James Hopkins Trust and Honey Buttress, Ascents. I first went out to Greenland in 1996 with Silvo Karo (Slovenia) and Jerry Gore (U.K.). We climbed a route on the left-hand pillar of Nalumasortoq and, on the third or fourth day of our climb, while the other two battled it out above me, I gazed out over the fantastic scenery of unclimbed rock pillars and walls, planning my next visit.
1998, and I was back in Greenland with two of my favorite people: Bob Honey, who had planned our journey from the U.K. via Iceland and who was going to act as Base Camp manager, and my climbing companion, Ian Parsons.
The first climb we went for was on a wonderful, alpine-looking pillar that I been dreaming about for two years. I had promised a local children’s charity, the James Hopkins Trust, that I would name the climb for them if we were successful.
We spent a night at the top of a long easy ramp at the foot of the pillar and, after a good night’s sleep, we followed a series of cracks, grooves and comers that eventually led to the summit. The route was about 2,000 feet and because of the almost continuous daylight we were able to get up and back down to the top of the ramp in 21 hours. Overall, we thought the grade to be British E4 5c (5.11b/c).
After a week of bad weather, we were able to move back up for our second objective. Our first choice was on the north face of a mountain that we had christened Half Dome, but due to the weather the face was running with water. This was not a problem and we turned our sights on another unclimbed pillar to the south of our previous climb. The climbing was almost identical in every way, including the grade but about 200 feet less in height. We called this climb Honey Buttress after our good friend waiting patiently back at Base Camp for us.
There is still a tremendous amount to climb in this area, from big-wall style to easy alpine and everything in between. It still feels remote, and with care, it will remain unspoiled. Whether you travel by helicopter or boat, it’s expensive getting to the area once you arrive in Greenland, so it’s best to book in advance. Some parties have been known to lose a week sorting out their transport once they have arrived in Greenland.
Tony Penning, Alpine Climbing Group