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On the 25th of March 2022, the young Austrian guide Laura Tiefenthaler solo climbed the North Face of the Eiger via the Heckmair route (ED, 1600m). Although this is the only second winter female solo ascent, the performance cannot be ranked in the same category as the feat achieved by Catherine Destivelle 30 years earlier, who has always claimed to be the first solo climber “on sight”, before any gender consideration.

It was around 4 p.m. on the 25th of March 2022, when Laura Tiefenthaler reached the summit of the Eiger, which dominates the Swiss valleys from the height of 3,967 metres. The young Austrian, an aspiring mountain guide with a medical degree, had climbed the 1,600 metres of the north face alone and in winter. Like Catherine Destivelle in 1992, she chose the Heckmair route (ED, 1600m) and thus signed the second winter female solo ascent of this famous route 30 years after the first winter female solo. But what “first” are we talking about ? 

Self-portrait of Laura Tiefenthaler in the Eiger.©Laura Tiefenthaler

This is a great performance. She did it on sight?

The climber left at 1.00 AM for the ascent and it took her fifteen hours to find the sun. “At 10 o’clock, when I reached the Traverse of the Gods [at an altitude of 3500 metres, editor’s note], I knew that the clock was on my side. I slowed down the pace, preferring safety to speed“, she confided on

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