American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, East Coast, South Liverpool Land, Kronen Northeast Pillar (not to Summit)

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

South Liverpool Land, Kronen northeast pillar (not to summit); Peak 800, south face to southeast ridge, first ascent. Climbing solo my goal was to make first ascents of mixed faces, ridges, and buttresses in the southern part of Liverpool Land, a little north of Scoresby Sund (often described as the largest fjord system in the world). The rock is friable and rotten, so although parties have traveled through it during the summer, and parts of Liverpool Land have been visited during the winter and spring for ski mountaineering (see AAJ 2005), little climbing has been achieved.

I was taken from the village of Ittoqqortoormiit, which has around 600 inhabitants, by a young Inuit hunter, Esajas Arqe, and his 10 dogs. On the sled we had all our provisions, camping and climbing equipment, plus a rifle to guard against polar bears. There was much fresh snow, which made it difficult for the dogs, particularly as we approached the mountains and the terrain became steeper. We only traveled 13-15km northwest from the village, but once at our destination it felt remote and isolated. Esajas stayed while I went climbing.

I went in April. May would probably be alright too for mixed climbs but June and July too warm. The temperature in the mountains was often -6 to -10°C dropping to -15 to -20°C during the night. On some days there were strong winds. Between the 13th and 23rd I made two climbs. The first was on the northeast pillar of Kronen (1,140m), which gave 50-60° snow/ice, UIAA IV rock and mixed climbing up to M3. I stopped on the top of the pillar after 500m and descended the way I had come, leaving one piton in place. The route, which I named Arctic Passion, starts from near the head of the Nissedal Valley.

The second climb was the south face and southeast ridge of unnamed Peak 800m, which is directly south of Kronen and northeast of the Tvaedal Valley. I climbed the middle of the south face for 350m, then trended right to the southeast ridge, where I followed the rocky crest to the summit. The total vertical gain was 500m and the difficulties UIAA IV+ M3 and 45-65° snow/ice. I left one piton in place at the end of the traverse. I called the route Light and Loneliness. From the summit I downclimbed the east face over 45° snow, ice and, rocky sections. I found no evidence of previous climbers during my visit but didn't feel there was much scope in this area for worthwhile mixed climbing, nor for routes much harder than I did.

Eduard Birnbacher, Germany

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