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

North America, Greenland, Stjernebannertinde, Ascent, and Exploration of Kaffeklubben and Oodaap Islands

Stjernebannertinde, Ascent, and Exploration of Kaffeklubben and Oodaap Islands. In July of 1996 the American Top of the World Expedition set up a base camp near Bliss Bugt on the north slope of Johannes Jensen Land 30 miles east of Kap Jessup. The expedition had two significant goals: I. To trek from Greenland to Kaffeklubben and Oodaap, the two northernmost islands in the world. 2. To climb Stjernebannertinde, the highest peak in the H. H. Bennedict Range. Both of these objectives were accomplished.

From a point on the Greenland coast, four miles off the South Cape of Kaffeklubben, the expedition set out across deteriorating sea ice, negotiating a maze of lakes and channels to reach this cape. In a kern atop Kaffeklubben we found a note from a 1982 Sirius Patrol expedition. The note outlined the failure of that expedition to find Oodaap, the newly discovered northernmost island in the world. We set out across the sea ice in a northeasterly direction, finding it 1.6 kilometers from the kern but buried under water. Following that episode we returned two more times to these islands. On the third excursion we found fissures forming in the sea ice into which the deep pools of water we had encountered earlier were draining rapidly. Oodaap, on that day, had emerged as an island three and one half feet above the sea. Our three days of observations clarified Oodaap’s status as a variable island-sca mount. Kaffeklubben then is the northernmost permanent island in the world, and is graced by the world’s northernmost flowering plants: purple saxifrage.

The ascent of Stjernebannertinde was accomplished by the northwest ridge from a base camp high on the Moore Glacier. Rink Fjeld was climbed independently on the same day. Other minor climbs were also accomplished in both the Bennedict and Daly Bjerge. Expedition members included Dr. Terry Baker, John Jancik, Ken Zerbst, Peter Skafte, Dr. Joe Sears, Steve Gardiner, Jim Shaeffer, Dr. Bob Palais and Galen Rowell.

Dennis Schmitt