American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Arctic, Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966

Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island. The Alpine Club of Canada held its second Baffin Island expedition from July 5 to July 30 under the leadership of Pat Baird. Again our objective was the ice-capped peaks of the Cumberland Peninsula just north of the Arctic Circle. This time an Otter aeroplane with large soft rubber tires was able to land us at 1275 feet in the midst of the mountains on a sandy beach beside Glacier Lake, leaving us with only one narrow moraine to cross to the site selected for Base Camp. A total of 15 people flew in from Frobisher including 5 artists, who enjoyed the spectacular scenery as much as the climbers. Altogether 11 peaks were climbed, of which 9 were first ascents. Five temporary camps were set up in various directions from our base in order to try some of. the more interesting mountains. Michael MacCallum, Bob Paul, and Stan Rosenbaum made an attempt on Tête Blanche (7070 feet) by the very long east ridge, but ran out of time at a subsidiary peak they named Bastille. The third ascent of the northeast tower of Asgard (6600 feet) was made by MacCallum, Bill Frantz, Lyman Spitzer, and myself. From a camp on the east side of Summit Lake MacCallum and Paul ascended both peaks of the Twins. Spitzer and I packed down the Weasel Valley and placed a camp at the base of Mount Thor, the peak with the sheer west face which overhangs slightly. We made the first ascent by the northeast face which was an easy scramble except for three vertical rock pitches just below the 5300-foot summit. From the camp at Thor, Spitzer hiked alone some 38 miles down the valley and along the fiord to the nearest Eskimo settlement at Pangnirtung to catch an early plane out. He found some exciting glacier streams to cross along the way. Finally the first ascent of Mount Loki, a 6300-foot peak with a beautiful summit pinnacle up the Turner Glacier, was made by Baird, MacCallum, Paul, and me in 29 hours along the west ridge. A full account will appear in The Canadian Alpine Journal.

Donald C. Morton

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.