Night Climbing

Finding a safe place to sleep on a raw, wintry incline proves arduous.

On the Eiger Winter Expedition in 1975, Joe Tasker and Dick Renshaw climbed into the night to find a suitable broad ledge they recalled from their summer ascent that would make a safe place to sleep. It could be reached at the summit of the sheer ice face before them.  Joe lead: ‘In spite of myself I felt a thrill at the performance of climbing in the dark,’ (Savage Arena) and Dick followed using a prusik clamp that allowed movement up the rope but not down. When they reached the remembered ledge they found they had to dig for three hours to carve out a sleeping platform and Joe looked down to a pool of light below; the hotel at Scheidegg Station.  Imagining the holiday makers and skiers in the bar, Joe wished he did not feel the compulsion to climb.

Joe and Dick often climbed in the very early hours of the morning when the night temperatures had frozen loose snow and rock into a more stable terrain.

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