American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord, Mythics Cirque: Hidden Tower, Cinderella Ridge; Aurora Tower, Southwest Ridge

North America, Greenland, East Greenland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Paul McSorley
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

Matthew Irving (USA), Julian Kenchenten (Canada), Paolo Marazzi (Italy), Angela Percival (Canada), Vikki Weldon (Canada), and I left Isafjordur, Iceland, on August 18 aboard the sailboat Aurora. Captain Vidar Kristinsson and first mate Rasmus Jonsson piloted us to Greenland’s East Coast over three days. We set anchor about 120km northeast of Tasiilaq in Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord, home of the Mythics Cirque, visited (and named) only once before, by an Australian-American-British team and an independent American team, who simultaneously sessioned the area in 2012.

Our first climb, on August 22, was from a high camp on an unnamed glacier south of the cirque. [The two teams in 2012 made their base camp on the coast east of the cirque.] Matt, Paolo, Vikki, and I climbed the southwest buttress of Hidden Peak (ca 1,400m; the southeast buttress was climbed in 2012 for the first ascent of the peak by Matthew Bunn and Mike Royer). We climbed approximately 17 pitches and scrambled several hundred meters for an estimated vertical gain of 800m. The climbing covered a variety of rock, from choss to immaculate, and offered difficulties to 5.11c. On the second rappel of 15, Vikki dropped a shoe, but with a bit of prosthetic taping she endured the rest of the descent like a champ. The route named itself Cinderella Ridge and was completed camp to camp in 18 hours.

After a few days of SUP'ing, cragging, and hiking, all of the climbers traveled on the 26th to the "backside" of the cirque, and after some very involved glacier travel we began climbing the southwest ridge of the highest peak in the Mythics, noted as 1,451m on the map, at approximately 66°18'23.71"N, 35°46'19.47"W Google Earth. To our knowledge, this peak was unnamed and unclimbed.

After a bit of rotten rock near the ’schrund, the ridge turned to mostly high-quality granitic rock, featured with holds and split with cracks. Difficulties on this 700m-long ridge never got harder than 5.9, with lots of exposed scrambling. The six of us topped out in late afternoon and descended partway down the ridge before making a bivouac 100m above the glacier. The next day we made it back to the boat in time for happy hour. The peak was christened Aurora Tower, as a tip of the hat to the vessel that provided such a commodious base camp.

On our way back, after a tour of the village of Tasiilaq, we scrambled a lesser, unnamed summit (ca 1,700m) on the ridge crest northeast of Ikasagtivaq Fjord, some 30km south of the Foxjaw Cirque.

Paul McSorley, Canada

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