Milne Land, Probable First and Second Ascents

Greenland, Milne Land
Author: Christian Veenstra, Canada. Climb Year: 2012. Publication Year: 2013.

During 14 days in August, Line Veenstra and I climbed a number of peaks in northeast Milne Land. We accessed the island by boat from Constable Pynt, and followed the Korridoren Glacier west, moving camp often and making many side trips. We rented a rifle but saw no sign of polar bears during our travels—for the same weight, an aluminum ladder, for bridging crevasses, would have proved more useful.

We attempted to access the icefield to our north via glaciated tongues falling into the basin at 70°53' N, 25°59' W. However, and possibly due to our presence late in the season, we couldn't find a route through the crevasses that would be suitable for heavy load carrying. We eventually succeeded via a mellow couloir (less than 35°) that started from 70°52' N, 25°53' W. This allowed hassle-free access to the upper icefield and was strewn with large amber-colored pieces of calcite. Gaining the icefield to the south of the Korridoren was straightforward via the glacier at 70°49' N, 25°55' W’. Peak 1,247m was climbed as a side trip directly up talus slopes from the Korridoren.

Of the peaks we climbed from the icefield to the north, Peak 1,247m was first climbed in 1986, while Peak 1,867m and two other unspecified summits were climbed in 1989 (see reports by Malcolm Sales in AAJ 1987 and 1990). Of the peaks on the icefield to the south, Rino's Head and Lion Peak were climbed in 2004 by members of the West Lancashire Scouts expedition. They note that Rino's Head was likely also climbed by Sales. It is also possible that some peaks on the icefield to the south were climbed in 2005 by a Tangent expedition. This group reports summiting 20 peaks during an east-west traverse further south again, but we were unable to ascertain their location.

A list of peaks we climbed now follows. Names are those we used at the time, while altitudes are from a hand-held GPS. All ascents were graded F, unless noted otherwise. (CV) denotes myself; (LV) is Line.

The Locomotive (70°53.153' N, 25°42.786'W, marked 1,247m on 1:250,000). First ascent 1986, Malcolm Sales et al. A triple summit of volcanic plugs oriented roughly north-south. The northern summit (Smokestack) is the tallest and most difficult (it was too loose and we did not climb it). The central summit (Boiler) is a walk (CV, LV), while the south summit (Cabin) is 4th class from the west (CV).

Calcite Couloir Peaks: Calcite Peak (1,484m, 70°52.076' N, 25°51.275' W) is the tallest peak to the east of the couloir (CV, LV); Amber Horn is a small bump south of Calcite with a ca 600m vertical face overlooking the Korridoren (CV); Couloir Bump (1,460m?) is the small volcanic plug directly on the upper rim of the couloir (3rd class, loose, CV)

Upsicle Peak (1,622m, 70°55.018' N, 25°50.408' W) is easy 3rd class via the southwest ridge (CV, LV).

Jörmungandr Peak (1,859m GPS, marked 1867m on 1:250,000, 70°53.321' N, 25°54.242' W, AD-) was first climbed in 1989 by Malcolm Sales et al (40° north face, or follow northwest ridge and ice on flanks to avoid gendarmes, CV).

Fenrir Peak (1,842m, 70°54.008' N, 25°55.999' W, PD+) via the northeast ridge (CV, LV).

Igloo (1,859m, 70°56.274' N, 25°57.563' W) is the tallest snowy bump in the area, and climbed on ski from the south-southeast (CV, LV).

Bird Ridge, summits from southwest to northeast: Secretary Peak (1,463m, 70°47.478' N, 25°56.277' W) is a choss walk from the west (CV, LV); Turaco Peak (1,453m, 70°47.543' N, 25°55.814' W) is a choss walk from Secretary (CV, LV); Crane Peak (1,444m, 70°47.781' N, 25°55.842' W) continues the choss walk.

Rino’s Head (1,455m, 70°48.639' N, 25°57.974' W) was first climbed in 1989 by Malcolm Sales, et al, and then again in 2004 by West Lancashire Scouts. CV and LV made a ski ascent from the south. The "Horn" appears best approached up the ice apron from Korridoren, but it was not climbed by us or WLS.

Lion Peak (1,627m, 70°47.026' N, 25°58.584' W, lesser sub-summit marked 1,690m on 1:250,000) was first climbed in 2004 via the northwest ridge by WLS. We gained the east ridge from the col with Secretary, then made a choss walk to the sub-summit of the Mane (CV, LV), and continued over 3rd class terrain to the summit (CV).

Christian Veenstra, Canada

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