American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, Cape Farewell, Titan I, Southeast Pillar

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Titan I, southeast pillar. Dutch climbers Martin Fickweiler and I visited the Tasermiut Fjord in July. We camped in the Klosterdalen Valley close to the fjord and below the famous tower, Ketil. We spotted interesting rock spires at the end of the valley, on its northern flank, and decided to have a look. Later we found that these peaks are known as Titan I (Pk. 1,811m) and Titan II (Pk.

1,736m). We chose the prominent southeast pillar of Titan I as our goal. On July 6, after several rainy days, we walked to the base of the mountain and camped. Just before reaching the campsite Martin fell and got a nasty cut to the knee. In order to continue climbing, he had to stitch it. However, we now knew that if we got up the route, there was at least a name for it: Wounded Knee.

After a day’s rest we fixed the first two rope lengths. On July 9 we climbed 15 long pitches to a perfect bivouac spot to the right of the foresummit. We could melt nearby snow for drinks. Next day we climbed the lichen-covered connecting ridge, which steepened into a near-vertical summit wall. The wall looked intimidating, but we found a way through. Finally, a 15-minute scramble took us to the summit, where we left a piton. The view was superb, encompassing hundreds of peaks and the nearby icecap. On our descent we bivouacked at the same spot and reached the base of the mountain during the afternoon of the 11th. Here we were attacked once again by the ubiquitous mosquitoes (head nets are indispensable).

Wounded Knee is 900m high, with 21 pitches of mainly 5+ to 6b. There is one beautiful but somewhat run-out pitch of 6b+. The climbing is mainly in cracks and corners just on the right flank of the pillar. The rock is sound, with the exception of one pitch through a brown- colored band. Each belay is equipped with one hand-drilled 8mm bolt (with a red sling). Apart from the belays, we did not use bolts, only Friends and wires. We are almost certain that the mountain had not been climbed previously from this side but cannot rule out an ascent in the 1950s or 60s from the glaciated north side.

On the July 18 we tried another probably new line: the northwest pillar of Pk. 1,727m at the bifurcation of the valley. We climbed the pillar for about 800m, negotiating difficulties from 3 to 6b on rock that was not always solid. However, when the pillar steepened, the rock became increasingly compact and, more seriously, covered with thick black lichen. We decided not to continue up the remaining 200m, made three rappels, then down-climbed the rest, in order not to lose gear for another route (we took no bolts on this climb). However, the weather became more unstable, forcing us to abandon a plan to climb the fabulous west face of Ketil. On the 24th we left base camp.

Roland Bekendam, The Netherlands

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