American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Ulamertorssuaq, Left-Hand Tower

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

Ulamertorssuaq, Left-Hand Tower. High quality big-wall-type climbs can be found in the Tasermiut Fjord region of South Greenland. Many lines have not had ascents. The Ulamertorssuaq Towers form a line of three satellite peaks to the main mass of Ulamertorssuaq. The latter was climbed for the first time by a French party in 1960. It was our original intention to attempt a line on the central tower; however, on our arrival we found that a Swiss party was firmly ensconced on this route (they subsequently failed after about 10 pitches). We therefore decided to attempt the line that had been tried by Masterson and Albert.

After flying from London on June 28, David Anderson, Craig Dring, Paul Tattersall and I made two boat trips to Base Camp in Tasermiut Fjord. From July 2 to July 5 we set up Advanced Base Camp and fixed the approach to the route. From the top of the moraine we crossed a small glacier to the base of a band of wet slabs stretching across the bottom of the face. We ascended the slabs at the narrowest point to a band of ledges. The route started just left of a series of vertical crack lines in the center of the face. From July 6 to July 14 we managed four climbing days, climbing in pairs. We fixed 12 pitches over three days.We followed leftward-diagonal cracks for 14 sustained and steep pitches to a large ledge, then a short pitch right across a gentle slab to a series of roofs. A further three steep pitches led to the top. The climbing was predominantly crack climbing from finger to off-width/chimney. Fifty-meter ropes were required. We protected the stances with one or two bolts. Protection on pitches consisted of nuts and camming devices. No bolts or pegs were placed for direct aid or protection on pitches. On day four all members reached the summit then rapped the line of ascent. We graded the 800-meter route E4 A2; a strong team would be able to free the route in its entirety at a standard of E5 with one pitch of E6.

A note on existing and potential climbs in the Ulamertorssuaq base-camp region: The best rock in the area is to be found on the steep vertical faces. The low angel rock tends to be mossy and loose in places.

Ian Dring, Alpine Climbing Group

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.