Eiger North Face attempt: Jerry’s Insulin Challenge 2015

Posted by Tina Gardner on 07/04/2015
Snow slopes at the foot of the Eiger North Face

Well-known alpinist Jerry Gore is teaming up with BMC Ambassador Calum Muskett to make a speed ascent of the Eiger North Face this spring. Aiming for between 6 to 8 hours instead of the usual 2 days, their attempt will take place between 20 April and 3 May 2015 and will raise money to help young diabetics in the Philippines.

In 2001, successful mountaineer, businessman, and father, Jerry Gore was diagnosed a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic. Rising to the challenge, and ever faithful to his catchphrase “Diabetes is NOT an excuse”, each year Jerry undertakes an Insulin Challenge to create awareness about diabetes and to raise money for diabetics in emerging countries who depend on insulin for their very survival.

Jerry's Insulin Challenge 2015 on the North Face of the Eiger will take the original 1938 route (1800m), which is considered to be a world class objective by aspiring alpinists. For the committed alpinist it is a serious undertaking, for which 2-3 days is the standard time.

Jerry, 54, and Calum, 21, climbing fast, often unroped and carrying only minimal climbing protection, aim to complete this extreme climb in 6-8 hours. The Eiger North Face team speed record is 4h25m by Roger Schaeli and Simon Gietl.

Swiss speed demon Ueli Steck holds the fastest "all-free solo" ascent which he did in 2h 47m back in 2008. In 2011, Dani Arnold climbed it in 2h 28m using some aid on the Hinterstoisser traverse and beneath the exit cracks.

Jerry is one of the UK’s leading expedition mountaineers over a 30 year career. He is internationally renowned and has climbed extreme new routes on 6 continents. Calum Muskett is mountaineer and climber, and a BMC ambassador. Calum and Jerry have done speed ascents in the Dolomites and Calum was Jerry’s climbing partner on his successful Wall of Paine expedition to Patagonia in 2013.

To get fit for this challenge, and to give himself any chance of keeping up with Calum (30 years his junior) Jerry is having to do alternate days of 1000m vertical trail runs carrying 14kg rucksacks, with 4 hour weight sessions or stamina training at indoor climbing walls. 

The stats:

  • Since 1935, more than 70 climbers have died attempting the North Face of the Eiger, earning it the German nickname Mordwand, literally "murder(ous) wall".
  • The North Face of the Eiger is the biggest north wall in the Alps, and is also arguably the most dangerous. Get caught in a big storm and you can find yourself trapped in the firing line of vicious avalanches, rockfall and, in bad conditions devastating waterfalls.
  • Height of mountain: 3,970m. Vertical height of route: 1,700m. Grade ED2, IV+
  • First ascent: Heinrich Harrer, Anderl Heckmair, Fritz Kasparek and Ludwig Vörg, July 21-24 1938
  • Fastest team ascent: The Eiger North Face team speed record is 4h25m by Roger Schaeli and Simon Gietl. Second fastest time is Ueli steck and Bruno schläppi (5h5min) and third fastest is Michael Wohlleben and Fritz Miller (5h10min)
  • Fastest all-free solo ascent: 13 February 2008 - Ueli Steck in 2 hours, 47 minutes
  • Fastest solo ascent: In 2011, Dani Arnold climbed it in 2h 28m using some aid on the Hinterstoisser traverse and beneath the exit cracks.

Insulin for life:

The charity that Jerry supports is Insulin For Life (IFL), a NFP global organisation based in Australia. IFL collects and distributes life-saving insulin and other diabetes supplies that would otherwise be destroyed. Together with IFL Jerry has set up The Philippines Project, the aim of which is to send donated insulin to the Cebu region in the Philippines for use by people who desperately need insulin to stay alive. During his visit to the Philippines in 2014 Jerry came face to face with the grim reality of impoverished families struggling daily to obtain insulin for their dying children. 100 percent of all monies raised will go direct to The Philippines Project.

Sir Michael Hirst, President of The International Diabetes Federation, reporting recently on the work that IFL does, and the effect it has on the families that IFL help’s, said this: “It is uplifting to experience their enthusiasm for life, and the gratitude of them and their families; and very sobering and humbling to reflect that without that aid, they would be mere memories in the minds of their families”.

To get a sense of what this challenge really involves this video of Ueli Steck's solo speed climb on the Eiger is extremely relevant:

Calum and Jerry will make their attempt between 20 April and 3 May 2015. They will train and live in Grindelwald, Switzerland, at the base of the Eiger, as they prepare for the climb.

You can sponsor this challenge via Jerry's Insulin Challenge Facebook page. For further information please contact Jerry Gore direct: 0871 218 0080 / +33 689 19 75 63 / jerry@alpbase.com     

WATCH: An autumn one day ascent of the Eiger North Face on BMC TV:

WATCH: a short film about the Mammut 360 Project which enables viewers to watch an ascent of the Eiger through the eyes of the climber on BMC TV:

WATCH: BMC Ambassador Calum Muskett on BMC TV

WATCH: Ueli Steck, the alpine machine, on BMC TV

 


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