North America, Greenland, West Greenland, West Coast, Various First Ascents

Publication Year: 2005.

West Coast, various first ascents. The 10m fiberglass yacht Dodo’s Delight, skippered by Bob Shepton again visited the West Coast. After sailing from Scotland to Godthab (Nuuk) via Cape Farewell, the crew progressed a short distance to 65°N and anchored in the ca 25km Kangerd-luarssugssauq Fjord. The climbing here is not technical but the scale is big with difficult route finding and often loose and bouldery terrain. Unusually poor summer weather in 2004 also hindered activity. On the 25th July Keith Geddes and Shepton climbed Pt 1,650m east of the fjord head. This had been climbed before but almost certainly not from the west. The ascent involved a 30km round trip and took 28 hours. Shepton, now being in his late 60s, was really quite pleased.

On the 27th Geddes, Shepton and Phil Ham made the first ascent of Mt. Stevenson (1,115m) via a Perfect Mountain Day. On the same day Emily Brooks and Nigel Harrison made the first ascent of 1,430m Mt. Peters, a fine peak climbed by the northern glacier.

The team then took the boat further up the coast to 71°N and into the northern end of Uummaanaq Fjord to reach Akuliarusinguaq Peninsular, an area previously explored by myself in both 1998 and 2001. The principal objectives here were four remaining unclimbed peaks of more than 2,000m. Attempts were not successful at first, though ascents were made of Pt 1,815m, a little to the north west of spot height 1,790, and several peaks on the nearby island of Qeqertarssuaq (Nugatsiaq): Pt 1,511m (previously climbed); two adjacent unnamed summits, and four summits (Pt 1,735m, Spot height 1,750m, 1,645m Twin 1 and 1,715m Twin 2) lying on an east to west ridge in the northern sector of the island. Then, over the 13th-14th August, Shepton made the first ascent of Solo Snow Dome (2,065m) on the peninsula via an easy but energy-sapping snow ridge. In all 14 peaks were climbed and 12 of these were believed to be previously virgin.

The boat then moved further north to Upernavik, where there was a change of crew. It then continued up the coastline with the intention of seeing how far north it was possible to sail a fiberglass yacht. Dodo’s Delight eventually reached 78° 32'N in Nares Strait above Etah, probably as far north up the Greenland coast as any ordinary yacht has been. Returning south, the boat moored close to Thule, from where Polly Murray and Tash Wright made the first east to west ski traverse of Herbert Island (77° 25'N), ca 30km of exacting soft snow at an average altitude of 850m, completed from the 20th-23rd September.

Bob Shepton, Scotland