Sixty-four mountaineers The Eiger has received a lot of attention because of the numerous tragedies involving climbing excursions. At least 64 climbers have perished climbing the north face since 1935, giving it the German epithet Mordwand, or "murder(ous) wall"—a pun on its true designation of Nordwand (North Wall).
The number is high because many people who go climbing in the Eiger north face do so without any experience and often without adequate equipment. Many deaths could be avoided if people knew what skills and equipment were needed to climb safely.
The Eiger was first climbed on August 8, 1870 by a local guide named Johann Meier. Three other men joined him later that day, making it the first time two men had ever climbed a mountain over 3,000 feet (900 m).
Meier originally wanted to name the peak "Georg IV", but his partners disagreed. So they decided to give it a number instead - the same number as their own age plus one. That's why there are now also Eifeler Juist (Jurassic Park), Mönchsberg (Monk's Hill), Nürnberger Rostbrücke (Rostbrück Bridge from Nuremberg), and so on.
As well as being a murder wall, the Eiger is also known as the death mountain because of all the accidents that have happened while climbing it.
The Eiger is the most spectacular of the three mountains, a conspicuous peak from all sides and a rewarding climb through any of its several routes, none of which are very simple. Fortunately, the Eiger has considerably simpler (though not insignificant) paths than its dreadful North Face.
The Eiger is so called because it resembles an enormous jagged knife blade, and it was on this mountain that the first real attempt was made to reach the top of the European continent. The Eiger's north face is one of the most dangerous in the world, being both steep and exposed. It is said that no one has survived a fall from this face.
However, the Eiger's south side is quite safe and suitable for beginners. There are two ways to reach the summit from here: the "Bergführer" or "Climbing Guide", which is signed by many climbers over the years, and the "Tourmalet" route, which was originally used as a road until 1958 when it was converted into a footpath for tourist traffic only.
The Eiger's west side is relatively easy to climb but lacks any marked trails. However, it offers great views in every direction, including across the Alps to France and Italy.
Regardless of the path you take, the Eiger is an extremely demanding Alpine ascent including rock, snow, and ice climbing. You must have previous experience with 5.7-grade rock climbing and be comfortable climbing on steep but solid snow and ice during the ascent. The last 3 miles (5 km) are mostly up hill, across glaciers, and through rocks fields.
The Eiger is one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland and has been the source of many deaths over the years. It is located in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland near the border with Germany. The mountain consists of three main peaks called the North Face, Central Peak, and South Face. The West Face is made up of steep cliffs that are considered difficult and dangerous even for experienced climbers. The East Face is less steep but still requires technical rock climbing skills to ascend.
It is estimated that it takes people between 1 and 4 days to climb the Eiger. The majority of climbers who attempt the Eiger decide not to try to reach the top because they find the effort too much. However, some people do reach the top because they are able to deal with the stress and physical challenge of climbing such a large mountain.
Cliffs first appeared on the Eiger in the 19th century when farmers began to clear away vegetation to make way for agriculture.
An inquest heard that the death of an experienced climber who fell at least 1,300ft (400m) down Ben Nevis was a "tragic accident." Patrick Boothroyd, 21, was killed when he and Leon Grabowski were trapped in an avalanche while climbing the mountain.
The four men were caught in an avalanche while climbing the Spider on the first successful ascent, but they all had enough strength to avoid being carried off the face. The north face has been climbed several occasions since then. It was first ascended by Herbert Tichy and Fritz Wiessner in August 1922, with assistance from Hans Meissner.
Ascent notes: "The Eiger now stands as a powerful symbol for courage and victory over adversity. It is only right that such a symbol should have a price attached to it." The climbers who stood on the Eiger's top paid their own way out of Germany after World War II. They included Americans John Roskelley and Dan Mazur and a British climber named Fred Anderson.
Roskelley and Mazur made the first solo ascent in July 1953. Anderson followed them about a week later. He was never seen again. It is believed that he fell into a crevasse during a storm and was killed.
The Eiger has claimed another life. (August 2008) A German tourist experienced trouble with his car near the summit and was rescued by helicopter. As he was being taken down to safety, he committed suicide by jumping from the helicopter.
This death brings to four the number of people who have lost their lives while standing on the Eiger.
A review of the historical damage and fatalities caused by Etna eruptions finds that just 77 human deaths are traceable with certainty to Etna eruptions, most recently in 1987 when two visitors were killed by a rapid explosion near the summit. This makes Etna the deadliest volcano in Europe.
The total number of deaths due to Etna eruptions is likely to be much higher, since ancient deaths will not have been recorded and some fatal accidents may never have been reported. In addition, there are several well-documented cases of severe disease or injury occurring in people who lived near an eruption site.
The death toll includes 14 people who perished in an outbreak of plague that began in 1667 and was spread by refugees fleeing the volcano.
In addition, there have been three more fatalities since 1987 that are not attributed directly to the volcano but which scientists think might have been caused by an eruption. In 1994, for example, a woman was driving on the road between Catania and Messina when her car was hit by a truck; both she and the driver of the truck were killed. Scientists believe that this might have been caused by volcanic ash in the truck's fuel tank. In 2001, another person died after being trapped under a car that had run off the road because of gas fumes.
Between 1961 and 1989, East German security forces murdered around 150 persons who attempted to cross the wall. Tunnels were also dug out of East Berlin to assist refugees fleeing communist authority. Police found 2,937 such tunnels.
The Berlin Wall was built by the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1989 when it fell under pressure from young people demanding freedom for themselves and their country. The wall divided Berlin into two separate cities with different laws and rules. It was more than 5 km (3 miles) long and ran through gardens, along streets, and in front of buildings. In places where it divided houses, a door or window would be left open as evidence of a possible escape attempt.
The border between East and West Germany had been established at the end of World War II, but it took until 1990 before both sides officially signed peace agreements with each other. By then, the border had already been moved back to its pre-war position. The separation of Germany has since been completed by building new borders between the former states.
In November 1989, thousands of young people began to gather every day at the west side of the city wall to protest against communism. When police tried to break up the rallies, they were met with rocks and bottles. One officer was seriously injured and several others were beaten up.