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North America, Greenland, Arctic, Scottish East Greenland Expedition to Southern Staunings Alps

Scottish East Greenland Expedition to Southern Staunings Alps. The following members of the mountaineering clubs of St. Andrews University, Dr. Philip Gribbon (Leader), Ian Wasson, John Wedderburn, Ian Wilkinson and of the Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow, Jock Anderson (Deputy Leader), Jack Bryceland, John Thorley and Adrian Todd, spent nine weeks in King Christian IX’s Land at the Caledonia group of the southern Staunings Alps, East Greenland. On July 3 we flew by chartered aircraft to the air strip at Cape Dan on a small island off the mainland. We sailed 50 miles, first by schooner through thick pack ice and then by motor boat, to establish Base Camp at the head of the Tassissarssik inlet of Angmagssalik fiord. Our objectives were the unclimbed Quervains Bjoerg (8550 feet) and Pointe de Harpon (8970 feet), 90 miles inland, and close to Mont Forel (10,250 feet), the second highest mountain in Greenland. We hired two dog teams and drivers but after one night’s work at 3000 feet on the icefield they retired due to dangerous snow conditions. It was impracticable, even by hauling the minimum of gear on our pulka sledges, to continue to the objectives. A successful attempt would require an expedition to drive its own dog teams, or have an advanced air drop. Four perfect weeks were spent in the spectacular Caledonia group, west of the Knud Rasmussen glacier and south of the area in which Hans Gsellmann’s 1959 Austrian expedition operated. (A.A.J., 1960, 12:1, pp. 162-3.) We made 21 first ascents, the routes chosen being normally long, sustained and in the upper grades of technical difficulty. Most ascents were clean steep rock ridges, the finest being Grugagach (5370 feet), Igitur (5770 feet), Trident de Neptune (5980 feet) and Obelisk (6200 feet). A four-man party ascended the rock and ice north ridge route of our highest peak, Rytterknoegten (7020 feet) on the same day as two members of the Swiss-German Greenland expedition reascended Andre Roch’s 1938 west ridge, and bivouacked on the summit. The final week was spent at the largest settlement, Angmagssalik, reassessing the results of the subsidiary scientific programme. Both expeditions left Greenland on September 6 by charter plane to Iceland.

Philip W. F. Gribbon, Irish Mountaineering Club