American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Scott Island, Wall of Clouds, Aularutiksanga, New Route, Previously Unreported

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Wall of Clouds, Aularutiksanga, New Route, Previously Unreported. Phil White, Jr., and I left Clyde River on or about May 2 and returned on roughly June 20, 1999. We traveled with our guides Ilko, his son John, and Lamaki for a few days, checking out the formations in the Scott Inlet, the Gibbs Fjord, and the Clark Fjord, but we were really just hunting for seal. Back at the Ship’s Prow (our original objective) on Scott Island, we set up a base camp within site of Mike Libecki’s. We spent about two weeks there dodging storms, playing on icebergs, and putting up a couple of pitches right by the bow of the prow. Mike, Phil, and I visited Jon Fox and his soon-to-be-leaving partner down-island a couple of miles; they had moved to try a tower-like formation that Jon called “The Raven” (see 1999 AAJ, p. 39: the slender middle formation of the three in the photo is the Raven). My eyes and psyche were drawn to an incredible-looking wall to the left of the Raven.

After returning to base camp, we decided to move. Upon waking, we hitched a ride for our gear from an Inuit named Sam, and as the next storm hit we set up our tent. Over the next couple of weeks, we fixed rope. I spent 24 hours over four days on pitch three, which entailed 130 feet of bolts, rivets, and holes in chossy, steep rock. I had forgotten to buy new liners for my plastics, so I continually had frostnip upon return to base camp.

After four more days of climbing and other days taking care of logistics, we committed to the wall, put up one more pitch and established Cl. We spent about 16 days on the wall. The camp was moved once, and many of the 12 pitches are long. Pitches three through eight are quite steep and the gneiss rock is high-quality choss. The climbing consisted of beaks and peckers interspersed with other thoughtful placements. The rock over the last third was better. The strata we passed through were incredible to behold: veins of mica, quartz, feldspar, and different granites. After topping out, then hauling our gear up, we postholed around Scott Island for a long time trying to find a way down, but the gullies were avalanching. We decided to rappel the Raven. We called the formation Wall Of Clouds and our route Aularutiksanga (The Gull).

John Sederneyer

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