American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Roscoe Bjerg, Scoresby Land

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1972

Roscoe Bjerg, Scoresby Land. A flight to the Staunings Alps takes one over the Liverpool Coast, a forbidding angular coastal belt of mountains that runs northwards from Scoresby Sund (70° 30' N) for about 60 miles. Because the peaks are low (maximum 4600 feet), hard by a foggy coast and not 100 miles distant from the exotic spires of the Staunings, they have been left alone by mountaineers. In 1969, as I flew past, I thought they looked rather dreary, but a closer look from the air the next year, and aerial photos from the Danish Geodetic Survey, were encouraging. Peter Mould, Harry Sales and Jack Derry, English, and Stuart Kermach, Peter Cromar and I, Scots, flew in a Piper Aztec from Iceland. The pilot took us through the Aage Neilsens-Bjerring Pederson Glacier system and we were excited by the 2500-foot walls of the higher peaks and by the yellow granite that spoke of arctic delights. We had made a depot at the mouth of Sodal on Hurry Fjord with the aid of Greenlander boats by July 14 and later partly by boat and partly overland we raised camp at 1500 feet amidst splendid scenery on a rock island below the second highest peak, Korsbjerg. In the following ten days we ascended ten peaks, nine of them virgin, varying from panoramic slag heaps to Grade V pinnacled ridges taking ten hours of ascent seeking the easiest lines. The “Conquered Virgin” (989 meters or 3245 feet) was the most interesting. Lying a hard day’s march from Scoresby Sund, it stands out as an obvious attraction to the mountaineer. On the summit cairn was a note relating to the first ascent on August 21, 1934 by Michel Pérez of Geneva and another from Paris, members of the ill-fated Charcot expedition. The area is particularly suitable for ski-mountaineering. Though of modest height, even the smallest peaklets are of such proportions that the total effect is one of climbing peaks of twice the height. Where it is steep the rock is good. Elsewhere we found it rotten. However two-thirds remain unexplored in a mountaineering sense, so it is too early to condemn. The weather was superb.

MALCOLM SLESSER, Scottish Mountaineering Club

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