AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, Canada, Canadian Arctic, Mount Nuksuklorolu and "Inugsuin Point Buttress," Baffin Island, 1989

Mount Nuksuklorolu and “Inugsuin Point Buttress,” Baffin Island, 1989. To most climbers, Baffin Island is synonomous with Auyuittuq Park. However that is only a tiny segment of one of the world’s major and least climbed-in ranges that extends from the northeast coast of Newfoundland to the north coast of Baffin Island. In the summer of 1989, Gray Thompson, Steve Sheriff and I hoped to vist Sam Ford Fiord, north of the village of Clyde, where 3000-foot rock walls rise right out of the sea. In the North, travel is largely determined by the condition of the sea-ice. You can move in early season on still frozen ice, or in late season after the break-up, but not in between. We decided to travel both directions with folding kayaks. We stepped off the plane on July 23, 1989, but the ice was still locked fast in the fiords and coast. We needed a nasty gale screaming down from the west to drive the ice out to sea and open a highway to Sam Ford Fiord. To kill time, we climbed a small half-dome peak called Kacheena, about a day’s walk inland. The rock was clean granite with good hand-cracks, but it was only four pitches, hardly what we had come so far to climb. When we returned, the ice in the bay was broken and moving, and so we put our boats together and took off. On August 5, we retreated back to Clyde after having made just 20 miles in eight frustrating, stormy days. We chose a secondary objective, Inugsuin Fiord, to the south. A local hunter drove us in his speedboat into the fiord, where we camped under three large pinnacles on the side of Mount Nuksuklorolu. We climbed the middle one and gained the summit via a series of steps, smaller pinnacles and buttresses. (IV, 5.8.) After a half day’s rest, we set out for our major objective, a 3000-foot-high unnamed south-facing buttress across the fiord (“Inugsuin Point Buttress”). Our route started slightly right of center and ended just below and to the right of the main summit. The lower two-thirds had well defined cracks and dihedrals, but above that, a series of roofs guarded the lower-angled exit slabs. The bottom portion varied from a loose class-5 gully to clean, aesthetic, 5.9 cracks and face. By 9:30 that evening we had climbed 17 pitches to the top of the last of the obvious dihedrals. A 5.7, a 5.8 and a 5.9 pitch brought us to a small stance beneath the roofs. We groped in the short night. Two pitches led through the roofs and brought us to a spacious ledge, where we bivouacked. From there five moderate friction pitches led to a shoulder and the summit. (V, V.9.)

Jon Turk, Unaffiliated