American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Apostle's Thumb, Northeast Face

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

Apostle’s Thumb, Northeast Face. Last summer a small but well-organized Austrian party climbed the Northeast Face of the Apostelens Tommelfinger (The Apostle’s Thumb) above Lindenows Fjord in South Greenland. The ascent of the 1400-meter face was pushed little by little over a four-week period. A more or less direct line was chosen. The typical unsettled weather repeatedly turned the climbers back to their "Moskito Base Camp." They found good rock on all but some leads, where the granite was rotten. In the lower part the climbing was slowed by wet rock and the climbers were often soaked. Ropes were fixed about three-quarters of the way up the face. In the upper part a portaledge was used. The very delicate upper 300 meters contained a roof which they managed to climb directly. The final ascent was made in a two-day push. More than 40 ropelengths were climbed, over 30 of them at a standard of 6 and 7 with long aid sections to A3. The flat top was reached by all six members: Joachim Lugger, Siegfried Girstmair, Christian Zenz, Hany Riedl, Kurt Radner and Sepp Delmarco. This was the first Austrian ascent of the mountain and probably fifth or sixth ever. The Apostelens Tommelfinger (2300 meters) was first ascended by a French party led by Maurice Barrard in 1975 (first attempts were made in 1971 by French and Irish expeditions, 1973 by Italians). In summer 1976 another French expedition repeated the ascent by a new route. In 1977 the French High Mountain Military Group (GMHM) led by JeanClaude Marmier climbed the lower southeast face and attempted the impressive northeast face but had to retreat just some 300 meters from the summit.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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