American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, East Greenland, Rignys Bjerg Area, Various First Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

Rignys Bjerg area, various first ascents. A group consisting of Norman Vernon (co-leader), Robert MacCallum, Dave Rothery, Graham Poole, Sandy Gregson, and myself (co-leader) flew on 30 June from Isafjördur, Iceland to Constable Pynt, Northeast Greenland in a Twin Otter before flying on to Broadway Glacier at a rendezvous fixed with a Royal Navy group at N69°12' W26°45'. Over the next 16 days (nights in practice!) the Tangent Rignys Bjerg Area Expedition 2001 explored, skied, and climbed peaks bordering Broadway Glacier and two of its side branches, the West Side Glacier and Hole in the Wall Glacier. Other ski tours revealed many unclimbed peaks still available in the Rignys Bjerg area. The group made first ascents on the South Side Traverse— Whiteliner Peak, 2000m, Centrepoint 2025m, and Dumperfjeld, 2030m—a fine outing. From Hole in the Wall Glacier, the excellent northeast face and ridge of Majordomo Peak 2310m was done, with a complicated descent of the north face through seracs and crevasses. Starboard Ridge, the north arête of Anchorman Peak, 2340m, gave a very good climb, mostly on snow/ice with a short rock band high up. The most impressive climb completed was the Harpoon Ridge (north arête) of Narwhal Tooth, 2360m, a beautiful peak. This gem—a Biancograt of the Arctic—had an approach complicated by weakly bridged crevasses leading to a lower section studded with pinnacles, turned on the west side, then a switchback ice arête in a very exposed position to a final “calotte” of hard ice protected with ice screws to gain a fine summit. Descent was made by the interesting west ridge (this mountain also has a very impressive and unclimbed north face). Other peaks climbed were Jack Tar Peak, 2045m, by the south face and ridge; Farawa' Peak, 1910m, by the Zorro Route (east face); and attempts on another two abandoned due to unfavorable conditions. A long ski tour to Col Beyond, 2385m, at the head of West Side Glacier, running up to the Inland Ice revealed the huge Sorte Brae Glacier system with hundreds of difficult looking virgin peaks lying west of the Rignys Bjerg ranges. Note to would-be visitors: the rock in these areas is of a very suspect nature—giraffe-like tendency definitely needed! The Tangent group had only two short periods of poor weather with snowfall during their trip before Twin Otter pickup late on the evening of 15 July for direct flight back to Akureyri in Iceland.

Jim Gregson, Great Britain

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.