Ascents in Poulsen Fjord and Elsewhere

Greenland, East Greenland
Author: Tim Blakemore. Climb Year: 2022. Publication Year: 2023.

image_4During July and August, a six-member expedition—Chris Gneisser, Mike Jaques (skipper), Alastair Miller, Graham Tourell, Olly Young, and I—visited various locations on the east coast of Greenland aboard Mike’s yacht, Umiak. The team consisted of mountaineers, skiers, and sailors. There was particularly thick ice on the coast this season, and it took multiple efforts to make landfall. Many anchorages were inaccessible.

Sailing from Iceland, we were forced south initially to land on Jens Munk Island/Peder Oxe Bukta. Here we climbed a simple 630m peak (64°37.10’N, 40°24.52’W) above the anchorage. There was an ancient mark on the shore where hunters would have visited.

After refueling at Tasillaq, we anchored in Sermiligâq Fjord. We traversed the very distinctive Peak 1,460m (66°02.27’N, 36°40.51’W) via its east and then southeast ridges (AD-), descending the north ridge back to the glacier. We also climbed a glacial peak of 1,250m (66°00.15’N, 36°33.37’W). Both peaks had certainly been climbed previously, probably from the old Bluie East U.S. airfield.

Our next anchorage was in Tugttilik (Tuttilik) Fjord, close to where British explorer Gino Watkins drowned in a kayak accident in 1932. We climbed a distinctive, striped rock peak (66°22.18’N, 34°57.00’W) of about 980m via its southwest ridge (PD+). This mountain has been climbed before (we found a cairn). We also skied from an obvious col just east of this peak.

On the opposite (south) side of the fjord, we climbed Peak 1,100m (66°19.09’N, 34°59.41’W) by a couloir, finishing up the northeast ridge (PD). This may have been unclimbed. We also climbed and skied a peak of 780m at 66°20'58.49”N, 34°50’12.17”W.

We then continued northeast to Poulsen Fjord (66°48.04’N, 34°06.06’W), an area that seemed to have much potential. The following peaks/climbs are most likely first ascents.

We climbed on a beautiful south-facing gneiss crag—suggested name Poulsen Fjord Crag (66°48.49’N, 34°06.52’W)—above the anchorage on the northeast side of the fjord, creating the two-pitch Sledge Patrol (British HVS) over an obvious overlap followed by a corner. We also climbed Peak 1,270m (66°49.45’N, 34°05.57W) by the southwest glacier (AD) and descended by the southwest ridge (AD, loose rock). We also made a ski ascent of Peak 990m (66°47.29’N, 34°11.08W) on the southwest side of the fjord.

Finally, we climbed a magnificent and imposing 1,490m peak at the head of the fjord. After a six-hour approach on skis, we followed a knife-edge arête similar to the Rochefort Arête in the Mont Blanc massif. We suggest the name Umiak Peak (66°48.93’N, 34°14.38’W). The southwest ridge was AD.

The trip was entirely self-sufficient, and we left no trace of our passing.

Tim Blakemore, France

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