American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Mt. Menhir, East Face, and other Ascents

Canada, Nunavut, Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Cédric Bervas
  • Climb Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

Between the 15th of June and the 15th of September, Enzo Oddo and I established three new routes on the granite walls of the Weasel and Owl valleys. During the ten days we spent climbing Midgard Serpent (1,100m, VI 5.9 A5, Jarrett- Rzeczycki, 1995) on the west face of Mt. Thor, we got good views of Mt. Menhir and its impressive headwall. We spied a logical line with our binoculars and in August established a new route on its unclimbed east face.

It took us one long day to climb eight pitches up easy slabs and haul our gear to the base of theheadwall. It rained heavily during the first night, and next morning we waited in our portaledge or the rain to stop and then climbed two free pitches on the headwall. That night on the wall wasextremely cold, and we awoke in the morning to all the ropes and gear covered with ice. Once everything thawed, we made a big A4 traverse (plus 7c free moves) to the left on hooks, followed by three pitches of A2 and A3 up big dihedrals. We reached the summit the following day via five pitches of free climbing up to 7a. We named our route Lords of Baffin (900m, 19 pitches, 7c A4).

We also attempted a new route on Breidablik and made one-day repeats of the central pillar on Overlord Peak, the Scott-Hennek Routeon Asgard’s North Tower, and Arctic Dreams on Asgard’s South Tower.

We established two routes on peaks we believed to be previously unclimbed in the Owl River valley, near the June Valley shelter. Each was climbed onsight and in a single day. Pilier Sud du Beroddovas (900m, 7b+ A1) is located on the left side of the east face of what we named Beroddovas Peak. [ This wall is the right “leg” of Ozymandias; see note below.] The route follows a series of corner systems for six pitches before 400m of scrambling brought usto a large ledge and a final pitch of 6a. We also opened La MA DAI (6 pitches, 7a) on the east face of a small rock formation just to the right of Beroddovas. [A brief expedition report with topos of the new French routes can be downloaded here.]

– Cédric Bervas, France

Historical Notes on Ozymandias: The slabby east-facing pillars above a prominent bend of the Owl River (66°46’13.72”N, 64°44’12.62”W) were named Ozymandias, after the Shelley sonnet’s "two vast and trunkless legs of stone," by a British expedition in 1961. In 1978, a Scottish team spent 10 days camped below these formations (AAJ 1979). Dave Nichols and Gregory Strange climbed the left “leg” over two days (3,000’, 5.8), and other team members climbed routes up the two “arms” on either side of the main formations (not the same as the French route La MA DAI). Jock Moreland and Guy Muhlemann climbed about 300’ of a line on the right “leg” that eventually became the French route Pilier Sud; they also found evidence of a prior attempt.

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