Sandbach (north wall of Eiger)

This is the first part of a series of articles from Jakob Pavli about Canyoning in Switzerland. If you want to read the following articles you can add our RSS-Feed


I’d like to start this blog series with a series of short reports from one of our canyoning trips.

A typical autumn is a good time to go canyoning to places that are way too full of water most of the year. This year we’ve hit an absolute jackpot: sunny weather, near freezing temperatures(which prevent snow from melting) and great team of canyoning buddies.
We(Žiga and myself) started our adventure on 27.10.2016, and met the rest of the team of 4 on undisclosed location in Swiss Alps. Our goal for the first day was north face of Eiger, which is more known for nice alpinistic routes. After kitting up, we took a fanicular from the bottom, and then extra 2hr ascent to one of glacier patches at the bottom of the wall. We decided to enter the canyon as far up as we could, the only problem was there is no actual way leading all the way there so we finished on the “wrong side” of the canyon and had to drill a new anchor point.
Entering the canyon was a bit of a pain in the ass: abseiling into the narrow darkness with ice wall one side and it soon turns into a roof. Two pitches, 20 and another 30m started the route. It was not much sunlight that can reach the bottom so we had to use our headlamps. Amounts of water were also not significant but it was really freezing so it was quite some time before everyone was at the bottom. The first part of the canyon is a bit surreal: perfectly formed dark limestone, with sharp edges, mostly quite tight, very grippy(since it’s too cold for any algae to grow). At some bits of the canyon the icy roof had round holes made by dripping water, where the little bits of light still reach the bottom. After couple of hours we got to the final bit and all the sudden our blue icy roof was gone and replaced with an epic views onto the idilic Swiss valley underneath.

Second part of the canyon is still very nicely carved, some abseils are higher(up to 50m). The biggest difference to upper part is the light and the fact that you can exit the canyon almost anytime. We were almost too late for the last funicular, so we decided to skip last couple of abseils and run for it. At the station we were super happy to find a very warm and empty waiting room and our frozen brain started daydreaming about crashing/squating in this place. Warm room where you can dry your wet things is a luxury on trips like this…it’s nice to know you don’t need much to be happy.

 

Entry
Deep down in the canyon
Holes

Exiting the first part

Epic views
Higher abseil
nicely polished rocks

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