The Eiger is one of the most famous mountain in the Alps, in the summer the Mittellegi ridge is the classic route to the top of the Ogre. The Mittellegi ridge is not always in great conditions, and the Mittellegi hut is so small and always overbooked that it could be already challenging to plan the adventure. But this year thanks to the unusual heat wave and a long period of high pressure, the Mittellegi ridge was already in excellent conditions early this July, and few people knew it.
It’s been a ritual to spend the first two weeks of July together with Giovanni in the Dolomites, and it’s been two years that I’ve pushed him to bring mountaineering boots and crampons as well from NYC, with the idea of having a great mountaineering journey together. This summer we managed to send some great classic climbs in the Dolomites, like the Schubert at Piz Ciavazes, the Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola di Lavaredo and the “spicy” Olga at the Cinque Torri (I finally did it!). But we had to waste a day around Tre Cime di Lavaredo to “open the eyes” and think we could have the perfect chance to go higher up. You gotta be crazy to think of a 2 day gateway to Grindelwald from Cortina, but when two beds are available at the Mittellegihutte plus the ridge is in excellent condition …you can’t wuss out. And we didn’t, we packed our shit that same afternoon and we hit the road to Switzerland.
There’s not that much to tell you about our climb to the top of the Eiger via the Mittellegi ridge, it was just perfect. Fantastic weather, few people at the hut, it was the first mountaineering experience for Giovanni, and the “test” pitch after the Challifirn glacier was almost a piece of cake for him as well. The hardest part of the whole journey was the drive back home, maybe even the most dangerous because the closer we got to our home and the more I was hammering down. I was so tired!
There’s one thing I will never forget about this climb, and it is Giovanni’s smile from our arrival in Grindelwald to the top of the Eiger. I’ve never seen him so happy.