American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mt. Asgard, Ratatoskr

Canada, Nunavut, Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Dougald MacDonald, with information from Dmitry Golovchenko
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018



Dmitry Golovchenko and Sergey Nilov from Russia climbed a new route up the northwest face of the south tower of Mt. Asgard in August. Their route ascends a prominent pillar on the left side of the face, well to the left of Sensory Overload (2012, Lavigne-Papert-Walsh).

The two men climbed and fixed the bottom of the route on August 7 and 8, before establishing their first wall camp on August 9; they then continued capsule-style to the top. They carried food and fuel for two weeks, plus 36 liters of water because of the dry conditions they expected on the upper route.

The crux of the climb came on pitches 10 to 12 (the first three pitches of the headwall), where shattered rock created difficult climbing and poor protection. In all, they climbed 28 pitches (1,265m climbing distance, with 765m on the steep upper wall). They reached the summit on August 21. They had hoped to descend the 1971 route on the south ridge but were unable to find rappel anchors, and so were forced to descend their line, returning to base camp on August 23. They named the route Ratatoskr (Russian 6B VI A3), after a squirrel in Norse mythology.

Some of the lower sections of this route may have overlapped with Charlie Porter’s 1975 solo ascent of the northwest buttress on the north tower; Porter started his climb in the same area as the Russian climbers. The Russians also encountered an old static rope at the base of the upper wall, which they believe must date from an unknown attempt in the 1990s.

A complete expedition report (in Russian) with photos and topos can be downloaded here.

– Dougald MacDonald, with information from Dmitry Golovchenko, Russia, and RussianClimb.com

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Photos and Topos Click photo to view full size and see caption