American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Arctic, Ellesmere Island

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1977

Ellesmere Island. The 1976 Ellesmere-Makinson Expedition arrived in Grise Fiord via Kenn Borek Air from Resolute on July 27; our goal was exploratory mountaineering in the high arctic. The party consisted of Curt Saville, George Wallerstein, Peter Rogers, John Stix, Caroline Cochran, Linsay Cochran (age 16 months) and myself, as leader. Soon we were joined by Laurie Dexter, Anglican minister from Pond Inlet, an ardent climber with many solo ascents to his credit on Ellesmere and Bylot Islands. From Grise Fiord a number of local climbs were made, including new rock routes on “Greenlander” and “Spire,” led by Dexter. Wallerstein, with two Canadians from another party, made the probable first ascent of snow peak 4442, nine miles northeast of the settlement. On August 11, Ted Whalley and Roland Reader, the two Canadian members of our expedition, arrived from Resolute after a long flight delay. While my wife and daughter remained in Grise Fiord and Dexter returned to Pond, the rest of us departed by Twin-Otter for a beach landing on Makinson Inlet, 70 miles north. From there we had planned to use our inflatable boats with outboards to travel along the coast to reach several attractive climbing areas. Unfortunately, a late season kept the fiord so choked with ice that boat travel was impossible, so climbing was restricted to a less interesting massif adjacent to our landing site. Six of the main summits in this area were climbed, including the high point, a snow summit, P 3900 (Lat 77° 10' N; Long. 80° 36' W; for further details, see CAJ 1977). After a two-day storm with heavy snow, at sealevel, we returned to Resolute on August 22.

George Van B. Cochran

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