Siren Tower, Forum; Paddle Wall, Southeast Face
Greenland, East Greenland, Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord
Our Swiss-Italian-French team headed to East Greenland in late July, planning to kayak to remote walls. Due to pandemic-related difficulties, we were a week late in reaching our starting point of Tasiilaq. Matteo Della Bordella, Symon Welfringer, and I were quite demoralized after the many bureaucratic hurdles. However, when we finally arrived in Greenland, our motivation increased immediately: The feeling of freedom and adventure was in the air!
We decided to visit the Mythics Cirque along Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord because it was quicker to access than our original objective. In addition, the north face of unclimbed Siren Tower seemed an attractive target. Only 36 hours after arriving in Tasiilaq, we had packed 200kg of food and equipment into three kayaks and headed northeast along the coast.
Our journey proved much easier than anticipated. The sea was mostly calm, and we were able to cover 40km per day. We were captivated by the beautiful, wild landscape, and soon everyday worries were left behind. After our hard kayak training, we were almost disappointed the journey was so smooth, but arriving faster meant more time for climbing.
When we arrived at the Mythics, guess who greeted us on shore? It was the Belgian climbers Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva, and Jean-Louis Wertz and Swede Aleksej Jaruta. At first, I didn’t know what to make of meeting other people on this wild expedition. But I quickly realized these guys were like soul mates, with the same passion. After setting up base camp, we made a reconnaissance of the imposing granite walls in the cirque and agreed that we still wanted to climb Siren Tower, even though the other team was already at work on it and would finish before us (see story here). We saw an elegant line to the left of the one being attempted by the others and, after confirming they wouldn’t mind company, started up the next day.
After five days, we stood on the summit, and since we had the time, we dedicated the sixth day to climbing pitches we had not been able to free. The crux pitch was a mix of wall and crack climbing, which we rated 7c. The climbing had been psychologically difficult due to inobvious gear placements. (We climbed almost the entire route with removable protection and belay anchors, placing just two bolts, along with some pitons to reinforce rappel anchors.) We christened our route Forum (800m, 22 pitches, 7c), because we are three strong personalities and every decision about what to do, where to go, and how to organize ourselves always required long discussions—constructive moments that allowed us to reach our goal.
With kayaks, you are not tied to one place in a coastal area like this. Wanting to make the most of the days still available to us, we packed our boats and explored the coast for more targets. Twelve kilometers south and the west from our base camp in the Mythics, we discovered a wall in a beautiful glacial landscape. It wasn’t particularly impressive, but it got a lot of sun, was full of crack lines, and promised good rock. We named it Paddle Wall (66°15’19.38”N, 35°52’4.04”W), and our climb here was La Cène du Renard (“The Fox’s Supper,” 440m, 7a). A fox, the only animal that came close to us during the expedition, ate our cheese and crapped in our cooking pot the evening before we climbed.
In mid-August we paddled back to Tasiilaq. In all, we paddled 350km, taking four days to reach the Mythics and five to return.
— Silvan Schüpbach, Switzerland