Great climbing film
Just to get into the mood, we saw a screening of the 2008 German film Nordwand (North Face) at the Panida theater in Sandpoint. I thought it was going to be about the triumphant 1938 first ascent of the Eiger north face, which celebrated Germany's "annexation" of Austria (a German team and an Austrian team joined forces). However, it was about the 1936 Hinterstroisser/Kurz attempt. Various liberties were taken with what is known of the story--an imagined romantic angle actually ties it all together, effectively, I thought--but the depiction of 1936 Germany, of climbing in the 1930s, of the characters, all had the ring of truth. These were the days when it was thought unsporting to attack the mountain anywhere but at its strength (hence "north face" climbing), when climbers forged their own pitons and wove their own manila ropes. No camming devices nor perlon nor goretex nor polartec. It was also the time when the Reich was determined to demonstrate the superiority of its athletes--never mind Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics--and everything else. The film's climbing and mountain photography were stunning, the story utterly gripping, the last hour a cardio thump-fest. The theater emptied in a hush, no one humming "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles." A great movie if you are interested in such things; or just a good work-out for your adrenal and circulatory systems.
Eiger north face
Anyhow, we'll be visiting Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, maybe even riding the Jungfraubahn past the Eigernordwand balcony to the Jungfraujoch, as we did in 1989. Some day hikes. But no roped climbing for me, not anymore.
On the north face