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North America, Greenland, South Greenland, Igdlorssitt Havn, Cape Farewell, New Routes

Igdlorssitt Havn, Cape Farewell, new routes. At the western end of Prins Christian Sund is an anchorage at the entrance to a valley. Marked on the map as Igdlorssitt Havn, it is unclear whether this local name refers to the anchorage or the valley. Arriving from the village of Aappilattoq, an hour-and-a-half away by fishing boat, it becomes obvious that Igdlorssitt Havn is the name of the magnificent 800-meter tower just one-and-a-half kilometers inland on the eastern side of the valley. Its granite headwall, bathed in evening sunlight, is akin to the world famous monoliths of Yosemite, Baffin, and Patagonia. The primary objective of our expedition, however, was to climb previously virgin granite faces and peaks at the valley head, a four-hour walk up the glacier. Photographs taken on a previous expedition to the valley in 1992 promised plenty of potential.

Unfortunately, the initial section of the glacier that had been frequently traveled during the 1992 expedition was dangerously crevassed, and on closer inspection the rock quality of the peaks and faces in question was poor in comparison to the main face above base camp. Instead, attention was focused on the main face of Igdlorssitt Havn, and on the extensive sea cliffs and walls immediately east of base camp. The only known rock route in the valley was established on the main face of Igdlorssitt Havn in 1996 by a team of Croatians. The route, called Ujarak after a boat that picked them up at the end of a long 12-day wait when their lift failed to materialize, weighed in at VI+/A3. It was 24 pitches in length and took them six days to climb as a team of four. Keen to explore new ground and avoid pitches of A3, our team blitzed the area climbing 16 new routes, one on the main face, others on the flanks and the rest on some impressive local sea cliffs.

After a number of attempts, the new route on the main face was finally completed in one push from August 12-14 by Max Dutson and Dave Lucas. Wonderful World was 800 meters, 23 pitches, and British E4 6a Cl. On July 29-30 Richard Garnett and Mark Harris climbed the long ridge that lies behind the main face of Igdorrssitt Havn. It gave much easy and loose climbing with numerous gendarmes. A little right of Wonderful World but slanting up right in the upper section is Action Mans Purple Head, a 1000-meter-long 23-pitch route at E2 5b put up over August 1-2 by Garnett and Harris. Later, Harris with Dean Grindell linked the start of Wonderful World with Action Mans to give Wonderful Purple Head (25 pitches, E2 5c). The easy-angled, right hand flank of the main face gave A Long Walk to Freedom, an excellent route with superb situations at HVS climbed on August 2 by Grindell and Mark Shea (1000 meters, 25 pitches). On the right side of the left wing of the main face, Matt Heason and Adam Jackson put up the 11-pitch Cryptic Crossword (500 meters, 1 lpitches) at E3 5c, a route that was repeated on a number of occasions during the trip. The route was first completed in 12 hours on July 29. Other routes were climbed on the sea cliffs and walls above, which lay to the east of base camp. These were two to five pitches in length. Some were on wonderful golden granite with difficulties up to E5 6a. We enjoyed mostly fine sunny weather during our stay at base camp from July 27 to August 18, apart from the period August 3-9. Full copies of our expedition report can be emailed to anyone interested in organizing a trip to Greenland. Contact: mathew.heason@cgey.com.

Matt Heason, United Kingdom