It was 1998 when I first landed in Greenland. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a long love affair with grand rock walls and towers, majestic polar bears, giant diamond-like icebergs, unique Inuit friends, and an endless list of wonders that would seem to come from a thick book of fairytales.
I have spent more than an accumulated year of my life on 11 expeditions to Greenland, still one of the least explored areas on the planet. As many know, it’s a dreamland for climbers, kayakers, skiers, and lovers of nature: My explorations have uncovered countless unclimbed mountains, walls and towers, many of which are world class to the vertically obsessed.
One particular area on the east coast, between Thor’s Land and Tingmiarmiut, has been especially attractive, as almost no climbers have been there. Kayakers and skiers, yes, but the climbing gems remain virgin. I have made several trips to the fjords in this area, always resulting in incredible adventure and first ascents. My most recent, to the Inugsuarmiut Fjord, an area I had visited several times before (see AAJ 2017), took place from July 15–August 10.
Keith Ladzinski, Andy Mann, Ethan Pringle, Connor Seibert, and I hired a boat from Tasiilaq for the ca 500km journey south. After being stuck in sea ice for 10 days, we shuttled loads and endured rain and dangerous glaciers for another eight days or so, getting into position to attempt a route on huge Granddaddy Tower. We retreated after about 300m of climbing, when we realized we didn't have time to complete the approximately 1,200m line. This peak remains unclimbed.
We quickly changed objective to Plan B Tower (approximately 63°27'27.15"N, 41°59'10.71"W). Its northwest face had a straightforward lower section that would allow us quick access to a steep headwall.
Ethan and I did the leading down low. We took two days to establish a camp 550m up the face. To this point the climbing was easy (4th class) but quite dangerous, with huge choss ramps leading toward the headwall.
Andy, Ethan, Keith, and I took two days to climb from the top of the ramps to the summit. The headwall gave eight proper pitches, with four of these dead vertical or slightly overhanging. I led the first and Ethan onsighted the rest, with sections of 5.12 R and one pitch of 5.13 where his wizardry and badassery were put to the test. The entire route was onsight free climbed, and it was impressive seeing Ethan pull this off, given the loose rock in parts. It was an honor to share this adventure with my friends, to stand on the summit together, and to come home safely. I'm proud of that.
Mike Libecki, AAC