Schweizerland, Mt. Forel, Pepe e Isabel; Perfeknunatak, Al Tran-tran. 4V X-trem is a project that involves climbing virgin or rarely visited mountains in extreme areas. The first phase took place from May 21-June 10, when a team from Madrid, Curro González, Vicente Holgado, Raúl Lora, and I, flew to Kulusuk and then took a 45-minute helicopter flight to the Bjorne Glacier. From there we traveled 6km in four hours to a campsite at 2,250m in the Mt. Forel region.
Forel (3,391m) stands on the northern edge of Schweizerland, where the coastal mountains meet the inland ice cap. It is the second highest peak in Greenland outside the Gunnbjornsfjeld region and may not have been climbed more than a dozen or so times. Despite temperatures estimated to be -40°C on the summits, we climbed two routes that we believe to be new.
After walking three hours to a second camp below Forel, we climbed its southeast ridge. We named the 900m route (1,500m of climbing) Pepe e Isabel. The first half was primarily rock, with difficulties up to UIAA V+, and occasional sections of ice to 75°. Above, the route continued on snow and ice, through a serac barrier, to the summit cap. The ascent took 12 hours, and the overall grade of the ice/mixed terrain was V/3+. We descended, slowly, in 10 hours, by downclimbing and 11 rappels, from Abalakovs and rock anchors. We believe this to be the first Spanish ascent of Mt. Forel.
Curro and Raúl then climbed a peak called Perfeknunatak. We recorded a GPS measurement of 3,544m for the summit of Forel and 3,400m for Perfeknunatak. We are unclear as to whether the peak had been climbed previously. Perfeknunatak gave a harder though shorter climb, which Curro and Raul christened Al Tran-tran (V/3 F6a M4). The ascent proved dangerous at the bottom, due to large quantities of snow. Higher, they crossed a steep, exposed arête, then snow ramps and several vertical rock walls. Including the descent by a relatively easy route, the climbers spent eight hours on the mountain.
Gerard van den Berg, Spain