Sarah Rowell: The Eiger

International running legend Sarah Rowell recently spent a fortnight experiencing everything the Alps had to offer – both weather AND activity-wise – in a bid to summit the fearsome Eiger.

sarah rowell the eiger | Montane

Our plan had been to have a few days doing some acclimatisation via long days in the hills, then the Eiger followed by Dufourspitze.  The changing weather meant that had to be flexed quite a bit, so the final plan became a more schizophrenic affair, with a mix of short and long days spent at varying intensities trying to acclimatise:

Day 1 – 5 hr 30 above Les Contamines including going up to the Tete de la Cicle (2552m), exploring new trails, using the Via Claw – which was perfect for this type of trip and carrying the layers – hard walking/scrambling over boulders.

Sarah Rowell with her VIA Trail Series Pack in the foothills of the EigerPhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 2 – another longish day – 6 hours above Sallanches with friends, going up over the Petit Patre (1915m) again using the Via Claw and carrying the other tops on good trails.

Day 3 – easier day, doing the local Passy Via ferratta – again using the Via Claw which when expanded took harness, kit and helmet happily.

Sarah Rowell Petit Verte | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 4 – met up with Ben Braford the guide for a 3 hour extended Petite Aiquille Verte above the Grand Monet lift – first outing with the Featherlite Alpine Pack and wearing the Long Sleeve Dart Zip Neck under a climbing jacket (photo attached), mixing crampon and rock.

Sarah Rowell Perron | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 5 – 6 hr 30 min on an extended Perrons traverse above the Emosson Dam in Switzerland, wearing the Long Sleeve Dart Zip Neck and this time using an older Montane pack (the anaconda18!) as no ice or snow involved.

Day 6 – Drove over to Italy and walked into the Quintiono Sella hut with kit for 2 days, but the plan changed again.

Sarah Rowel Monte Visto | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 7 – 4am breakfast and then a 8 hour round trip going up the Monte Viso East ridge (quality scrambling for 5 hours) and then back down the normal route , followed by walking back to the car – a 10 hour day…wearing the Long Sleeve Dart Zip Neck and using the Featherlite Alpine Pack.

Day 8 – not a lot!!! A quick swim.

Sarah Rowell climbing the Eiger | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 9 – easier day climbing the Index – again using my older Montane pack (photo attached) and more focused climbing – for me anyway.

Day 10 – rest day, doing new St Gervais Via Ferratta, so back to the Via Claw.

Day 11 – drive to Grund and make a last minute weather change, heading for the Monchsjoch hut rather than the Mittellegi Hut where there was new snow falling.

Sarah Rowell Scrambling up a chute on the Eiger | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 12 –  a lie in and 6am breakfast before a 5 hour traverse of the Monch, up the south west ridge and down the south east – really tested the robustness of the Featherlite Alpine Pack with some new cave like scrambling .through small gaps not helped by a layer of verglas, wearing the Long Sleeve Dart Zip Neck.

Sarah Rowell traversing the ridgeline | MontanePhoto Credit: Ben Bradford

Day 13 – 3am breakfast and then 7 hr 30 out and back along the south ridge of the Eiger (the Mittellegi being full), wearing the Long Sleeve Dart Zip Neck and Featherlite Alpine Pack.


                    Fem Dart Long Sleeve Zip Neck

                         VIA Trail Series Claw 14 Pack

                                         Featherlite Alpine 35

fem dart zip neck long sleeve | Montane womens via claw 14 | Montane featherlite alpine 35 alpine red | montane
Absolutely brilliant and my go to top of choice now – fits well, light, comfy and warm, whether as a base layer or with a short underneath – I wore it on all the big climbing days and even after 3 in a row was not that pungent – unless really cold it will be used for the OMM later this year

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A great piece of kit and used for longer hill days or when via Ferrttaing (where it expands well enough to take all you need) – I am not that big and it was great to be able to get it tight around the waist.  I have a couple of competitor versions which will now languish in the drawer and not get used….

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Used on all the major climbs and done without the back padding – I was a little worried that, compared to others I saw in huts the material would not be robust enough, but even after some near cave crawling techniques with rough rock there are no scuff marks or tears in it.  I will try it next with the backpack.  Again, a great piece of kit

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