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North America, Greenland, East Greenland, North of Scorsbysund, Liverpool Land Exploratory Ski-Mountaineering

North of Scorsbysund, Liverpool Land exploratory ski-moun- taineering. We aimed to investigate the ski potential of the coastal peaks of northeast Greenland. Liverpool Land was chosen for its interesting geography, high latitude, and relative accessibility via Constable Point airport. Our team of Phil Wickens, Keith Walton, Grant Jeffery, and I reached the peaks by dog-sled on the sea ice (two days), and made the return journey unsupported on ski through a chain of mountain passes punctuated by peaks climbed as day trips. We regularly moved the base camp with pulks (sledges) and carried all supplies for two weeks, with a further two weeks’ worth of food stashed on the way in. Our expedition lasted from April 21 to May 22.

The region is characterized by broad, flat glaciers leading up to a small ice cap, through which the peaks rise very steeply up to 1,430m. We found the snow pack to be very reliable, with only occasional surface sloughs, very little evidence of avalanche, and virtually no open crevasses. The glacier toes however are unstable and extremely tall. We suffered two weeks of very windy and unsettled conditions.

In the first fortnight, we ascended peaks around the Emmanuel Glacier, which included Pts 1,030m, 1,282m, 920m, 1,180m and 820m. All were achieved in good conditions and as day trips. Ascents were generally easier from the east, with some steep and icy sections. There was often a choice of ski descent lines including some enormous couloirs. Later we pushed passes between the Kolding, Age Nielsons, Grete and Hans Glaciers, and back to Scorsbysund, in some terrible conditions.

The area has great potential for new peaks and descent lines, although records are sketchy perhaps due to their low height. In good weather, many climbs could be made in a short time from a mobile base camp. Constable Point now has regular flights throughout the winter, making access to this area easy and costs relatively low. Contact Martin Munck at Nanu Travel (nanu@greennet.gl), the only outfitters based in Ittoqqortoormiit and run by local people. View our photos at http://www.offvvidth.co.uk/greenland/gallery.shtml.

Jeremy Thomson, United Kingdom