American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Greenland, South Greenland — Cape Farewell Region, Quvnerit Island, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2012

Quvnerit Island, various ascents. This was my third trip to Greenland. In 2001, with Gabor Berecz, Gunter Dengler, and Thomas Tivadar, Id established a 1,000m big wall route on Pamiagdluk Island. In 2004 I found enthusiastic companions for an exploration of Quvnerit Island, where Tom Holzhauser, Caro Morel, Wanja Reichel, the Tresch brothers, Michi Wyser, and I established 10 rock routes to 7c. In early August 2011 Andreas Lietha, Holzhauser, Morel, Michi Tresch, Wyser, and I were back on Quvnerit, where due to climate change it was considerably warmer than during my previous Greenland trips. After establishing base camp at the 2004 site, we went exploring by boat; many of the walls are only accessible in this way. We could not believe that most walls and peaks are still unclimbed, and went to work on perfect granite with steep crack systems.

With great weather Via Corradojillo (6c) and Private Universe (7a+) started a wave of first ascents on the west coast of the island. Soon afterwards we climbed El Martillo (6a+), Rascana (6c), and Bondola (6a+) on perfect rock in the breathtaking setting of the Itivdliap-Pularia Fjord.

After a few rest days, Tom, Michi, and I put up Another Wallhalla (6a+) on one of the 800m crack-ridden pillars on the north coast. We traveled with a minimum of gear up this perfect route with perfect clean protection. Warm days under mosquito nets alternated with cold nights in glacier bivouacs. We climbed more “almost classic” new lines in one-day pushes. Lucky Mushrooms (6b+), Northern Comfort (6a+), and Waslala (6a+) are as good as the best granite routes in the Alps.

One highlight of the trip was the first ascent of Serratit (the Inuit word for a magic spell that may only be used in dangerous situations), above a north- facing glacier basin in the center of Quvnerit. Tom, Michi, and I climbed 12 demanding pitches between 6b+ and 7b, reaching the summit of Asiaq Tower. The constantly steep route offers face climbing, with hard bouldery sections, a dream dihedral, and cracks from finger to a 60m off width not far from the top.

We sat on the summit enjoying the endless views of mountains and fjords. To the south lay only the ocean. We rappelled to the 200m ice field at the foot of the face and, after another hour, arrived at the bivouac site in the middle of the glacier. It can’t get any better, I thought, as I sank into my sleeping bag while the northern lights began their spectacle, and the full moon rose over our peak.

Toward the end of our stay, an incident brought home the fact that, even with a satellite phone, this is a lonely place. One day before her planned departure, Caro was injured in the hand by a falling stone. She got scant diagnosis from the hospital in Appilattoq but learned in Switzerland two days later that she had damaged metacarpal-bones and some lacerations but no tendon injuries.

The weather turned unsettled in our last week, and we lost motivation. On the last three days we bouldered. Our Inuit boat arrived to ferry us to Nanortalik, where, despite showers, extended sauna sit- ins, and culinary festivals, we were looking forward to going home. What remained were memories, and not only memories of good rock climbing. During our five weeks on Quvnerit we climbed 10 new routes, clean and without fixed gear, and had only four days of rain and storm, during the last week. As always Nanortalik Tourism was helpful and hospitable in organizing the logistics and providing the practical and moral support needed for climbing in South Greenland, including receiving cargo, chartering boats, and booking hotels. Contact them through nanortaliktourism.com

Following is a summary of our climbs. In Itivdliap Pularia Fjord: two routes on Piz Rascana, Corradojillo (300m, 7 pitches, 6c, Morel-Lietha-Wyser, August 1) and Rascana (450m, 10 pitches, 6c, Holzhauser-Lamprecht-Tresch, August 5); two routes on Dos Canones I, Private Universe (550m 12 pitches, 7a+, Holzhauser-Tresch, August 1), and Lucky Mushrooms (600m, 10 pitches, 6b+, Morel- Lietha-Wyser, August 11); one route on Dos Canones II, El Martillo (500m, 10 pitches, 6a+, Morel- Lietha-Wyser, August 4); two routes on Bondola, Bondola (450m, 9 pitches, 6a+, Morel-Lietha-Wyser, August 7), and Northern Comfort (600m, 12 pitches, 6a+, Lietha-Wyser, August 20). In Sivinganerup ima Fiord: one route on Asiaq, Serratit (600m, 12 pitches, 7b, Holzhauser-Lamprecht-Tresch, August 15); two routes on Golden Pillars, Another Wallhalla (800m, 16 pitches, 6a+, Holzhauser-Lamprecht-Tresch, August 11), and Waslala (600m, 11 pitches, 6a+, Morel-Lietha- Wyser, August 15 and 22).

Toni Lamprecht, Germany

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