American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, East Greenland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1970

East Greenland. Our expedition, Derek Fordham, leader, Arthur Clarke, Dennis Kemp, David Morgan, Don Roscoe, Michael Tuson and I, planned to visit the Kristians Glacier region, east of Mount Forel, and continue exploration commenced by the British Army Expedition in 1968. We flew via Copenhagen and Søndre Stromfjord to Kulusuk on July 10 and proceeded by boat to Kungmuit. Initial plans of approach by boat to Kangerdlugssuatsiaq were foiled by heavy pack-ice but we did get to the snout of Knud Rasmussens Glacier on July 14. Stores and equipment were man-hauled on a stainless-steel sledge of tubular sections. We followed Knud Rasmussens Glacier, Haabets Glacier, Conniats Icefall and Glacier and the Glacier de France to the Femstjernen. This we took east to reach on July 24 Kristians Glacier and stores left by the Army expedition. Roscoe, Clarke, Kemp, Morgan and I skied down the Kristians Glacier on July 26 and made the first ascent of two 2000-meter (6500-foot) peaks at its south end. An attempt on the 10,000-foot peak west of the Col de Woppers was abandoned in poor visibility. A fierce blizzard lasted until August 3 when we commenced our return journey. Previous delays allowed no further time for climbing and so we sledged east along Kristians Glacier and descended to the Sekstjernen. Here on August 5 Clarke, Kemp, Morgan and Roscoe ascended a nunatak. We continued along the western edge of the Steenstrups Norde Brae, made the first crossing of a pass onto the Steenstrups Søndre Brae and continued down the Thank God Glacier to reach Kangerdlugssuatsiaq Fjord on August 14. Heavy pack-ice, as was later learned, prevented the arrival of our pick-up boat. Roscoe and I were dispatched on the 60-mile journey to Sermiligaq on August 17. We went up the Glacier de France to turn southwest up Failsafe Glacier and to the Haabets, down which we continued to the Knut Rasmussens and to where our rubber boat had been left. We used this for the remaining 14 miles to Sermiligaq on August 21. On the 22nd 100 lbs of food were air-dropped to the isolated party. Helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Westwind evacuated them on the 26th.

John Ashburner, London Graduate Mountaineering Club

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