Eduard Rainer

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Eduard Rainer
Edi Rainer.jpg
Personal information
Nickname(s)Edi Rainer
Died21 July 1936
Eiger, Bernese Alps, Switzerland
Climbing career
Known for 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster

Eduard Rainer (1914 –21 July 1936) was an Austrian mountaineer. He was one of the four climbers who died in the 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster, along with Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Willy Angerer. [1]



The two Austrians, Rainer and Angerer, knew that the German duo, Max Sedlmayer and Karl Mehringer had spent a long time on the First Band during their fatal attempt in 1935. [2] On 6 July 1936 Rainer and Angerer ventured out and decided to search for a line that would bring them to the Rote Fluh from where they intended to reach the First Icefield. They retreated because of the wet icy conditions. [3]

Eiger north face climb

On 18 July 1936 Eduard Rainer and his friend Willy Angerer commenced their attempt on the north face of the Eiger, which was then one of the last great Alpine north faces remaining to be conquered. [4] At almost the same time the German mountaineers, Toni Kurtz and Andreas Hinterstoisser, were making the same attempt. [3]

The German pair were the first to reach a difficult section that required a pendulum action, called a tension traverse, to get across the steep rock face. Hinerstoisser was the one to overcome the obstacle which is why it is now known as the Hinterstoisser traverse. When the Austrian pair had come through they made a fatal mistake. They pulled the rope through leaving no possibility of reversing their route. [4]

At this stage the four climbers combined into one team and continued their ascent to the "Death Bivouac", where Sedlmayer and Mehringer were last seen from Kleine Scheidegg the previous year. [4]

During their overnight bivouac the weather turned bad and the steep wall became iced over. Despite the weather, the team continued ascending until Angerer was hit in the head by rockfall and they decided to retreat. By now the Hinterstoisser traverse was iced over and without a rope in place to aid their retreat there was no choice but to abseil down handicapped by the injured Angerer.

While abseiling, the group were hit by a stone and ice avalanche that pulled Rainer up against the piton belay where the rock shattered his chest. [3] Neither Angerer and Hinterstoisser survived the disaster leaving only Toni Kurz alive. [5] The following day Kurz died almost within reach of a rescue team but for his inability to pass the knotted abseil rope, that had been dropped down by rescuers, through a carabiner with his frozen fingers. [4]


The climb is recalled in the 2007 drama documentary The Beckoning Silence inspired by climber Joe Simpson's book of the same name [6] and again in the 2008 feature film North Face directed by Philipp Stölzl. [7]

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Eiger Mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

The Eiger is a 3,967-metre (13,015 ft) mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland, just north of the main watershed and border with Valais. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m (13,642 ft), constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. While the northern side of the mountain rises more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the southern side faces the large glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, the most glaciated region in the Alps. The most notable feature of the Eiger is its nearly 1,800-metre-high (5,900 ft) north face of rock and ice, named Eiger-Nordwand, Eigerwand or just Nordwand, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. This huge face towers over the resort of Kleine Scheidegg at its base, on the homonymous pass connecting the two valleys.

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Toni Kurz

Toni Kurz was a German mountain climber active in the 1930s. He died during an attempt to climb the Eiger north face with his partner Andreas Hinterstoisser.

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Andreas Hinterstoisser

Andreas Hinterstoisser was a German mountain climber active in the 1930s. He died during an attempt to climb the Eiger north face with his partner Toni Kurz. A section of the north face was later named the "Hinterstoisser Traverse" in his honor. The 2008 film North Face was based on his experience climbing the Eiger.

Karl Mehringer was a German mountaineer and climber. Notable for being part of the first team to attempt to climb the Eiger Nordwand or North Face in 1935. He and Max Sedlmeyer climbed as far as the top of the "Flat Iron" feature where they were overtaken by a storm and died. His body was found in 1962 on the second icefield by a German rope team.

Max Sedlmayr was a German mountaineer and climber. A member of the first team to attempt the North Face of the Eiger in 1935. After three days he and Karl Mehringer were overtaken by a storm at the top of the "Flat Iron" feature of the face and both were killed.

Ludwig 'Wiggerl' Vörg was a notable German mountaineer. With Heinrich Harrer, Fritz Kasparek, and Anderl Heckmair, he successfully climbed the north face of the Eiger in 1938, which was regarded as unclimbable at the time. He also made the first ascent of the West Face of Ushba in the Caucasus. Vörg was killed in action on the first day of Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941.

<i>North Face</i> (film)

North Face is a 2008 German historical fiction film directed by Philipp Stölzl and starring Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek, and Ulrich Tukur. Based on the famous 1936 attempt to climb the Eiger north face, the film is about two German climbers involved in a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps.

<i>The Beckoning Silence</i>

The Beckoning Silence is a 2007 British television film that follows and retraces the unsuccessful attempt to scale the north face of the Eiger led by Toni Kurz in 1936. The film features climber Joe Simpson, whose book of the same name inspired the film.

1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster

The 1936 Eiger north face disaster, which began on 18 July 1936, resulted in the death of five climbers during the 1936 climbing season on the north face of the Eiger.


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Willy Angerer

Willy Angerer was an Austrian mountaineer. He was one of four mountaineers who died in the 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster, along with Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Eduard Rainer. At twenty-seven Angerer was the oldest of the four climbers who died.


  1. Grindelwald: The Eiger (PDF), Jungfrau Region Marketing AG, pp. 1, 3, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-28, retrieved 2016-12-28
  2. Wright, Jeff (22 April 2020). "The Eiger North Face". Alpine Vagabonds. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 Gillman, Peter (4 June 2015). Extreme Eiger: The Race to Climb the Direct Route up the North Face of the Eiger. London: Simon & Schuster. p. 30. ISBN   978-1-47113-460-9.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Gilbert, Dave (3 September 2001). "Eiger's grim reputation". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  5. Granbacher, Christian (5 February 2017). "Die 1.800 Meter Wand". ECHO Salzburg (in German). Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  6. Douglas, Ed (17 September 2010). "The 10 best survival stories". The Guardian . Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  7. Ebert, Roger (24 February 2010). "The unforgiving logic of mountain climbing". Reviews. . Retrieved 30 November 2020.

Further reading