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North America, Canada, Nunavut, Baffin Island, Weasel Valley, Various Ascents

Weasel Valley, Various Ascents. Louis-Philippe Blanchette and I spent six weeks in the Arctic from June 1 to July 11. We did more than 260 kilometers of load carrying in the Valley to move our camp. We took advantage of the dry weather of spring and opened a new 800-meter route on the West face of Mount Overlord. Our route, Traversee Pyramidale (IV 5.10), takes the right side of a pyramid on the left side of the main face. Most pitches are in the 5.7-5.8 range with excellent cracks, clean rock and good protection. The starting point is right behind the Overlord emergency shelter. We descended the north face of the pyramid after 12 hours of continuous climbing.

We climbed the South Ridge-East Face of Thor in 19 hours (IV 5.8). Most of the route is 4th class and only the last 300 meters are technical and require belays and protections. We found many slings and pitons along the route.

We also repeated the classic 1200-meter Scott-Henneck route on the northeast pillar of Asgard (2013m) in a 45-hour marathon. The difficulties are sustained (V 5.10 Al), and the crux chimney is an intimidating pitch! The last third of the ascent was done under whiteout conditions and sub-zero temperatures. We were too high to even consider retreat; the safest way was to keep climbing and switch to the “bulldozer” mode. We descended the south face before reaching the usual Swiss route and avoided the hanging glacier by doing six long 60-meter rappels to the right side of it. The only dangerous crevasses we saw were on top of the King’s Parade Glacier.

Jean-Philippe Villemaire