American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Renland, Various Ascents

Greenland, Renland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Michel Raab
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

Inspired by our three-week honeymoon in Liverpool Land one year previous (see report here), my wife, Betsy Winston, and I decided to return to Greenland's east coast. Looking at Google Earth and pictures of the region, we chose a valley in the east-southeast corner of Renland, just south of the Edward Bailey Glacier. The remote aspect and big granite peaks interested us, and through his company Tangent Expeditions, Paul Walker provided us with logistical support.

We landed at Constable Pynt on August 1 and set off for Renland early on the 2nd in Zodiacs. A combination of wind and shallow shoreline proved to be a challenge, but after 46 hours, where we circumnavigated Jameson Land and moved up along Scoresbysund, the boats dropped us at a beach near the toe of the glacier. We set up camp at 71°08.911' N, 25°38.945' W.

For the next four days we shuttled gear and food up the glacier and looked for climbing opportunities. Snowline was at ca 1,000m, and massive rockfall and steep broken icefalls narrowed our ability to access the heart of the range. On August 7 we set up base camp at 1,068m (71°11.196' N, 25°48.928' W). From there we found a west-facing, 300m snow/ice gully (50° maximum) that led to a small saddle at 1,423m (71°11.753' N, 25°42.397' W). We then climbed northwest long an exposed 4th and low 5th class ridge that led to easier ground, and to the summit we named Mitsy Peak (1,834m, 71°11.891' N, 25°48.247' W). From here we could access new exploratory terrain along the skyline.

On the 9th we climbed back up Mitsy Peak to spend two nights sleeping under the stars. On one of those nights it rained and snowed for couple of hours, but we found shelter underneath a big boulder. On the 10th we scouted along glaciated slopes and rocky ridges (snow and ice up to 60?), reaching a selection of tops due west of Mitsy Peak. We had amazing 360° views of the range, the ice cap, and ocean. We spotted beautiful peaks in all directions, especially west from us, and south of the Edward Bailey Glacier. Some of the high points reached were: Pt. 2,090m(dubbed Cerro Scotty, 71°12.392' N, 25°51.370' W); Pt. 2,015m (71°12.357' N, 25°52.576' W); Pt. 2,003m (71°12.397' N, 25°52.953' W); Pt. 2,009m (71°12.266' N, 25°52.279' W); Pt. 2,084m (71°12.355' N, 25°52.401' W).

On the 13th we climbed a three-pitch rock route (5.9) on a small tower on the north edge of the gully that we used to access Mitsy Peak. We named it Rabbit Tower. That same day we moved camp down glacier to 558m (71°10.683' N, 25°44.166' W) at the mouth of an adjacent glacier that we named Marmot Valley.

The next day we attempted a major peak in this valley. We headed north-northeast up the glacier for two kilometers, then along the glacier due east to a bergschrund at the head of the cirque. Once above the bergschrund, we continued east, climbing a couloir to a small saddle (400m, snow and ice to 65°). From there we headed north, climbing the south ridge of the peak. This began with a mixture of 3rd- and 4th-class rock, and finished with pitches up to 5.8+ (300m of height gain), reaching a high point of 1,563m on the south flank of our main objective.At this point we turned around due to fatigue and limited materials to build rappels. We estimated that we were about 200m shy of our initial objective. We named our summit Cerro Castillito (71°11.785' N, 25°42.594' W). The descent involved multiple rappels along the ridge, before retracing our steps down the couloir and glacier. On the 15th we headed down to the beach and were picked up by Zodiacs at midnight.

This is a great destination for alpine climbing, with much potential for adventurous first ascents; we found no evidence of previous expeditions. The weather remained stable for most of our trip. We'd recommend coming earlier in the season in order to achieve further access into the range with fewer difficulties.

Michel Raab, Switzerland

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