American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Ostgletscher, near Qorqup Sermia Glacier, Southwest Greenland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

Ostgletscher, near Qorqup Sermia Glacier, Southwest Greenland. Twenty-four members of the Brathay Exploration Group under my leadership visited southwest Greenland from July 26 to August 23. The members were senior boys from schools, undergraduates and young men from industry and so the age-range was from 17 to 22. We set up Base Camp about 30 miles inland from Narssarssuaq airfield. Two previous Brathay expeditions have been to this area in 1967 and 1969 to make plane-table surveys of three glaciers, two of which are advancing, whilst the other is stagnating. This year we used tellurometers to set up an accurate grid for the mapping, levelled profiles and cross-sections on Ostgletscher, took ablation readings, carried out an intensive micro-meteorological programme, extended geological bedrock mapping east of Lake Hullet, brought back oriented samples of pre-Cambrian rocks to investigate their remnant magnetism and collected botanical specimens. Although the main aim was scientific, we climbed a number of peaks, probably first ascents. One, just southeast of Ostgletscher, overlooks the huge Qorqup Sermia Glacier where it leaves the icecap. Fourteen of us reached the top. On the Danish 1:100,000 map it is marked as 1820 meters (5971 feet) but we took sensitive digital barometers up with us and made it 1907 meters. A clinometer shot on another peak to the north of Ostgletscher, marked as 1810 meters, showed that it was in fact slightly higher, confirming the opinion of Alan Wright, who climbed it with Mike Robinson and Nick Evans. A party of six, led by Mungo Ross, climbed the nunatak (1520 meters or 4987 feet) in the center of the Ostgletscher basin, where scree on the sharp ridges was delicately poised at the steepest angle of slope.

W. S. Jenkins, Brathay Exploration Group, England

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