The Eiger North Face, towering over 1,800 metres Winkler
On August 3 1957 Claudio Corti and Stefano Longhi of Italy began the climb of the north face, followed two days later by two Germans: Günther Nothdurft and Franz Mayer. The two rope teams encountered difficulties and joined up to continue the climb. The media and curious onlookers flocked to the Kleine Scheidegg to follow the dramatic events on the mountain. Winkler
The rope team got into increasingly serious difficulties. International mountain climbers debated a rescue operation, but the locals were sceptical. On August 9 Longhi fell and could not be saved by his fellow climbers. He lay exposed to the cold with little food and drink. Not long afterwards Corti was hit by a rock. The Germans continued to climb to try to fetch help. Winkler
A 50-strong international team of climbers started the arduous ascent on August 10. The actual rescue was to take place from the summit. Winkler
On the summit, the rescuers made ready for the arrival of material and the climbers. Winkler
On August 11, after an abseil of 300 metres, one of the rescuers reached the injured Corti, who was brought to the summit in a gruelling ascent. Thanks to international cooperation, it was the first time a climber had been rescued from the north face. Winkler
Another rescuer abseiled down to bring up Longhi, who had been trapped in the wall for three days and two nights. The weather turned bad and the rescue was delayed. After the rescuer's words of encouragement "Veniamo domani" (We will come tomorrow), the Italian responded in his dialect: "Fam, frecc" (hunger, cold). Longhi died the following night. His body lay on the north face for two years. There was no trace of the two Germans. Winkler
In a break during the descent, Corti receives refreshment after days on the wall without food. Winkler
Difficult abseil work on a steep part of the rock. Winkler
Italian construction workers employed by the Jungfrau Railway show their relief at the successful rescue of their compatriot. Winkler
Corti with a picture of his Eiger partner Longhi. Allegations in the press that Corti was responsible for the death of his friend, and may have also played a part in the deaths of the two Germans, put him under great stress. Winkler
The bodies of Nothdurft and Mayer were found on September 22, 1961 on the Eiger's west flank, proving that Corti had nothing to do with the deaths of the two Germans. Winkler
Few mountain accidents have stirred so much emotion in Switzerland as the tragedy that took place on the Eiger North Face in August, 1957.
This content was published on July 24, 2013 - 11:00
Three climbers died but one was spectacularly rescued in an effort involving an international team of 50 alpinists. The fallen climbers were from Italy and Germany.
In their book "Corti-Drama: Tod und Rettung am Eiger 1957-1961", (Corti Drama: Death and Rescue on the Eiger 1957-1961), authors Daniel Anker and Rainer Rettner describe and comment on the media event of the time. The 2007 book from the AS publishing house features photographs by Albert Winkler.
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