North Face (2008) Script

TOURING BOOK BY TONI KURZ


When you're at the bottom Toni once told me - at the foot of the wall... and you look up, you ask yourself:. How can anyone climb that?

Why would anyone even want to?

But hours later when you're at the top...

Looking down, you've forgotten everything...

Except the one person you promised... you would come back to.

THE NORTH FACE

Based on a true story

The "Wall of Death" this perilous Alpine face is often called.

But German flying ace Ernst Udet... fearlessly comes within 20 metres of its icy cliffs... in search of the missing Munich climbers...

Max Mehringer and Karl Sedlmayer.

After forging into the middle of the face, our brave troopers... died in their bivouacs.

After the tragedy, the canton of Berne decreed... that climbing the North Face is strictly forbidden.

But will this piece of paper hold back German youth?

With the Olympic Games approaching, our proud youth senses... not only the peril but also the lure, this challenge of their skills.

For one thing is certain:

The first men to summit will be celebrated as Olympic heroes.

And so the battle cry echoes through Europe: Attack the Eiger North Face!

We must conquer the last problem of the Alps!

BERLIN - MAY 1936 NEWSROOM AT THE BERLINER ZEITUNG

We've contacted every Alpine club. False alarm.

Maybe it's just too early in the season for... mountain climbing.

Die-hard climbers die easier than you think.

Humans are foolhardy by nature.

Do you know what this is?

Not yet, boss.

The Reich Press Secretary... instructs us to focus... on the first ascent of the Eiger.

That's your jurisdiction.

I want a German first ascent soon, or you'll be... climbing it yourself.

Henry, what about that pair from Berchtesgaden?

It was in the local paper. Try to remember...

Two men from the Mountain Brigade, I think, and one of them is named...

Hinterstoisser. Yes, one is Hinterstoisser... and the other...

Henry? Kurz.

What?

What do you mean by "courts"?

Andi Hinterstoisser and Toni Kurz.

Mr. Henze meant them. They'll scale anything tall.

It's all they ever thought about as kids.

Put one and one together.

What have they dreamed about since they were kids?

Graduating from high school, Henze?

Sorry, boss.

About the Eiger, of course. Climbing it first, Olympic gold, etc.

How do you know about them?

Miss...? Fellner.

I'm from Berchtesgaden too. We practically grew up together.

I know almost everything about them.

Oh really?

Everything?

Around noon, after 27 hours of struggle, we summited and shook hands in silence.

It was a hard, Life-renewing battle, for only one who has felt death so near...

...will truly know that Life is dear.

Yes. Your Private Kurz is a mountain poet.

That too? But they're also highly talented.

Goll, Nordwand, Matterhorn, Wartsteinkante...

That was a first ascent. A very difficult climb.

Just this May. Nobody thought it was possible.

Well done!

Why aren't they in Berne attempting to climb the Eiger?

I don't know.

Oh, she doesn't know.

Miss Fellner, come here.

Here.

This will get you 40 marks for travel expenses.

Then go to the stockroom and have them give you a Retina.

And then off you go to Berchtesgaden.

Tell your old friends that the German Reich, especially our editor-in-chief, is counting on them.

Pardon?

Bring back a nice story, child. Go on!

Do your Bavarian alpinists...

Look anything like German heroes?

More German and heroic than either of us.

BERCHTESGADEN - MOUNTAIN BRIGADE GARRISON

Hinterstoisser! Kurz!

Have we learned what curfew means?

Or do you still think scaling mountains... excuses you from looking at your watches?

Company Sergeant sir, we don't own watches.

In that case, Hinterstoisser, I'll tell you... how long it is until quitting time.

Exactly four urinals in the staff building, two company latrines in barrack V, and... one floor in the officer's casino.

Carry on!

Company Sergeant sir, we don't own watches.

Good job!

Heil Hitler.

Bye.


Rope!


We'll never make it this way.

Let's traverse from below.

C'mon, never say never.


Everything OK?

Yeah.

Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.

You need to do more push-ups, Kurz.

But it was a good idea.

Maybe it still needs a little work.

You need to work on hammering in pitons.

Berg Heil, partner, we made it. Berg Heil.

Here's to the new Hinterstoisser-Kurz route!


Angerer and Rainer are going for it.

What?

You know what I'm talking about.

They're climbing the Eiger.

Whatever.

C'mon Toni, we can beat those two left-handed.

I know you, you want to do the Eiger too.

Or why did we scale the south face of the Untersberg?

In the newspaper you yourself wrote... I know what I wrote.

Scared, huh?

I'm not scared of anything.


Hi, Mrs. Kurz, I'm bringing your Toni back home.

Glad you got back safely.

We've got a visitor.

Yes. Here.

I usually don't work in this jacket.

That's OK.

Makes a good impression.

Luise!

Come here.

Hello. Let's have a look at you. Hi.

You look like a regular city girl.

Yeah? Yeah.

You slipped.

Yes.

How is Berlin?

Loud and expensive. I bet!

Hi, Toni. Hello Luise.

Luise is a photo journalist now. Volunteer, Mrs. Kurz.

And what do you do?

For now, in the beginning I mostly make coffee.

For the editors.

Well, well. Not bad.

Yeah sure. Not bad.

I'll just take these things inside.

Maybe you'll come tonight after all?

Now that Luise is coming too.

Where am I coming too?


I'm back.

Same old Andi, hm? Yes.

He's game for anything.

And you?

When did you start smoking? A while ago.

Hey, you two!

I read your article in the local newspaper.

It was great!

My boss read it too. You're the talk of Berlin.

We are?

You and the other top mountaineers.

With the Olympics coming up, they're pushing the Eiger.

They want stories about the first ascent.

Full coverage. That's why you're here?

They gave me the story.

Evening.

Hello, Luise. Hi.

Back in Bavaria? Just temporarily.

Luise is making her career in the capital, Erlberger.

Don't you wish you could too?

I go wherever the Fuhrer needs me.

Who knows why they chose me? But imagine... if you did it! You'd be on the front page.

Berchtesgaden Heroes Conquer Last Problem of the Alps!

Famous all over Germany.

Exactly.

Front page, and no more making coffee.

Except for myself. Cheers!

I'm sure you'll write a terrific story, but not about us, we're skipping the Eiger.

What?

You're skipping the Eiger? No way, I know you.

If you know so much, you must have heard of...

Max Sedlmayer and Karl Mehringer.

We knew both of them, two first-class alpinists.

On the "Death Wall" there's sunshine one minute... and a blizzard the next.

Or you get hit by an avalanche or a rock slide.

That's not climbing.

You can be the best, but it's still a lottery. That's why we're skipping it.

I'm tired.

I'm going home.

Andi, don't forget the curfew. Luise, good luck, see you around.

What was that?

We prefer cleaning latrines these days.


It's just like when we went climbing as kids.

What? Me chasing after you.

I want something I can be proud of too.

And if they print my story...

You must understand that.

I do understand, just find 2 other climbers.

You're so stubborn.

But I always waited for you in the end.

Faster, you can go much faster!

Go!

Lazy bastards.

Look at this joke of a wall. Leave me alone.

No talking! Climb!

I thought you could do this.

Faster!

Thanks.

Next!

What's wrong?

I'm not hungry.

Hey, Andi, how long are you going to be mad at me?

How long are you going to be too coward to even try?

You and I could be the first ones up there.

That's not what climbing is about.

Yes it is, that's exactly what it's about.

I want to prove to the world what I can do and who I am.

I don't have to prove anything to anyone.

I climb for myself.

Understand? For me alone.

Just arrived from Munich.

I imagined it much bigger. On such a tiny...

I don't even know what it's called.

Piton.

Whatever. Just imagine a man's life hangs from this tiny thing.

You've got to be very determined.

They backed down, right?

How do you know?

A reporter's most important tool.

Next, please.

Willy Angerer and Edi Rainer are Austrians, but they're party members.

And apparently top-notch alpinists.

They're camped at the foot of the Eiger.

In the next few days...

I'll be paying the gentlemen a visit.

I see.

Miss Fellner, there'll be other times.

Yes.


Special leave until the end of July?

Are you completely mad, Hinterstoisser?

Reason?

Private business, Company Sergeant.

Don't play me for a fool, Andi!

I'm not stupid.

Company Sergeant, the truth is...

I know what the truth is.

Request denied. Dismissed!

Permission to speak, sir.

It's for a wedding.

You're just what I needed, Kurz.

Well then, who is getting married?

I am, Company Sergeant sir.

You?

And Private Hinterstoisser is to be my best man.

Get out! Both of you!

If we don't get our leave of absence, we quit.

Heil Hitler.

Bye.

Why did you change your mind?

Because what I said wasn't true.

I don't just climb for me.

And someone has to watch out for you.

That's enough, now we need 10 ice pitons.

Crampons, ice axes, carabiners, short and long pick, two times 30 metres of rope, two static chords...

There's no "h" in cords. Who cares?

Two gasoline stoves, a litre of gasoline, a pack of Metas, and so on and so forth.

How much?

Sixty marks. At least.

Plus another 15 for the train.

What train? We're going by bike.

Sure, by bike to Switzerland. That's just 700 km, right?

Miss Fellner?

Just a second.

OK.

Evening.

Working so late?

Yes...

The man in the photo department, he...

What about him?

He said that after we go to press it's alright... for me to print my photos.

Very nice. Really.

Very good.

Really very good.

You take excellent photos, Miss Fellner.

Thank you.

Ever been to Switzerland?

No.

We should be there by tomorrow.

Are you excited too?

Yeah.

I can see her already.

Who?

The bride, beautiful, very beautiful, just a little tall next to you.

3,970 metres, all rock and ice.

Love at first sight, right?

I'm not so sure.

The train goes straight through the mountain... all the way up to the Jungfrau.

3,457 metres.

Fancy that!

Just look at the landscape!

Isn't it splendid?

Fabulously splendid.

Darling, you didn't even look.

The middle station. This is where our hotel is.

Four stars, at over 2,000 metres!

I can see mountains on the Riviera.

From the seaside.

There it is!

TUESDAY, JULY 14 MIDDLE STATION KLEINE SCHEIDEGG - 2,061 M

What a circus.

Colossal.

Come!

A "sea of ice," Darling. The seaside!

Tours to the Maiden Saddle.

I'm too old to be saddling maidens.

Glacier tours!

Look who's coming.

Bartolo Sandri and Mario Menti.

Who are they? Italians.

Another couple of fools.

Come in a train, leave in a coffin.

Quite a place, hm?

You know what the best part is?

It all counts as travel expenses.

Hello. Arau.

Mr. Arau. Yes.

You have a magnificent room with a view of the North Face.

Your wife will be delighted.

Too bad we're just colleagues.


Pretty busy up here.

All crackpots like you.

Well? Nice room?

Yes. It's even got a bathtub.

Really?

I don't suppose it's that cozy down there.

I'll start a fire and cook dinner.

You finish pitching the tent.

Are we married or something?

Don't talk, pet! Work!

Now I know! You remind me of my mother.

I am your mother. Grandmother.

Mother-in-law.

And that's the spirit of the German conqueror... manifested in the battle against the mountain.

Bound together in life and death, the climbing partners dream of ice and rock.

Do you see?

The reader has to feel Like he's really there, that's what makes a good story.

The German soldier dreams of when, having fought to the summit, the world shall lie at his feet, and above him shall stretch the limitless sky.

That's a mouthful.

I adore this kind of thing.

Yeah?

You adore Richard Wagner too.

In any case, with great photos, no one reads the words anyway.

Did you see the French team's iron?

They won't get as far as the Rote Fluh.

The Dagos don't even have ice axes.

Look who's coming.

Mr. Angerer and Mr. Rainer from Salzburg.

Hello, boys.

Look who we have here. Heil Hitler.

We wondered where you were.

After all, this is a gathering of professionals.

Were you on the wall today? Scouting around?

No.

Picking mushrooms.

How high did you get - picking mushrooms?

What's for dinner?

Barley soup.

You say the German alpinist... dreams of the limitless sky?

Very interesting.

Would this be race-specific?

I wonder, for example: What does... the Austrian dream of?

A Greater Germany.

At least the Aryans among you.

I wouldn't know if that also applies to you.

I was talking about mountaineers.

Now they are a breed of their own, hm?

Aren't you homesick for Austria?

Schuschnigg... can't hold out much longer.

When Germany annexes Austria, we'll be home in the wink of an eye.

And then we call the shots.

It'll be our turn then. Aha.

I don't know if I could take being exiled.

Did you see our iron?

Steel pitons, rope, only the best, and all paid for by the SA.

What do you have to do in return?

Be the first ones at the top.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 15 The tunnel has a total length of 7.4 km.

And it took 15 years to build.

Cost?

16 million Swiss francs.

Behind this wooden door is one of the galleries... that opens out on the North Face.

From here, excavated rock was dumped straight into the abyss.

We are now just shy of 3,000 metres above sea level.

Sedlmayer and Mehringer started here... and climbed straight upward.

Tedious, it's so steep you'd need a piton every metre.

I think...

we should climb diagonally.

Head for the gallery window.

And stash gear there?

Yes. Bivouac sacks, ice pitons, food, etc.

EIGERWAND STATION - 2,865 M

Careful, ladies and gentlemen!


Amazing! It goes down forever!

Nearly 1,000 metres, Madam.

Wow!

Darling, did you hear that?

Thanks, I believe it already.

That anyone would voluntarily go out there!

You've got to really want it.

Then across the crack to the Rote Fluh...

First ice field, second ice field, the Flatiron, the Ramp, the Spider, then a good exit crack to the summit ice field, and hallelujah!

Did you hear that?

What?

You didn't hear it.

Careful!

For crying out loud! What are you doing?

I knew it.

What?

I was just like you when I started.

When you want something, you forget everything else.

Still here?

You're up here every day?

Every day and every night.

Sit down. I'll make tea. Miss Fellner, come.

You must have a name, hm?

Von Allmen. What was that?

Von Allmen.

It looks sinister - the mountain. Don't you think so?

It is sinister.

Do you know the legend of the giant ogre?

What's the guy's name?

The mountain is named after it.

Eiger. Ogre. Do you follow?

The legend says the ogre lives in the mountain... and devours everyone who gets too close.

THURSDAY, JULY 16 You can't see 5 metres in this fog. So?

Just a few rope lengths to the gallery window.

We'll hammer a piton, stash our gear, and be back down for lunch.

And? What are we having?

Barley soup.

Again? I'm staying here.

Rope!


No man has ever been up there.

That will change.

What are you doing at our entry point?

Our entry point.

Our entry point.

What's your problem, bozo?

Berg Heil, mountaineer. Get lost!

What did they say?

It's too risky for them.

And the weather doesn't look rosy either.

Meaning what?

If the Austrians back down too, the boss will wonder why he's paying our expenses.

Luise?

Andi?

What are you doing here?

Working.

This is my colleague, Mr. Arau.

My pleasure. Henry Arau, Berliner Zeitung.

Andi Hinterstoisser, Mountain Brigade - retired.

Thought you didn't care about the Eiger.

Who's your partner?

Who do you think?

Toni?

Looks like it.

There you go! A full-scale attack... with a German team.

Can I buy you a drink?

Yes.

I mean after you... change your clothes.

I suppose I could shave.

The iron pitons for the ice fields... Ice pitons.

Ice pitons.

Your equipment must weigh a ton.

We use a depot to save energy.

You'll do a reconnaissance climb?

Already have.

How high? Just under the Rote Fluh.

But that's nowhere near the Sedlmayer route.

We're taking our own route.

I don't understand a thing.

But I find it terribly adventurous.

Alright, then here's to adventure, ladies and gentlemen.

As long as a big pile of limestone... is all the German heroes are out to attack... and conquer, I don't mind.

Pride, Mr. Landauer, pride is what this is about.

The pride of facing a challenge, whether it be in sports or politics.

To this I raise my glass.

Hear, hear!

I'd Iike to propose a toast too.

That you... all return safely.

That's the important thing.

That's what you wanted to say, Mr. Arau, isn't it?

Yes, let's drink to that.

Cheers!

Cheers!

And now tell us how it was growing up together... in the mountains. It's great fodder for our story.

Fodder is for animals.

Just like the good old days, they've always been cocky.

Isn't it colossally lonely so high up?

No.

I have my partner with me. Yes, true.

I tagged along and made them teach me everything.

Can you imagine it?

For example, catching a trout with your bare hand.

It's not easy. Very slippery.

Real difficult.

Or how to pitch a tent.

Or ropes?

Right, later how to wind ropes, how to drive pitons into the wall.

How to find the best hand- and footholds.

I never wore skirts, always just lederhosen. True.

Really?

That's wonderful.

Tell me more!

C'mon.

Where did you learn that? Did you teach yourself?

My piano teacher boxed my ears, so I quit... and just played in bars after that.

Thanks for the invite.

Won't you stay a bit? It's just starting to get fun.

It's late.

A true athlete, hm?

Disciplined, no loafing about, am I right?

We each make our own decisions in life.

Yes, that's true.

We each make our own decisions.

One has to take risks Then life's a game I say let's be reckless Rather than feckless What good is that?

All these newfangled things That life brings, we just need to be bold We want to be gay, to laugh, act silly and daft And it all works out in the end Take the bull by the horns, don't hesitate For if you falter, you rust

Faster, faster Onward, don't wait Into the wild blue yonder or bust


FRIDAY, JULY 17


It'll get better, you'll see.

You know what's sad?

We'll always be deprived of the real dramas.

What do you mean?

We and the readers.

We report on the hubbub at the Eiger beforehand.

And perhaps on a successful ascent afterwards.

But what really takes place out there... is something we can only guess at.

I wish it were already over.

I wish it would finally get underway.


I wanted to tell you last night...

that I was a little tipsy.

I'd appreciate you looking after this.

But you always take it with you.

Too heavy.

Too heavy?

I can write my entry afterwards.

You could, but...

Everything I've ever done is in there.

It would be a shame if it got lost.

See you in a bit!

Wake up!

It's time.

Yes. Yes, it's time.

Don't make so much noise!

You'll wake up the competition.

SATURDAY, JULY 18 - 2:10 A.M.


We're off to a good start, hm?

What is it? Nothing.

Let's keep going.

You lead.

Watch out!

Do you smell what I smell? Sulfur.

Stinks like the devil.

At least they're showing us the way.

We'll pass those eager beavers before they hit the first ice field.

Look! We're almost at the depot.

If the storm didn't take it.

Could have been worse, huh?

Damn!

What?

The crampons are gone.

Not much ice anyway. We cut steps.

Hallelujah.


Morning, gentlemen.

Rock!

...at the North Face the wheat has finally separated from the chaff.

Paragraph. Got that?

Pass that ashtray!

Early this morning two fully equipped teams started... up the wall.

The lull is over, the last problem of the Alps... is under attack.

Shit.

Let me see. It's OK, I'm fine. Hands off!

I thought that was you.

Quit knocking rocks down on us! What?

You kicked the rocks loose.

If you're climbing in our fall line, keep your distance!

Three mountaineers... No, four.

From there, this way.

We have a different entry point. The Sedlmayer route is more to the left.

Kurz and Angerer started here, climbed to here...

Here's the window to the cog railway.

They cross over here and enter the first ice field... and hit the Mehringer-Sedlmayer route, climb up, over the second ice field...

What do you say to this beautiful weather?

I doubt it will hold.

The French and Italian teams didn't set out.

It's like at a gladiator fight! Positively gruesome.

I find it colossally exciting!

Waiter!

If something happened up there, would you rescue them?

We aren't legally required to. No.

What is he doing? Who?

He's hardly using any protection.

Who? One of the Austrians.

If he slips, that's an entire rope length.

Ah, there they are! Our hardy Mountain Brigade.

Clearly the better climbers.

Technically superior. They might summit tomorrow...

May I... I've got this covered.

You make sure we have enough shots of the spectators...

Where is your camera? Right here.

No sleeping, get to work!

Look, show me I didn't make a mistake with you!

Step aside!

Get your own magic eyepiece!

1:15 P.M. ROTE FLUH - 2,823 M Well? No.

End of the line.

It's pointless. You need a piton every metre.

Yeah, if you can even find a place to sink them.

This is a lousy route.

You could take a different one.

No one is forcing you to stick to us like glue.

We'll traverse this slab, climb up the chimney, and cross over the ice field.

You can't cross here!

You always say "never say never."

Have fun, gentlemen. See you at the top.

Though I doubt you'll make it.

We'll rappel to a lower point and cross there.

I saw a good spot.

Look!


That was historic, wasn't it? Historic.

Where is she with her camera?

Hinterstoisser Traverse.

You'll be famous for that.

Mind if we cross?

What's this? The Austrians are coming along too.

I thought they were the competition.

Wait. What?

Maybe we should leave the rope here.

The whole rope?

We're going to need it. Maybe.

Are we a team now? Not on your life.

Then why did you let us over?

So things wouldn't get boring.

In case we have to come back.

Now you're being overly cautious.

Up there, that's the way to Berlin.

3:30 P.M. FIRST ICE FIELD - 2,980 M


It stinks without crampons. Who needs them?

They Austrians don't have any either. Yeah, that does help.

What's with those sissies?

Have they given up already?

8:30 P.M.

Toni it'll be dark soon.

Let's find a nice b&b?

FIRST BIVOUAC - 3,100 M

We're more than halfway.

We might make it by tomorrow.

Yeah. And ahead of them!


Ladies and gentlemen, the house presents this cake... to celebrate the first ascent of the Eiger North Face.

It won't be long now.

Tomorrow the Eiger will be conquered - today you can consume a piece of it.

Bon appetit!

Give me one of those darling climbers, please.

You're lucky, Madam. Bon appetit!

If it were at least an Austrian.

Tomorrow evening... we'll be down there surrounded by women... basking in a hot bathtub... like heroes.

You'll see.

You don't look good at all.

It's not a beauty contest.

I just need a little sleep.

A little sleep.

Well? Did you take care of the film?

Yes, it's all on its way to Berlin.

See, that's how I like it.

Want a taste?

Carved it out of the Eiger with the sweat of my own brow.

It's delicious.

Being there when history is being written gives you the shivers too.

Or am I wrong?

It's possible.

Maybe you know me better than I do.

Likely.

And thanks to what?

Well trained tool.

Wake me if there's an avalanche.

And turn down the wind.

SUNDAY, JULY 19 - 6:05 A.M.


Morning. Morning.


Come here.

No.

That's it, Willy.

We're going back down.

I'm fine.

You just need to wake up.

Willy, you need a doctor.

I'm fine.

You'll never summit like that, Willy, never.

Shut up, Edi! Don't ever say that again...

Are you crazy? What's with you?

Have you lost your mind?

I need to get up there.

It's no use. Look, the doctor is down there.

There's nothing down there. Nothing.

Just up there.

Wake up, then you'll see it too.

11:15 A.M. SECOND ICE FIELD - 3,150 M


That one is Angerer, right? Have a look.

Left of that funny spike.

Yes. He's acting strange.

The guides say we can forget today.

And at this pace, they won't make it tomorrow either.

That means bivouacking twice more?

Yes.

The weather isn't changing. So, no summit push today.

C'mon, let's have a drink.


What's wrong?

It must be Karl and Max' things.


Your compatriot from Munich?

Yes.

My condolences.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Take care!

How's Angerer doing anyway?

He's not faking it, that's for sure.

Can you see anything?

More or less.

It looks like they're one team now.

But one is in bad shape.


C'mon, wake up!

3:40 P.M. FLAT IRON - 3,350 M


Quick, tie a tourniquet!

You should have taken your own route.

You really should have.

Shit, shit!

We have to turn around.

Turn around, why?

Because he won't make it to the top.

If we don't hurry, he'll bleed to death.

Listen, I can manage.

You keep going.

I'll rope him down alone. I'll manage.

Alone? I can do it.

Don't be ridiculous, you'll never manage. I can do it.

It's a good idea. I'll manage.

It's a very good idea.

And we go on.

To the summit.

If we leave the two of them alone, they'll both die.

Alright then, we'll do it together.

We'll go up together.

We'll pull him up with us. We can do it.

Don't be silly.

This is screwed, and we both know it.

Why did I listen to you?

We should just leave you behind.

It would serve you right, Willy.

Our only chance is over the summit.

Forget the summit!

It beats going down here.

We'll cross over the west ridge and get help.

We don't know what awaits us up there, and by the time we get down,

he'll be dead.

I promise you that.

We have to get to the top.

We have to keep going.

Why did I listen to you?


SECOND BIVOUAC - 3,250 M

Then pull him out of the meeting!

Tell him the tables are turning.

Yes, of course, I'll wait.

Is something wrong?

It's over, mission aborted.

What?

Retreat. The Salzburger bailed out.

Yes, I'm still here.

Hello, boss.

Listen, I can't keep it together.

Those two don't care about the politics anyway.

It would have been hard to fashion them into German heroes.

Yes, thanks. See you back in Berlin.

Are we leaving too? Yes, it looks like it.

Shouldn't we stay and report on what happens up there?

I don't want to patronize you, child, but you either need a glorious triumph... or a horrible tragedy.

An unspectacular retreat... is nothing more than a few lines on page 3.

There's no need to stay for that.

MONDAY, JULY 20


Whoever said it's faster going down!

We're in for a snowstorm.

Shit.


Over this way.

This way!


In this storm they won't have made much progress.

Do you think so?

I'm certain.

Let's just hope... they've found a decent place to bivouac.

Otherwise...

Maybe I should postpone my departure.

It might be worth it to stay.

I'm a reporter, what do you expect?

Are you not also human?

From time to time.

Maybe my nose is wrong this time.

THIRD BIVOUAC - 3,170 M


Don't fall asleep or you'll freeze!


TUESDAY, JULY 21 - 5:20 A.M.


Where are you?

For heaven's sake, child!

What are you doing up this early?

You'll catch your death of cold.

There are people on the wall.

They're somewhere near the Rote Fluh, that's 200 m away from here, we're almost on the east ridge here.

They'll never hear you in this wind.

We'd have to go over to gallery window 38.

Here it is.

Watch your head!

8:50 A.M. GALLERY WINDOW - 2,711 M Careful!

It's icy.

Child!

Where are you?

Why can't they hear us?

Who knows how far away they are?

Let's come back later, maybe the storm will have died down.

We'll come back later.

Wait!

I think I heard something.

It's Toni.

That's Andi.

We hear you.

We're coming down.

We're coming.

C'mon, child.

Where? To make some tea.

How much farther is it?

Can't be far. Yes.

Another four metres.

C'mon, a little further.

There, my Willy, we have a nice warm spot reserved for you.

But you have to climb into the bathtub alone.

Shit!

My arm.

It's completely stiff.

Keep moving your fingers! At least a little.

I can't feel anything.

Nothing.

It will thaw.

Once you're sitting in front of the stove.

Yes, you're right.

Just a little further. Yes.

Willy, we're going to make it, OK?

We're almost there.


10:15 A.M. ROTE FLUH - 2,823 M Have you got him?

What's wrong?

The traverse...

Shit!

The rope.

He pulled out the rope.

He pulled out the rope.

Shut up, Willy!

It's your fault we're in trouble. Leave him alone, he doesn't know what he's saying.

I made it here.

I'll make it back.


C'mon, Andi.


It's taking so long.

Maybe they climbed past and didn't see the ledge.

Again!


I'm going out again.


We have to... go straight down and then... cross from below.

It's our only chance.

Who knows how far that is?

We don't have enough rope.

If we don't find a ledge, we're goners.

If an avalanche comes, we're goners here too.

What do you mean you think so?

Did he see her or not?

Damn it, she's not in her room, so...

Mr. Arau, please.

I need a guide immediately. Yes, we'll see to it.

Put me through to Heinrich, please.

And don't forget our package.


Miss Fellner.

What are you doing here? My God, what happened?

We don't know yet.

Wait, Miss Fellner.

Luise...

I knew I was right about you.

You're just like me.

You smell the stories before anyone else.

Here, here, here.

They'll be the photos of your life.

I'm not here to take pictures.


Belay off!

Pass me a few pitons, I've run out!

Avalanche.

Release the rope!

Get out of the gully!


1:30 P.M.


Help! Climb up to me!

C'mon, you can do it!

You have to climb up.

Further, you can do it.

Andi, hurry!

Quick, the piton is coming out.

The piton's coming out.

Quick!

See that you get home!

No!


I can't. You have to come to me.

Eine Lawine!

3:00 P.M.

From gallery window 38, if the storm doesn't blow him off the wall, you can reach him.

Hans.

It'll never work.

If you take on the wall in this weather...

It's your own fault.

We all have wives and children.

Is the man up there with you?

Yes.

He's with me.


Need crampons?

Son of a bitch!

There he is.

Maybe one or two rope lengths.

Can you hear us?

I'm up here.

Here.

You have to come from above, through the crack.

What did he say?

I didn't quite catch it.

To come from above, through the crack.

What, with this ice?

You'll never get up there. Yeah, I know.

But it might work in the crack.

Hang in there!

It's taking too long.

7:30 P.M.

It'll be night soon.

Yes, I noticed.

It's no use.

We have to go back immediately.

No.

No, don't go!

You have to come here.

Come up to me!

Please don't go now!

I won't last much longer.

Please, come up here!

You can't leave.

I don't want to die.

I don't want to die.

We're sorry.

He'll freeze out there.

Won't he?

No one can get to him in this weather.

No one.

Nothing we can do.


9:00 P.M.


You won't die!

We'll come get you... as soon as it's light out.

I'm here, I won't leave you, Toni.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 22 - 8:00 AM.

Do you have the 60 m rope?

Good, he can pull it up with a cord.

Do you really think he... It would take hours to get up to him, so he has to rappel to us.

I meant... I know what you meant.

But even if he's dead, we have to get him.


We're here!

You could use a guardian angel like that, hm?

Look where she's sitting.

She has to get down or she'll fall!

If she was there all night, she won't fall now.

C'mon!

You have to pull up a rope, then you can rappel to us.

Do you have anything for pulling up a rope?

A static cord or something?

I don't have any cord.

No cord.

I have no cord.

Can you unravel a piece of rope... and tie the strands together?

I'll try.


Why is it taking so long?

Your beau must be half frozen by now.

But he'll pull through.

How far are you?

I still need a little while.

1:1 0 P.M.

Departure to the Eigerwand stations in 15 minutes.


Christian, get it!

I've got it.

You can pull it up now.

You'll have your beau back again soon.

That's not sixty metres.

The other rope, quick!

The long ropes are inside on the right. Run!

Please.

And the climbing ropes too!


Damn!

He'll have to jump the last few metres.

What?

I'm coming.


Toni, take the weight off it!

Don't give up, Toni.

Try, Toni.

Do it.

You can do it.

You have to take the weight off, then it might slip through.

Try it, Toni!

He'll die.

Please.

He'll die.

Come back, you'll kill yourself.

No, secure her!


Try again!

Take the weight off!

C'mon.

Try again!

It's me, Luise.

Please.


Please, Toni.

Hang in there!

Grab the rope.

Grab it!

Toni, please.

C'mon.

I'm so cold.


Have you recovered Toni Kurz' body yet?

No, he's still up there.

Did they find the others?

No.


I'm sorry.

Believe me, I'm terribly sorry.

Listen, what I said...

Last night...

I don't want you to think I...

It's a terrible tragedy.

But Germany will never forget these men.

Believe me.

I'll take you home.

I'll take you back to Berlin.

I'm not going back to Berlin.

I'm not going back.

There are too many people like you there.


All I know is... that death spared me... and that Toni went away forever that day.

One has lived if one has loved.

There are times when I find this infinitely hard to believe.

Most days I feel that I am alive.

And that love is... the reason for that.


The first ascent of the Eiger North Face took place in 1938.

The German-Austrian climbing party followed Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser's route.

The Nazis declared it an athletic symbol of the recent annexation... of Austria into the German Reich.

The "Last great problem of the Alps" had been conquered.