AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Southeast Section

Kiguti, Norwegian Route; Fin massif, Gud Har Ikkje Gløymt Oss, Han Gir Bare Faen. In early April, Ole Lied, Sigurd Felde, Audun Hetland, and I left Norway for Sam Ford Fjord. We had seen pictures of the great wall of Kiguti from the Norwegian 2000 expedition to Baffin, so we wanted to have a closer look. We knew that the wall had been climbed but did not have any detailed information about the route(s). [In 1995, Spanish climbers Daniel Ascaso, Javier Ballester, and Pepe Chaverri made the first ascent of the wall via Nirvana (5.9 A3+) in eight days, climbing the prow on the right side. No other routes are thought to exist on this wall—Ed.]

After two days in Clyde, where Levi Palituq provided us with accommodations and other assistance, we headed out for Sam Ford Fjord. We established our camp in a sheltered bay between Kiguti and the Fin. We spent the next two days carrying gear and scrutinizing a possible route. There was one obvious, continuous line that caught our attention. Although the line looked attractive, we were afraid it had already been climbed, so we searched for a less conspicuous line. There was one that had the same start as the other, but after two or three pitches it headed slightly left through a compact slab. It reached a half-moonshaped dihedral that continued up one-third of the wall. From the top of the dihedral, the line followed thin cracks through the steepest aspect of the face and continued to the very summit.

Two pitches of mixed climbing led to a big snow ledge under the main wall. From there aid climbing started, and after five or six days we fixed ropes all the way to a small ledge 300 vertical meters above the fjord. After 10 days the comfort of living on the fjord ended.

The first pitch above Camp 1 turned out to be the crux. We used peckers and heads in a thin crack, but in many places the face only allowed hooking. A great pendulum, the dihedral, and the ledge itself were hazards in case of a fall. The line offered many pitches of exquisite A2, only interrupted by A1 and A3 pitches in between. The rock was porous in places, because it was eroded by air and not by water.

Many cracks were compact and shallow, which meant we often had to use a hammer.

The lower half of the wall was vertical and slabby, while the upper half overhung slightly. If a rock fell from the top of the route, it would free-fall for 12 seconds before hitting the big snow ledge—an observation of interest to BASE-jumpers visiting the fjord and, for us, a source of really exposed climbing.

After 15 days and 1,000m of climbing we reached the summit of Kiguti. The line was challenging to the very last pitch, but we had a nice time on the wall. We brought food for 16 days and two barrels (150kg) of ice from an iceberg, which was sufficient for the climb.

The Norwegian Route has 23 pitches and is graded VI 5[Norwegian] A3+.

After time skiing and reading, we looked for other routes. Audun and Sigurd wanted to try a 400m aid line on the Fin, but they gave up after three days because of strong, cold winds. Ole and I did an alpine line on the right side of the Fin, with 700m of continuous crack and dihedral climbing on a beautiful pillar. We named the route Gud Har Ikkje Gløymt Oss, Han Gir Bare Faen [rough translation: God Hasn’t Actually Forgotten Us, He Just Doesn’t Give a Damn]. It comprises 12 long pitches (60+m) and is graded 5.10 A0.

We had a great time on Baffin, enjoyed the spectacular walls, the harshness of nature, and got to know some great characters in the local communities.

Lars Flatø Nessa, Norway