American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Northern Liverpool Land, Various Ascents

Greenland, East Coast

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Jim Gregson
  • Climb Year: 2007
  • Publication Year: 2009

From April 7 to 21, 2007, a British group comprising Juliette and Simon Ash, Darren Davis, Sandy Gregson, Julie Urquhart, and I as leader, made a ski-touring and mountaineering trip to the small icecap at the northern end of Liverpool Land. We flew from Iceland to the airstrip at Nerlerit Inaat (Constable Pynt), where on our arrival the temperature was -20°C. Within two hours we were being transported north by skidoos and sledges, driven by Inuit locals. We crossed the sea ice of Hurry Fjord, continued through Klitdal and down Paselv to reach the head of Carlsberg Fjord. There we crossed sea ice again and ascended the glacier flowing from the icecap, eventually reaching N 71°20.266', W 22°15.587', where we made base camp at 330m. Part of our skidoo train also carried British guide Phil Poole with three clients, intent on making a north-south traverse of Liverpool Land back to Scoresbysund. The skidoo journey, with its severe wind chill, was a rude introduction to the High Arctic for my group, of which only two had previous summer experience of Greenland.

Due to its elevation our campsite enjoyed sunshine for 14 hours a day and no real darkness beyond twilight, even at this time of year. We only lost a couple of days to cold, windy weather, so we enjoyed pleasant ski touring and made a number of ascents: Peak 1 (595m, N 71°22.139', W 22°13.893'), Peak 2 (590m, N 71°22.091', W 22°13.960'), Peak 3 (600m, N 71°22.229', W 22°13.703'), Cone Nunatak (N 71°21.917', W 22°03.867), Peak 660m (N 71°22.218', W 22°12.596'), Cairn Point (N 71°22.948', W 22°11.862'), Peak 770m (N 71°17.929', W 22°08.611'), Tarn Top (600m, N 71°21.511', W 22°16.206'), and South Top (730m, N 71°17.245\ W 22°08.292').

There are many more unclimbed peaks in this area, some of which would give fine technical climbing, possibly better done later in the year. However, the amount of time during which the sun affects climbing conditions can be a big problem. North faces receive sun all night, south faces all day. And summer melt would make for less pleasant skiing.

During the expedition we saw only the odd raven, heard arctic foxes, and found tracks of lemmings, arctic foxes, and a lone arctic wolf. Juliette and Simon also came across polar bear tracks. We regained the airstrip in warmer weather to find considerable snow had melted and that Phil Poole and nearly all of his group had made it close to Scoresbysund village, the final leg completed by dog sledge. At one point they met a polar bear and cubs.

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