American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Ulamertorssuaq and Nalumasortoq, New Routes

Greenland, South Greenland, Tasermiut Fjord

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Carlos Molina
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2018

In July 2016, Georg Hoedle, Martin Lopez Abad, and I disembarked in Tasermiut Fjord with food and provisions for one month. Our first goal was to climb War and Poetry, a 5.12c variation to the Geneva Diedre (1,000m, 6b A4, Dalphin-Piola-Probost-Wiestlibach, 1983) on the west face of Ulamertorssuaq (1,830m). War and Poetry was freed in 1999 by Jeff Bechtel, Steve Bechtel, Mike Lilygren, Peter Mallamo, Bobby Model, Paul Piana, and Todd Skinner. After that, if possible, we hoped to open new routes in this valley of monolithic walls.

The day after we arrived there was a two-day weather window, during which we climbed War and Poetry in alpine style. We sent the entire route except for a 5.12b slab section high on the wall.

After three days of rest, we set our sights on a mountain in the back of the valley behind Nalumasortoq. However, the rock was poor and there was a lot of lichen. After three pitches, we decided to abandon this project.

We took another rest day, then attempted a new route on Nalumasortoq, almost in the center of the wall, in alpine style. The line began with a roof and was almost entirely comprised of hand and finger cracks. Just 150m from the summit, the haul bag with all our supplies came unclipped from the haul line—I had attached it using a non-locking carabiner—and it plummeted into the void. We decided to bail.

After three days of bad weather, we returned to our high point and finished the route, continuing up cracks to the right of the large detached block from which we had bailed before. On July 26, we climbed the whole route in four hours; we believe this will likely be the easiest route on the wall. We named it Pedo de Placer (550m, French 7a) and descended via the Spanish route to the left.

After two rest days, we started up an obvious line on the southeastern pillar of the north peak of Ulamertorssuaq. [This pillar is just to the left of a separate pillar or fin climbed in 1998 by Ian Parsons and Tony Penning: the James Hopkins Trust Buttress (British E4 5c).]We took the most natural route up the center of the wall, finding exceptional rock quality throughout the climb, and a mix of good face and crack climbing. With bad weather coming, we rapped back to the ground after climbing about halfway. After waiting out a week of bad weather, we returned to our high point and then finished our route. All of the pitches were opened ground up. We placed 20 protection bolts as well as a fully bolted rappel line. We named the route Qujanaq (700m of climbing, French 7a), which means “thank you” in the local language. The route is similar to War and Poetry, but easier.

– Carlos “Carlitos” Molina, Argentina, translated from Spanish by Chris Kalman

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