American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Cape Farewell Region, Tasermiut Fjord, Ketil Pyramid, New Route

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

Tasermiut Fjord, Ketil Pyramid, new route. I arrived in the area at the end of July, hoping to be the first climber to solo a new big wall route. I was surprised to find eight teams with a total of 30 climbers at Base Camp, though by the start of the second week of August most of these had departed. My plan had been to add another route to the South West Face of Nalumasortoq but I found the small glacier on the approach rather too crevassed to cross safely on his own and instead turned further north to Ketil Pyramid, a ca 400m-high spire one kilometre southwest of Ketil’s 2,010m main summit, accessed via the Uiluit Qaqa Valley and far removed from other climbers. It is ca 1,600m and most probably first climbed via its easy East Face (300m, III) in 1960 by British mountaineers, Wally Keay and Roger Wallis.

I spent till the start of August ferrying all my equipment up the trackless 1,350m of height gain to the base of the South Face. The South Pillar of Ketil Pyramid was reportedly climbed in the 1980s by a Swiss team to give 11 pitches from UIAA V to VI+ [although unconfirmed this is likely to have been members from the Christian Dalphin/Michel Piola team, which put up a new route on the West Face of Ketil in 1984. The Pillar was certainly repeated in 1987 by three Danes and a Swede—Micheal Hjorth et al—in 1987]. However, the sheer south face to the right and the more slabby southwest face on the left remained untouched.

Adopting fixed rope tactics I began climbing up the center of the face on the 1st August and after six days climbing was just 20m below the east ridge. The climbing had been excellent, following diedres, cracks, and slabs in absolutely perfect granite. Then wind and rain prevented movement above base camp for four days and it wasn’t until the 18th that I could finish the route and rappel the wall. Lost Friends is 425m and 10 pitches up to 65m each. Around half the route required aid (I carried a lot of equipment, including 54 Friends, 20 hooks, and 21 copperheads) and some bolts were placed. The difficulties were not severe, with the route felt to warrant an American grade of V 5.10a A3c.

Thomas Tivadar, Munich, Germany

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