Ostegg Hut to Mittellegi Hut (lower Northeast Ridge)
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Northeast ridge of the Eiger with rough topo overl...
An interesting linkup to upper Mittellegi ridge. It involves crawling through a cave, 2 pitches of airy Alpine grade V above the Eismeer glacier, multiple rappels, and some delicate (and occasionally horrifying) traversing on loose rock with little pro. Combined with the upper Mittellegi, the route is referred to as "Mittellegi Ridge Integrale". Traversing Ostegg to Mittellegi takes ~ 8hrs -- depending on conditions, fitness, and rope handling/route finding skills.
From Ostegg Hut, follow a faint trail
with cairns that ascends very loose and steep slopes towards the saddle on the ridge proper. From here, follow the ridge using occasional bolts for protection or rappels. At some point crawl through an original cave
through the ridge that leads to other side, go up a fixed rope (the rope was frayed when we did it), followed by further traversing
. Drop down (we rappelled) into the notch and climb 2 pitches that go about 5.9. The first pitch
is the hardest but it is fully equipped with fixed pro. Second pitch
is also equipped and ends with an iron rod anchor. From here follow the ridge to Mittellegi Hut.
Both huts require reservation that can be obtained at Grindelwald Sports
in Grindelwald. Ostegg Hut has no guardian: use a code to retrieve the key. Payments are based on honor system: drop cash for the stay and what you drink (wine/beer) in the box inside the Hut. Unlike Ostegg Hut, Mittellegi Hut fills quick so make sure to reserve few days ahead of time.
Climbing the Eiger from Ostegg is a 2-3 day climb, so co-ordinate with the weather. We found the "MeteoSwiss" app to be very accurate in weather forecast (search weather for Jungfraujoch).
To reach Ostegg Hut from the station at Alpiglen take the trail heading initially past the Berghaus Restaurant and East towards Grindelwald. Where the trail splits, take it towards Gletscherschlucht (when in doubt, always take trail that brings you to the right and towards location of Ostegg Hut). Follow a path marked with orange signs, past a very large cairn
and fixed ropes
. Continue on the trail until the steep couloir
with via Ferrata-type cables. Ascent the cables to more gradual ground and a small meadow with the Ostegg Hut. (From Alpiglen 2/12-3/12 hrs.)
There are occasional bolts and iron rods with rings. The 5.9 pitches are well equipped, although few cams made leading more comfortable, especially with mountaineering boots and alpine packs (many parties bring climbing shoes just for these pitches).
We brought few medium cams,a set of nuts, 8 alpine draws and few 48" slings. A single 60m 1/2 rope was adequate (we doubled it for the 5.9 section). In late August, there was no need for ice gear but in earlier season ice screws may be needed (as well as for the upper Mittellegi).
Crampons and mountaineering axe for the summit ridge are a must (also for descent and glacier travel to Jungfraujoch/Monch Hut or West Flank in earlier season, depending which way you go).
Full Moon over Schreck Horn. View from Mittellegi ...
Climber at the end of the first 5.9 pitch.
Cave leading through the ridge to easier ground. E...
Nearing the end of via Ferrata inside the couloir.
Ascending fixed ropes towards the final couloir le...
Large cairn on the way to Ostegg Hut.
Evening view to the south from Mittellegi Hut. Ful...
Crux pitches above Eismeer Glacier.
A look back at the ridge following the cave.
Rough topo of via Ferrata to Ostegg Hut (red dot) ...
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