American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, South Coast, Tasermiut Fjord, Ketil, west face, first alpine-style ascent, correction

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 2008

Tasermiut Fjord, Ketil, west face, first alpine-style ascent, correction. AAJ 2000 reported an ascent, thought to be the fourth, of the 1977 French Route on the west face of Ketil. The two climbers, Americans Jon Allen and Doug Byerly, believed they were making the first alpine-style ascent of the route, which they completed in two days to a bivouac that was 50m of easy scrambling below the summit ridge. Next day, ferocious winds forced them to retreat down the line of ascent without visiting the summit a short distance above. In fact, during July 1980 Erich Baud, Pierre Lainé, and I, from France, climbed the route over three days in alpine style. We reached the summit and descended the easy south face in perfect weather. We flew from France with only 20kg of baggage each, and on the climb had only one 90m rope, and traditional protection including a few pitons. On the first day we climbed 22 pitches to the first possible bivouac ledge, and on the second another 22. On day three we climbed five difficult pitches and then a further 14 of easy ground to the summit. Close to the top we realized that the south face looked far easier and safer than descending the 50-odd vertical pitches of the west face. We rappelled the south face in a day, bivouacked at the bottom, and hiked back to base camp in a further half day. This was the second overall and first alpine-style ascent of the route.

Bruno Chrétien, France

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