Sport: Taming der Eiger

Dark and forbidding, the great triangle of granite rises 13,040 ft. out of the Swiss Alps. Men were dying on its sheer sides as far back as the 12th century, when the monks named it der Eiger, or the Ogre.

Even in the summertime, the north wall of der Eiger is still one of the great climbs in the world—17 men have died there since 1935. But not until this month did any climbers dare tackle the north wall in the winter, when the storms that swirl down from the peaks can snuff out a party in one capricious attack.

Leader of the...