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

North America, Greenland, Cape Farewell Region, Nalumasortoq, Life is Beautiful

Nalumasortoq, Life is Beautiful. Takashi Suzuki and I opened a new route on the Left Pillar of the Nalumasortoq Tower in July. The route is named Life is Beautiful (VI- 5.9 A2+, 600m, 13 pitches). Nanortalik was still surrounded by a dense ice pack when we arrived on July 12. On July 16, a chartered boat took us to the Tasermiut Fjord. Fortunately, the density of the ice pack decreased as the boat made her way into the fjord. We landed at our base camp on the seashore near Ulamertorssuaq; from there, it was a five-hour walk when lightly loaded to the starting point of the wall. We established two relay camps between BC and the wall, to facilitate the transportation of the equipment and to observe the wall to find a new route.

We were finally at the starting point of the wall on July 21. Our route was on the left side of the big overhang on the left pillar (the overhang can be easily recognized). We spent ten days on the wall, with one night and the next full day trapped in the portaledge by a storm. The following day (July 30), after climbing three pitches in fine weather, we reached the top of the left pillar. We descended our route the next day.

We normally placed two bolts by hand at each belay point and an additional one or two bolts at three portaledge points. We never used bolts or rivets for the actual climbing, and were able to follow a beautiful crack system to the top. From the sixth pitch on, it was not necessary to use pitons; instead, many kinds of camming devices from small (Aliens) to big (number 4 Camalots) were required. Free climbing should also be possible, although we aided most pitches for safety.

When descending the small glacier below the wall, we noticed that many crevasses had grown wider, and were dangerous. The night before we left BC, we observed an aurora sur- rounding the Pole Star. Its mysterious curtain flickered for ten minutes. We would like to stress that further exploration of Greenland fjords seems worthwhile, as there may still be unknown big walls.

Hitoshi Yamaoka, Japan Workers’ Alpine Federation