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

North America, Greenland, South Coast, Tasermiut Fjord, Kirkespiret, Alpin Glow; Nalumasortoq, Nagguteeqqat

Tasermiut fjord, Kirkespiret, Alpin Glow; Nalumasortoq, Nagguteeqqat. I first saw the granite walls of Tasermiut at a slide show in Murcia. After several years of climbing in the Alps and Yosemite, I was ready for them, but had done too much training and became bored by climbing. I needed a rest and turned to sailing. I bought a wreck and daydreamed about long voyages. I saw pictures of a French expedition that had traveled to South Georgia on a sailing boat and wondered, “Why not?" The answer came in the form of work, responsibilities, and lack of money. I modified my plans and decided to fly to Greenland and put up what I believed would be the first Spanish route on Nalumasortoq. Our Alicante team comprised Alberto Hinarejos, Hugo Jareño, Enrique Martin, Javier Martin, Javier Palomares, Jesus Romero, and I. However, not long before we were ready to leave, we discovered a Basque party had climbed a route on the far left side of the wall. However, we decided to go anyway.

We landed in Narssarssuaq on July 3 and next day set off for the Tasermiut in a fast boat, motoring among icebergs and through fjords and rain showers. On the way we collected our gear, which was sent by cargo ship at the start of April, and became stuck in sea ice two miles off Nanortalik. The closely packed sea ice also prevented us getting into the Tasermiut. It was decision time, and we opted to be dropped at the shore below the Nalunaq gold mine on the west side of the fjord and then try to contact a local fisherman, who might take us across to the opposite shore. On the approach we got a beautiful view of Kirkespiret. The staff from the mine helped carry our gear, and the next evening we were comfortably set up at their camp. The people were extremely polite in allowing us to stay and offered us maps, pictures, and, most important, hot water. We were surprised and pleased with such kindness and sincere help.

Next day three to four hours walk and scramble took us to an advanced base near a small stream at the snow line. A further hour put us under the north face of Kirkespiret. Directly opposite, 0n the far side of the fjord, we could see the huge walls of Ulamertorssuaq. It took our breath away, and we began to refer to it as El Bicho, which means it is not of this world.

We crossed the pass leading to the west face of Kirkespiret and on July 6 split into two parties and started up the wall. One team began close to the pass, while the other opted for a big 50m-long crack more to the right. I was part of the second group, with Alberto and Jesus. However, after two pitches everything was wet, so we abandoned our line and tried another. Meanwhile our friends had climbed quickly and were on a big ledge, two pitches and about one-third of the way up the face. We began another line just to the left of theirs. Both parties came down for the night, leaving ropes fixed.

Next day was beautiful and sunny. The weather was mild, the rock was dry, and we were motivated. Our friends ran up the wall and by midday were out of sight. We reached a big ledge and made a long traverse right, looking for a different line. Again we made a mistake, finding the rock extremely rotten and dangerous. After difficult downclimbing and rappelling we regained the ledge and descended. The other party continued through the night, completing the remaining 260m and arriving on the summit at 6 a.m. We reached the foot of the spire three hours later and helped them down after their 26 hours non-stop ascent. The route they named Alpin Glow (360m, 6c and A1+) was completed by Jareño, both Martins, and Palomares. We named our 100m variant start El Fari (5+ and Al, three pitches).

After this ascent we made contact with our boat and found that the sea ice had opened. We were picked up on the 9th and ferried to the base camp below Ulamertorssuaq. Next day we set up an advanced base and several of the team went up to the west face of Nalumatorsoq (2,045m), to start our intended new route on the left side of the central black streaks. Our line was just 30m to the right of what would become Stupid White Man, a route being opened by a German team. Working in shifts we overcame scary offwidths and poor weather to arrive at a long flat ledge we called “Chess ledge.” We had fixed 250m of rope to this point, when bad weather moved in and confined us to base camp for three days. We then fixed a further 70m above the ledge and on the 18th set off for the top. After almost 24 hours of non-stop climbing three of us reached the top of the wall. It was 7 a.m. on the 20th. Everyone except our cameraman Enrique took part in opening the route, which we named Nagguteeqqat (6c and A2,600m) after a popular bread eaten in Greenland. Thanks to our walkie-talkies we were all able to meet and carry the gear back to base camp.

Juan Carlos Romero, Spain