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Greenland, East Greenland, Watkins Mountains, First Ascents from the Fleece Glacier

Watkins Mountains, first ascents from the Fleece Glacier. Toward the end of May a British expedition comprising Jim Hall, Bob Kerr, Ros Murray and Rae Pritchard was landed on the Wooley Glacier at 2,400m and from here explored a previously unnamed side glacier to the east. This is the next glacier south of the Silk Road and it seemed appropriate to name it Fleece. Three probable first ascents were made: Pt 3,020m (dubbed Afternoon Peak), a subsidiary summit to the north west of Midnight Peak (first climbed by Scott Umpleby’s five-person expedition in 1999). The grades of each were not much more than Alpine F and the climbs completed in ski mountaineering boots. Unsuccessful attempts were then made of the attractive Pt 2,725m further east down the glacier, and Julia (3,455m, the 7th highest peak in Greenland), which lies on the west side of the Wooley. Some of the team’s original unclimbed objectives from the Wooley were apparently Peak (3,249m) on the south side of the glacier; Pt 2,908m (dubbed Wyvis) and its subsidiary (south west) top (2,750m: dubbed Minaret) on the north side of the glacier. It seems that many of the team’s original objectives were climbed the previous month by a Royal Navy expedition, which was just leaving base camp as the four British climbers arrived.

The team completed their stay by moving base camp west to the foot of Gunnbjorns Fjeld (3,692m), the highest peak in the Arctic. From here they climbed both GBF and 3,682m Dome or Qaqqaq Kershaw, the second highest, both long days mainly on ski. [Compiled from Jim Hall’s MEF expedition report.]

Jim Hall, United Kingdom