The movie portrays an attempt in 1936 to summit the Eiger via the north face by two competing climbing teams. The more prominently featured pair of German climbers are Furmann and Lukas from Berchtesgaden who have left the German army in order to make their attempt. (Berchtesgaden is now widely known as the location of Hitler's home throughout that decade.) They are portrayed as being more interested in mountaineering than in the current politics of the time. The competing team of Austrians who eventually team up with the German team are portrayed as hoping for a Nazi-led incorporation of Austria into Germany. A major subplot involves a principled young newspaper employee (and hometown friend of the German climbers; Wokalek whose career the climbing story could launch, and her cynical superior (Tukur).