North America, Greenland, Ikamiut Fjord, West Greenland

Publication Year: 1966.

Ikamiut Fjord, West Greenland. Our expedition comprised eight members of St. Andrews University, Scotland, led by Dr. Philip Gribbon. The others were Dr. Iain Smart, Bill Leddingham, Chris Doake, Jimmy Gilchrist, Ron Hilditch, Stuart Haworth and Mike Anderson. We spent two weeks travelling by sea to Iceland, by air to Narsarssuaq in south Greenland not far from the Arctic Circle. Base Camp was at the head of Ikamiut fjord, 50 miles north of Sukkertoppen. During seven weeks in the complex mountainous terrain, we climbed 18 mountains, 16 of which were previously unclimbed. Two had been first ascended by a Swiss-French party in 1958 (A.A.J., 1959, 11:2, p. 332). The main peaks involved up to 5000 feet of fine climbing on mixed snow and gneiss, and bivouacs were necessary on the following ascents: (* indicates names subject to approval by Danish authorities) Draco* (5320 feet), a massive multi-towered mountain northeast of Lake Tassersuaq climbed in a mean time of 30 hours by Smart, Haworth, Leddington and Gribbon; Gorgon* (5190 feet), a mile-long ridge bristling with problems, traversed in 21 hours by Smart, Haworth and Gribbon; and Three Castles* (5500 feet), an impressive mountain whose sheer north face discharged frequent avalanches to Lake Tassersuaq, climbed by the southwest glacier and its headwall to the final snow spires in 27-1/2 hours by Doake and Gribbon. We climbed five peaks close to the Col St. Andre* (2800 feet), the only gap in the mountain chain fringing the inland plateau icefield, while five other summits rising from the icefield were climbed near Big Array Camp, 12 miles inland from Base Camp. Geophysical work was carried out from this camp, while botanical and ornithological work was done throughout the region. We used canoes to ferry gear along Lake Tassersuaq, to explore the coast and to fetch the boat to take a member, ill with a badly infected throat, to the hospital in Sukkertoppen.

Philip W. F. Gribbon, Irish Mountaineering Club