American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Gunnbjorns Fjeld, 1988, More Details

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  • Publication Year: 1990

Gunnbjørns Fjeld, 1988, More Details. (This will help complete the report given in AAJ, 1989, page 164.) In addition to Greg Englefield, Nick Hulton,

Lewis Jones and me, we were also accompanied by a film crew, Allen Jewhurst and Jan Pester. After we landed to the north of Gunnbjørns Fjeld, we did not appreciate that Cone and Dome were very close to Gunnbjørns Fjeld; otherwise we would have skied straight there since they were our primary objectives. We chose instead to head into the unexplored part of the Watkins Mountains, southeast of the peak. We ascended a glacier north of the Rosenborg Glacier, roughly parallel to it, just north of the main chain of the Watkins Bjerge. We made the first ascent of six of the highest and most attractive peaks in the southeastern part of the range. These were P 3600 (68° 47.7' N, 29° 36' W) on June 30 by Hulton, Lowther; P 3190 (68° 48.2' N, 29° 17.5' W) on July 3 by Englefield, Jones, Jewhurst; P 3330 (68° 49.7' N, 29° 10.5' W) on July 4 by Hulton, Pester, Lowther; P 3550 (68° 46.1 ' N, 29° 24' W) on July 6 by Hulton Pester, Lowther; P 3500 (68° 48.4' N, 29° 32' W) on July 7 by Englefield, Jones, Hulton, Jewhurst by two different routes; P 3400 (68° 49.4' N, 29° 30' W) on July 7 by Lowther, Hulton. We then placed our third climbing camp at 3400 meters on the col between Gunnbjørns Fjeld and Cone with the base of the former some 800 meters away. Cone lay four kilometers away across a small icecap and beyond that, with a glacier in between, was Dome. After some bad weather, on July 12 we all made the fifth ascent of Gunnbjørns Fjeld, climbing the south-southwest ridge in an hour and a half. On July 13 Jones and I ascended Cone, skiing three kilometers to the base of the mountain and climbing the east ridge. Hulton, Englefield and Pester repeated the climb the next day. On July 14, I climbed Dome. The following are our conclusions on the height of Cone and Dome. Having set both our Thommen altimeters on the summit of Gunnbjørns Fjeld, we determined the height of our camp to be 370 meters beneath the summit. From there, we made two ascents of Cone in about an hour and 15 minutes. On both occasions, we recorded with both altimeters a height of 3670 meters, 38 meters less than Gunnbjørns Fjeld. I took five hours to climb Dome and did not return to camp to check if there had been a change of atmospheric pressure. However, the height of 3650 meters would seem to be very logical. It has already been noted that on July 17 Jones and I made the first ascent of P 3080 (69° 10.6' N, 29° 33' W), probably the highest mountain in Knud Rasmussen Land.

James Lowther, Royal Geographical Society

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