Tasermiut Fjord, Ulamertorssuaq (1,830m), War and Poverty, More or Less Free Ascent; Nalumatorsoq (2,050m), Stupid White Man, First Free Ascent; Ketil Pyramid (ca 1,600m), South Face, Parti
North America, Greenland, South Greenland, Cape Farewell Region
We were lucky this time. Jurek Stefanski, Wawrzyniec “Wawa” Zakrzewski, and I wanted to make free ascents of War and Poetry, on the west face of Ulamertorssuaq, and Stupid White Man, on the west face of Nalumasortoq. In 2007 Wawa and I tried both, but as we had only four days without rain, we were unsuccessful. In 2008 we reached Nanortalik in July, only to find so much sea ice in the bay that there was no way we could go directly by boat to the Tasermiut Fjord. After four days we persuaded someone to take us across to the mainland, from where we walked four hours to the village of Tasiuuaq, reaching it during a big storm. Next day a local boatman took us across the fjord to the usual dropping-off point below Ulamertorssuaq. On our return, direct to Nanortalik by boat, the journey took only 63 minutes.
It now rained for 11 days. On July 22 the weather finally cleared and we started up War and Poetry. In 2007 we had climbed 19 pitches before rappeling in the rain. This time we climbed 23 pitches in 15 hours, all on-sight except for the 17th, which we redpointed at 5.12c. We stopped because our topo suggested the last good bivouac ledge was at the top of pitch 23. As we found later, this isn’t true. The good ledges are at the top of pitches 26 and 27. Not only was our ledge poor, but we didn’t even have down jackets, so we spent a miserable night. Starting late next morning, we finished the route despite the cold. The first pitch of day two was 5.12b. The leader fell one meter from the top of it, and after a rest finished it. We climbed the remaining pitches cleanly, the hardest being a 5.10d offwidth. At 2 p.m. we reached the summit after 33 hours on the route. The Grmovseks [see above] had been behind us on the first day (sleeping one pitch below us) but took the lead on the second. We believe that War and Poetry is identical to the 1983 Geneva Diedre, except for five to seven pitches. Due to excellent in-situ belays anchors, the rappels are super easy.
After two days’ rest we hit the 2007 German route, Stupid White Man. A year before Wawa and I had attempted to free it, climbing the first nine pitches (the hardest), up to 5.12b (AAJ 2008). This time we slept at the bottom of the face and started the route at 8 a.m. after overnight rain. We reached the top in 15½ hours. The first nine pitches are on sound rock and follow a logical system of cracks and chimneys. The next nine, which we were climbing for the first time, we managed on-sight. They are not as difficult (5.11 max), and neither are they as good, being looser and less logical. The route often lies within 15m of Umwelten, and crosses it at the 12th and 15th belays.
As the weather was still good, we decided to climb the south face of Ketil Pyramid. We started at the left side of the face and climbed a 450m route at 5.11b. At one point we climbed two pitches across slabs, where we found existing bolts. [Editor’s note: This partial new route appears to climb virgin ground until joining the South Pillar route below half-height. The pillar was first climbed by Swiss in the 1980s at UIAA VI+.] All our ascents took place within nine days.