American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Devil's Thumb, West Greenland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Devil’s Thumb, West Greenland. Last summer I led our third Italian Greenland expedition, consisting of Jean Bich, Antonio Carrel, Camillo Pellissier, Pierino Pession, guide in Valtournanche, Dr. Paolo Cerretelli, physiologist, Piero Nava and Mario Fantin, cameraman, and the Dane, Erling Gnistrup. On our arrival by air at Søndre Strømfjord we found anchored our “base camp” of previous expeditions, the Italian motor- yacht Franz Terzo. We weighed anchor on August 3 for the north, heading for the Devil’s Thumb, a beautiful 1000-foot rock peak, first climbed in 1934 by Tom Longstaff and D. P. Baird on the northeast side. (AJ 250, May 1935, p. 51.) Last year we got to within six miles of the Devil’s Thumb, but sea ice did not permit our motor-yacht to anchor at Kuvdlors- suaq Island, where the peak is located. This year we rented a whaleship to wait for us near Holms Island, which on August 3 took us in, though fog and icebergs complicated the passage. Early next morning we made a reconnaissance around the peak. The Devil’s Thumb is a veritable rock thumb, like the Paine Towers of Patagonia, formed of gneiss, often very broken. We decided for the south wall, a difficult one of 900 feet of height. Five of us began our ascent at 1:45 p.m. on August 6. Fantin, at the foot of the peak, filmed the ascent. We reached the top at 11:45 P.M. in the light of the midnight sun. It was a difficult ascent (Class IV-V, 10 pitons). We descended the route of the first climbers and reached camp at 2:30 A.M.

Guido Monzino, Club Alpino Italiano

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