American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, West Greenland, Nutarmuit Island, Ullukkut

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

Nutarmuit Island, Ullukkut. Originally I had wanted to climb a formation on Qaersorssuaq Island, however on the July boat ride there we saw that my topo map was not entirely accurate. So a quick change in plans, and Donny Alexander and I were on the island of Nutarmuit. While scouting out lines on the abundance of rock in the area, we climbed an easy 1,000-foot snow couloir. We then climbed a 400-foot 5.9 route. The next day we tried soloing a ridgeline. About 600 feet up we got into loose 5.8 rock that looked like it was going to dead-end under a headwall. So 600 feet of down-climbing followed.

After a week of rain in the tent we stared climbing a 1,200-foot wall. The approach had an 800-foot snowfield which was steep enough you not want to fall, followed by 300 feet of really loose 4th class. However after that point the rock became awesome and the climbing stellar. It was raining, so the rock was wet and the thin seams were muddy, making our progress slow at times.

After 600 feet we got to the pillar that we had been aiming for. We were very happy to see that the crack at the base was not an off-width. It still turned out to be an awkward lead. The inch-and-a-half crack ended by busting free moves off a hook, body weight knife blades, microstoppers, and blind stoppers going around a bulging corner. Then it went to #5 Camalots, more bulges, and a loose flake behind the pillar. Though I made a few unladylike comments while leading, it was one of the single best aid pitches I have ever led.

Our last day was a 23-hour push. Donny led the rest of the pillar mostly free (5.10b). As he was hauling our bag I heard a ding, ding, ding, I looked up just in time to see a couple of bolts taking a flight back to the ground. When I got up to our bag I was able to find three bolts, which ended up being the magic number. Two more pitches and we were at the summit. We could see that the next storm was going to hit soon, so it was a quick stay before we headed back down.

After drilling three single bolt rap anchors we were back at our established anchors, where there was food and water. I don’t know that many people have enjoyed water as much as we did (because of a miscommunication we had been climbing for over 20 hours without water). Half an hour after we got back to camp the storm hit and we were happily eating more food and drinking hot tea. Since we climbed a lot in the middle of the night, we named the route Ullukkut, which is Greenlandic for, In The Daytime. We rated the route V 5.10c A2+.

The next sunny day we went back to the ridge that we had bailed from earlier. We soloed a different line that was a 2,000-foot 5.8 alpine route. After that the weather caused a bit of an epic. The expedition tent did not hold up to the winds, so we had to bail down to the ocean to get picked up. One wet night and a chilly morning later we were on our way back to Upernavik.

More cancelled flights, another $1,000 for luggage (putting the total at over $3,000), and we were on our way to France to enjoy food (which did not include canned fish or oatmeal), red wine, and daily hot showers. Thank you to the American Alpine Club’s REI Challenge and The Obesity Treatment Center for helping make the trip possible.

Lynnea Anderson, AAC

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