North America, Canada, Nunavut, Baffin Island, Mount Thor, Ascent and Tragedy

Publication Year: 1998.

Mount Thor, Ascent and Tragedy. A team of Parks Canada rescue specialists were in Auyuittuq late last August in response to a climbing accident on Mt. Thor. A solo climber named Go Abe from Japan was overdue on his second attempt on a central line on the face. It turned out he had been killed in a fall in which he landed on the ledge at two-thirds height. I believe the fall happened as he was approaching his previous year’s high point, one rope length above the ledge. It appeared he had tried to follow his own line as much as possible on the lower face, but it must have paralleled the first ascent line closely. His main aim was obviously to take a direct line through from the ledge to the top, a point where the other parties had jogged several hundred feet to the left to pick up a natural line.

The first report of concern about Go Abe came in from the two Cristobal Diaz and Juan Espany, who had just completed a new route also on Thor’s face. Their line is about halfway from the central route to the right-hand side of the wall, also a very direct line. They named their route L’Arome de Montserat. It took about a month on the wall.

Go Abe’s body was found and evacuated from the prominent ledge at two-thirds height on the Thor face.

Tim Auger, Banff National Park