American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Cape Farewell Region, Pamiagdluk Island, Kangerdluarssuk Fjord, Baron and Other Peaks, New Routes, Exploring, and Mapmaking

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

Pamiagdluk Island, Kangerdluarssuk Fjord, Baron and other peaks, new routes, exploring, and mapmaking. On July 8, 12 members of the Karabiner Mountaineering Club left the UK on the complex journey to Pamiagdluk Island, near Cape Farewell, South Greenland. The idea had been to mark the 60th anniversary of the club with an Expedition, choosing an area that would attract a good sample of the club. Our objectives were to explore and establish new rock and mountaineering routes of all grades on the western side of Kangerdluarssuk Fjord, which runs into the center of the island. It had not been used as an approach before, so all we had to go on was an aerial photograph. Interesting targets looked like the steep southwest-facing wall of point 1,300m off the head of Kangerdluarssuk, with the quite well-known 1,340m summit of the Baron offering new routes from the east. All previous attempts (the exact history was unknown when we left) having been from the island’s western side. Peaks southward of the Baron looked to be first ascents, and there was new route potential all round the 1,300m-1,030m massif, with just two previous known routes on the east.

The team, myself (leader), Duncan Lee, Scott Sadler, Al Metelko, Rob Allen, Ian Heginbotham, Anna Neubert, Steve Cheslett, Jennifer Varley, Julie O’Regan, Karel Prochazka, and Helena Bestova, eventually arrived on July 11 to a coating of new snow after the famous Greenland weather had given an unscheduled visit to the Arctic Circle. We enjoyed a few fine days at the start, achieving many of our most-wanted aims, before an extended period of indifferent/poor conditions made big targets difficult to achieve. Fine weather before leaving the island on August 2 (return to UK on 8th) allowed attempts on only a few of the many identified projects, so there’s still much to go at here. The expedition overlapped 3 other British teams active on the western side, and we added four routes to the total on the Baron.

Highlights of the explorations include:

Two routes Baron Greenback, ca 900 meters, El, and Baron Münchausen, E3 (not to summit) on the Baron from the south, and a mountaineering route (AD) from the north [most likely the route of the first ascent by French in 1957: see elsewhere—Ed]. A 260m route Drop the Dead Donkey, E2 on the “Baron’s Appendage” east ridge. A mountaineering route (D+) on point l,300m’s south ridge to a 1,250m foretop (lack of ice gear and scary rock on the summit inhibited progress). A mountaineering route (AD) to point 1,030m, christened “Red Tor,” and south along the ridge toward Pt 1,300, ending at “KMC peak,” 1,100m (likely first visits). A route Bone Idyll (665m, E3) on a buttress on the terminal northeast spur from the Baroness. A six-pitch E3 start to the west face of Pt 1,300m foretop, abandoned by rain. Exploration on the exotic ridge south of the Baron, giving Cornice and Lord & Lady Berkeley peaks (AD-). More information can be found at www.karabiner.org/expeditions.

David Bone, KMC, United Kingdom

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