A VISNEWS cameraman flew March 10 over the 13,042-foot Eiger Mountain in central Switzerland where 4 courageous alpinists - three Germans and an Austrian - were on the fifth day of their attempt to achieve the first ever winter ascent of this sheer wall of ice.
AERIALS: Towards mountain.
North-west approach to Eiger.
Closer - north-east face.
North face - moving east.
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Background: A VISNEWS cameraman flew March 10 over the 13,042-foot Eiger Mountain in central Switzerland where 4 courageous alpinists - three Germans and an Austrian - were on the fifth day of their attempt to achieve the first ever winter ascent of this sheer wall of ice.
That day, with the summit only 1,600 feet above them, they moved forward only 100 yards. Nobody has ever climbed beyond this point and returned down the north face alive.
At night they bivouacked at the top of the "Waterfall" - a mass of ice hanging over the mountain. Many observers were alarmed at their slow rate of progress. Swiss guides said that the men may be too tired to proceed further. It was also feared that the good weather might be breaking up.
But all were full of admiration for the apparently strong physical condition of the climbers.
Next day, Mar 11, they heroically continued their ascent, passed the hazardous, ice-sheathed "Point of No Return", and by mid-morning had reached "The Ledge of the Gods" - a horizontal band of protruding rocks at an altitude of about 11,480 feet.
Later, they passed the ledge and split up into two roped parties to climb the "Ice-field of the White Spider", about 750 feet high, and the most difficult part of the wall. They were expected to spend the sixth night of their ascent at the top of this ice-field. Their altitude would then be 12,138 feet.
The alpinists are: Toni Heibeler aged 31, leader Anton Kinshofer, 28; Anton Mannhardt, 22 - all Germans - and 27-year-old Austrian Walter Almberger. They started the climb with enough food for 6 or 7 days.