Thursday, April 5, 2012

A-Z Microfiction: E is for Eiger

Today's piece of A-Z Challenge microfiction takes us to the Eiger, a peak in the Bernese Alps, close to the town of Grindelwald (yes, I know, I'm a Harry Potter fan too and I geeked out when I realised Grindelwald is a place). The North Wall of the Eiger is one of the toughest climbing peaks in the Alps. 

Today we're going back in time as well as back to Germany. This is not strictly microfiction, as it is based on real events.  But as I have no idea how these men came to their decision, I decided to imagine it - and maybe someday I'll find out the real story.

The Eiger

The four men hung from their ropes, as the biting wind spun around them and the sheer drop below their feet seemed to sing.
'We couldn't have made it this far without you both,' said Harrer.
'We couldn't have done it without your ropes,' said Heckmair. 'The Hinterstoisser Traverse is treacherous. We would have been lost there.' His climbing companion, Vorg, nodded.
'Might as well admit it,' said Kasparek. 'We haven't been two teams for a while - we're one team of four. Let's go for the summit together. I wouldn't feel right reaching the top without all of you.'
Beneath their hoods and scarves, all four men started to smile.

To read earlier entires in my alphabetical world tour, just click the 'A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012' tag beneath this post. 


  1. Nice piece! Moutain climbing isn't on my bucket list. I'm too chicken. Although, I'd love to do the Amazing Race.

    1. I'm too chicken too! I like mountains that I can walk on :)

      The amazing Race looks very cool!

  2. Hi where can I find info on the real event that you are drawing from. You have me very curious which is what I love feeling from fiction

    1. I found it on that great academic information source. . . Wikipedia :)


      The north face was first climbed on July 24, 1938 by Anderl Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek in a German–Austrian party. The party had originally consisted of two independent teams: Harrer (who did not have a pair of crampons on the climb) and Kasparek were joined on the face by Heckmair and Vörg, who had started their ascent a day later and had been helped by the fixed rope that the lead team had left across the Hinterstoisser Traverse. The two groups, led by the experienced Heckmair, decided to join their forces and roped together as a single group of four. Heckmair later wrote: "We, the sons of the older Reich, united with our companions from the Eastern Border to march together to victory."

      The expedition was constantly threatened by snow avalanches and climbed as quickly as possible between the falls. On the third day a storm broke and the cold was intense. The four men were caught in an avalanche as they climbed "the Spider," the snow-filled cracks radiating from an ice-field on the upper face, but all possessed sufficient strength to resist being swept off the face. The members successfully reached the summit at four o'clock in the afternoon. They were so exhausted that they only just had the strength to descend by the normal route through a raging blizzard.


      I want to find out more though, I'll let you know if I find anything else.

    2. Thanks! I now had a read of the wiki too. that's a pretty dangerous mountain. I felt so sorry for Toni Kurz

  3. Rock climbing is not on my list of things to do. But I do like to watch other people do it. From the ground, of coarse.

    Stephen Tremp
    Co-host A to Z Challenge

  4. Love the "Hinterstoisser Traverse" - it's got my tongue nice and twisted! Take care

  5. Interesting..
    My link -

  6. Nice Ellen. I'm a new follower. I love microfiction, and now I love your blog too!

  7. My stomach rolled just thinking about being up there with them - yikes!

  8. I think mountain climbing sounds like a miserable experience, but kudos to those who do it. This feels like a scene from near the end of an adventure movie, when you get a little bit teary about everyone working together.

    Continued success with the A to Z challenge,

  9. Very nicely done, Ellen! Reading those words, I had a grin on my face visualizing myself right there on the rock face. There's nothing in the world quite like scaling a mountain, and the Eiger's something I've dreamed of for a long while...


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