North America, South Greenland, Cape Farewell Region, Nalumasortoq (2,045 m), South-Southwest Face of Central Pillar New Route

Publication Year: 2004.

Nalumasortoq (2,045m), south-southwest face of Central Pillar, new route, One Way Ticket. In July the first Russian team to climb in Greenland visited the Tasermiut Fjord with two main goals: the first ascent of a new big wall route on Nalumatorsoq and to make what would probably be the first BASE jump on the island. The leader of the Russian Extreme Project was Valeri Rozov, climber, BASE jumper and three times World champion sky diver. Other team members were Tim Ahmedkhanov, Lev Dorfman (cameraman), Alexander Lastochkin, Dmitry Lifanov (cameraman), and Arkady Seregin.

The plan was to establish a new route on the Central Pillar, with Rozov making BASE jumps both from the wall and from the summit. In 2002 he jumped from the top of Great Sail Peak in the Stewart Valley on Baffin Island’s east coast after completing a new route, Rubicon, on the ca 1,100m northwest face. On the south-southwest face of the Central Pillar there was no obvious independent start. The team had hoped to climb a directissima and initially spent a couple of days on the first pitch of a possible line to the right of the Swiss-Italian route, Cheese Finger at Three O’clock (Berthet-Brambati-Dal- phin-Flugi-Vitali, 1996: 6b A3+). They soon decided against this because of the difficulties (A3+) and flaky, loose rock. Instead they climbed the first seven pitches of Cheese Finger before breaking out left.

Starting on July 10 the Russians fixed these (the team had 300m of static) and three additional pitches above, before establishing the first portaledge camp. The first three pitches were V and the eighth was 6b and A2. The remainder was continuous A2.

On the 17th Rozov decided to jump from the double portaledge at the top of Pitch 10. However, getting this organized involved quite a lot of man power and with all six members grouped in one place, the two-man portaledge became overloaded, creaked and groaned, and eventually broke. Rozov needed a very stable platform for take off to make sure he could launch well clear of the wall, so half an hour was spent reconstructing the double ledge (using ice screws) into a single one. Rozov jumped successfully.

After a day’s rest at base camp the four members of the climbing team, Ahmedkhanov, Lastochkin, Rozov, and Seregin, spent five nights at the portaledge camp fixing pitches 11 to 19. The first of these pitches was A4, the next three A2, then came a pitch of A3 to by-pass a wet chimney. Pitches 16-18 were A2 and the 19th, 6a A2. During this period there were two days of storm when it was impossible to climb. The rain was heavy, soaking everything including their video cameras and tapes. However, the polar summer days presented the opportunity to work in two shifts, each pair climbing for around 10 hours apiece.

On July 23 the four left the portaledge and reached the summit at 2 p.m., the last and 20th pitch to the summit being grade V free climbing. They then had to wait five hours on top for the weather to improve sufficiently for their Icarus, Rozov, to fly. It was cold, windy and appeared as if they were going to have to descend to the portaledges and come back up for a second try next day. However, at 7.30 p.m. the clouds disappeared from the valley for 10 minutes. This was enough to allow Rozov, equipped with a winged suit, to take off. Descending to a ledge just 10m below the summit, Rozov jumped and enjoyed 35 seconds of free flight before he opened his parachute. For him it was a One Way Ticket and this is what the Russians decided to call their 975m route (climbing length from the snowfield). The remaining three descended to the portaledges and spent the whole of the next day stripping the route and bringing the gear down to base camp.

One Way Ticket: 20 pitches, A4 6b, one Petzel and one removable Russian bolt used at each belay, several bolts used while climbing, and some of the pitches involved bat hooking. Interestingly, Lastochkin and Rozov used the traditional Russian hook-leg ladders in preference to aiders, their main disadvantage being the inconvenience of changing from aid to free and back again.

Valeri Rozov and Arkady Seregin, Russia.