American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Cape Farewell Region, Quvernit Island, Sever Virgin Summits and Nine New Long Granite Routes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Quvernit Island, seven virgin summits and nine new long granite routes. At the end of July a seven-member-strong group from Switzerland and Germany started on a six-week climbing expedition to the South of Greenland. The target of our group was first ascents of several 1,000-meter big walls in “big-wall” and “alpine-style” and afterward the attempt of a free ascent. The Base for our expedition was situated in the fjords around the islands Tornarssuk and Quvernit, near the Cape Farvel in the very South of Greenland, home of unexplored, exposed, and 1,400m granite towers. Some of the walls were even sticking out of the sea, sometimes only accessible by boat.

This lonely group of islands appears to have no recent history of climbing and it took some effort to get there with all the gear the group needed for the big-wall climbing. The team reached the base by boat in four hours from Nanortalik. We first explored the wild islands and then established the base camp close to the most beautiful towers. We believe that no one had climbed here before.

The Swiss and German group was comprised of brothers Jvan and Michi Tresch, Tom Holzhauser, Michi Wyser and his girlfriend Caro Morel from Switzerland; with “youngster” Wanja Reichel and myself completing the “German Team.” Together we established nine new routes up to 5.12 (7c) and seven first-summit ascents in different teams. During our five weeks on Quvernit Island we were forced to rest only three days because of rain, which is incredible for South Greenland. We avoided placing bolts and we tried to climb all routes in one-day “single pushes.” “Grön,” 5.11 was the first new route of the Tresch brothers, followed by “Morel-Tower-Route,” 5.10 (Holzhauser, Morel, Wyser) and “Angagoq,” 5.11, along a 700- meter vertical wall with a bunch of hard off-width pitches, climbed by the team Tresch-Tresch-Reichel-Lamprecht. Afterward, due to the perfect weather and moderate temperatures, we established some really “classic” lines like the 900- meter-long big-wall route “Tupilak,” 5.10 (Holzhauser-Wyser) and“Asiaq,” 5.11 (Tresch-Tresch), climbed in “alpine style” in a day. One of the expedition’s highlights was the 600-meter route “Ghetto-Boys,” 5.12, by the team Tresch-Tresch-Reichel- Lamprecht, an absolutely “clean” free-climbed line to the summit of “Angagoq,” with various pitches in the upper 5.10 and 5.12 range. Repeaters will find a big challenge with vertical wall-climbing and cracks from finger, hand, fist, shoulder, body, to wide-off-width-size.

In the last week Wanja Reichel and I finally did “Immanaq” (the word for “maybe” in the Inuit language), 5.11, a more than 1,100-meter-long route summiting two peaks. For the access, climb, and rappel, we needed exactly 24 hours. A perfect finish was the nearly sport- climbing-like route “Dos Canones,” 5.10 (Tresch-Tresch-Holzhauser), on a twin-peak-shaped tower. One of the most beauty-full crack-systems on the trip, which can be easily compared with Joshua Tree’s climbs.

Our complete route list (heights quoted are the length of the climb): Grön, 5.11/A1, 700 meters (12 pitches), 1st ascent: Michi and Jvan Tresch, July 30. Morel-Turm-Nordwestwand, 5.10, 415 meters (10 pitches), 1st ascent: Caro Morel, Tom Holzhauser, Michi Wyser, August 5. Angagoq, 5.11, 700 meters (15 pitches), 1st ascent: Wanja Reichel, Toni Lamprecht, Michi and Jvan Tresch, August 7. Ghetto-Boys, 5.12, 700 meters (16 pitches), 1st ascent: Wanja Reichel, Toni Lamprecht, Michi und Jvan Tresch, August 12-13. Gecko-Turm-Nordostwand, 5.10, 750 meters (17 pitches), 1st ascent: Caro Morel, Tom Holzhauser, Michi Wyser, August 17. Immanaq, 5.11, 1,100 meters (20 pitches), 1st ascent: Wanja Reichel, Toni Lamprecht, September 1. Ajumaq, 5.10, 350 meters (5 pitches), 1st ascent: Wanja Reichel, Toni Lamprecht, September 1. Asiaq, 5.11, 620 meters (11 pitches), 1st ascent: Michi and Jvan Tresch, September 1. Tupilak, 5.10/A0, 930 meters (20 pitches), 1st ascent: Tom Holzhauser, Michi Wyser, September 1. Dos Canones, 5.11, 640 meters (10 pitches), 1st ascent: Tom Holzhauser, Michi and Jvan Tresch, September 4.

The members of the Greenland-expedition like to thank the German Alpine Club (especially the community Starnberg) for its support.

Toni Lamprecht, Germany

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