit as soon as weather conditions allowed. The Germans, with an eight-man team, planned a relentless Himalayan-style ascent, whatever the weather.
The authors were key participants as the dramatic events unfolded. Award-winning writer Peter Gillman, then twenty-three, was reporting for the Telegraph, talking to the climbers by radio and watching their monumental struggles from telescopes at the Kleine Scheidegg hotel. Renowned Scottish climber Dougal Haston was a member of Harlin’s team, forging the way up crucial pitches on the storm-battered mountain. Chris Bonington began as official photographer but then played a vital role in the ascent.
Eiger Direct, first published in 1966, is a story of risk and resilience as the climbers face storms, frostbite and tragedy in their quest to reach the summit.
This edition features a new introduction by Peter Gillman.