Torssukatak Fjord, Å Dæven!; Peak 1,303m, Ægir

Greenland, Cape Farewell
Author: Charlie Long. Climb Year: 2019. Publication Year: 2020.


Looking north from Peak 1,303m, showing the line of Å Dæven! Torssukatak Fjord and Pamiagdluk Island are to the right. In the middle distance on the left side of the fjord is the top of Maujit Qoqarsassia and its subsidiary summit, the Thumbnail. The east face of the Thumbnail, which drops into the fjord, is often branded one of the tallest sea cliffs in the world. Photo by Charlie Long

On July 13, Andreas Widlund (Sweden), Rune Harejo Jensen (Norway), and I joined Norwegian company Ægir Expeditions in Nuuk on Greenland's west coast. For the next four weeks we sailed the 12m Sofie around southern Greenland, climbing three probable new multipitch routes before sailing to Iceland.

Gale-force southerlies initially forced us to sail north from Nuuk to near the settlement of Igdlúnguaq, where we were sheltered from the storm. There we managed to climb a mountain route in a little over half a day. The line lies on the northwest face of an unnamed peak above the fjord (64.226944°N 50.876389°W). We named it Blod på Tann (450m of roped climbing, 5.8). It was a scrappy route with very loose rock. We ascended and descended the same line, leaving a few nuts. The name means “Blood on the Tooth” in Norwegian dialect.

We then moved to Torssukatak Fjord in South Greenland, where we traversed a summit above the west coast at 60.081682°N, 44.520083°W. [This is a subsidiary summit of a higher peak to the north that was probably first climbed by a 1975 Scottish expedition.] We climbed the southeast face and east ridge and then descended the northwest ridge, naming the route Å Dæven! (“The Devil!”). The route featured a sustained lower wall followed by an easier alpine ridge.

On the 280m lower wall, we followed an obvious splitter in five pitches. Above, the terrain became more broken, but the rock stayed good and the angle got easier. We passed this section in three rope-stretching pitches of 5.9. We then unroped for a few pitches of choose your own adventure. I chose a splitter hand crack high on the arête. Above this, a lichen-covered slab was not hard but rather less appealing. I expected to reach a big ledge where I could walk easily—there was none. Instead, I found a series of gendarmes set on an extremely exposed, knife-edge arête. Å dæven! Thankfully, the ridge was solid, and from its end a very long pitch led to the summit. We descended the northwest ridge to a col, and then back around to the base of the peak. The vertical interval was around 600m, but the amount of climbing more like 1,000m due to its slabby and traversing nature. Maximum difficulties were 5.11a.

While on this climb we had observed, just across the valley to the south, the east-northeast pillar of Peak 1,303m (60.073611°N, 44.539444°W). This would be our next objective. The first three pitches were fun, aesthetic 5.9, with the occasional move of 5.10. Above, the climbing became steep and demanding. The headwall was mainly vertical, and the crux proved to be pitch eight: a series of overlaps with thin cracks and stemming. In the lead, I had to aid seven or eight meters, but Rune followed free, suggesting a grade of 5.12b. The headwall finished with a pre-summit ledge and ice patch, above which there was an unbelievable steep splitter crack. A pair of dueling offwidths guarded the summit. We topped out, chapped by the wind, with our minds blown, having completed Ægir (a Norse god of the sea, 450m, ca 600m of climbing, 5.11c C1).

We descended the east ridge, rappelling and scrambling, until we could contour back to our high camp. Here we found that the wind, which had hammered us on the route, had blown away our sleeping bags. Luckily, we discovered them relatively quickly and were able to shelter under a tarp while the wind raged throughout the night.

We believe all three routes are first ascents. Torssukatak Fjord offers vast potential for new routing on high-quality rock, with relatively straightforward boat access.  

– Charlie Long, Canada

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