Roger Schaeli climbs the Eiger 50 times
Swiss mountaineer Roger Schäli has celebrated his 50th complete ascent of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland.
A few days ago Swiss alpinist Roger Schaeli reached an important milestone in his climbing career: 50 complete ascents of the Eiger. Nicknamed "Mister Eiger" for good reason evidently, the mountain guide started climbing his home mountain aged 18 when he ascended the Mittellegi Ridge. A year later he turned his attention to the famous North Face of the Eiger and breached this with Markus Iff via the Lauper climb, established in 1932 by Hans Lauper and Alfred Zücher.
In the ensuing years Schaeli chose increasingly demanding climbs, including Magic Mushroom established in 2007 with Christoph Hainz; the first free ascent of the Japanese route in 2007 with Robert Jasper; the first free ascent of the John Harlin Eiger Direttissima in 2010 and the first free ascent of the Piola - Ghilini Direttissima with Jasper in 2013; the first ascent and first free ascent of Odyssee with Jasper and Simon Gietl in 2015 and then, in 2017, the long-awaited first repeat with Gietl and Thomas Huber of Metanoia, Jeff Lowe's absolute masterpiece. The first one-day free ascent of La vida es silbar dates back to this August and in order to complete his 50th ascent he teamed up with Lucien Caviezel the other day to repeat Löcherspiel before paragliding back down to valley.
It goes without saying that fifty successes did not come about first go. "50 complete ascents of the Eiger are an impressive number," says Roger Schaeli. "But one must also be humble towards this imposing mountain. My successes are joined by just as many attempts. The Eiger is relentless. I have climbed into the North Face dozens of times without being managing to descend from the summit or the west shoulder."
Schaeli obviously not only climbs on the Eiger and he has standout climbs across the globe including Arwa Spire in 2012 and the Cerro Torre, Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt hattrick in Patagonia. But there can be no doubt that the Ogre of the Bernese Alps is in some ways his second home. "The Eiger means a lot to me," says Roger Schaeli. "I don't know any other mountain better than this one, and have never spent more time on another mountain. Even if the Eiger is very familiar to me: it remains a legend with many magical stories, but also tragic ones. The more I climb on the Eiger, the closer I feel to this mountain and the more it represents my entire climbing career. "