Bylot Island: Ski Expedition and Various Ascents
Canada, Nunavut, Bylot Island, Sirmilik National Park
DURING 28 DAYS in the month of May, Grant Dixon, Louise Jarry, Marek Vokac, and I skied a “horseshoe” loop through the Byam Martin Mountains, starting and finishing on the south coast of Bylot Island. (Bylot is just north of Baffin Island.) I had been drawn to this project by the alluringly named Mt. Possession, the only officially named peak in the northeast region of the island.
After shuttling 25km by snowmobile across frozen Eclipse Sound from Pond Inlet to the shore of Bylot, we skied north up the Kaparoqtalik Glacier and then across unnamed glaciers flowing eastward toward Bathurst Bay, climbing several peaks along the way. On May 17, two weeks into the expedition, we climbed Mt. Possession (794m), which turned out to be a hill between glaciers, with far higher neighbors.
With Possession out of my system, we headed west to glacier #D78, (area 46201, Glacier Atlas of Canada), then south past the high peaks of the island, and finally down the Sermilik Glacier to return to Eclipse Sound. In all, twelve peaks were climbed en route, six of which were probable first ascents, plus two new routes on the previously ascended summits. We skied a total of 264km including side trips. [Editor’s note: Greg Horne and Louise Jarry had made two previous month-long ski touring and climbing expeditions on Bylot Island; see AAJ 2005 and AAJ 2007.]
– Greg Horne, Canada
In all, the 2018 team climbed 12 peaks, of which six were likely first ascents.
The Castle Gables (1,510m, 72.97175° N, 77.84447° W) via northeast ridge over Point 1,486m; FA: G. Dixon, G. Horne, May 6, 2018
“Garnet Peak” (1,660m, 73.047597° N, 77.832442° W), via east ridge; FA: G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 9, 2018
Peak 1,792 (1,792m, 73.13369° N, 77.926413° W) via northeast ridge; FA: G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 12, 2018
Peak 1,573 (1,573m, 73.336044° N, 77.856632° W) via northeast ridge; FA: G. Dixon, G. Horne, L. Jarry, M. Vokac, May 15, 2018
Mt. Possession (794m, 73.425138° N, 77.697656° W), via northwest ridge; FA: G. Dixon, G. Horne, L. Jarry, M. Vokac, May 17, 2018
Angilaaq Mountain (1,944m, 73.23125° N, 78.622980° W), via north ridge; FA of route: G. Dixon, M. Vokac, May 21, 2018
Nukaq Mountain (1,797m, 73.240836° N, 78.625763° W), via northeast ridge; FA of route: G. Horne, L. Jarry, May 21, 2018
“Mt. Aktiniq” (1,888m, 73.140091° N, 78.438456° W), via east ridge; FA of route: G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 23, 2018
“Brocken Spectre Peak” (1,832m, 73.166038° N, 78.338610° W), via west ridge; FA: G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 23, 2018
“Baird’s Peak” (1,834m, 73.116301° N, 78.344372° W), via northeast ridge, 3rdascent?; G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 24, 2018
“Mt. Turner” (1,690m, 73.031563° N, 78.348061° W), via northeast ridge, 2nd ascent; G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 26, 2018
Mt Thule (1,710m, 73.017834° N, 78.396806° W), via north ridge 3rdascent?; G. Dixon, G. Horne, M. Vokac, May 26, 2018