Tasermiut Fjord, Hermelndal, Various Ascents
Greenland, Cape Farewell
From June 29–July 27, four members of the German Alpine Club (DAV) Expedition Group—Korbinian Grünauer, Thomas März, and me, supervised by Christoph Gotschke—visited the Hermelndal (valley) and the series of Tininnertuup peaks.
Tomas and I operated from the Tininnertuup Hotel, a bivouac beneath a large boulder, three hours of rough walking and a few stream crossings up-valley from base camp. On July 13 we climbed a new route on Tininnertuup IV (1,725m) in a 24-hour round trip from the base.
We started on Rapakivi Road (1,000m, 28 pitches, 5.11 A2+, Jacobsson-Knutsson, 2004), using a different first pitch to the left. After three pitches, we broke out left to follow the obvious big arch. The rock quality here was outstanding and the difficulty consistently 6b and above. The crux is probably traversing under the big roof (around pitch eight), which may often be wet. [While Hagenauer and März saw no sign of gear after leaving Rapakivi Road, the arch was attempted in 2008 by Sarah and Tony Whitehouse, who retreated due to meltwater.] After around 500m, we emerged onto a large ledge and the start of the upper pillar of Rapakivi Road, which we followed to its summit, though probably taking a line to the right of the original route. We rappelled our line, equipping all belays with nuts and pitons, and naming it Ikinngut Toquukut Qimagunnikoq, which in English means “For Lost Friends.” To our exit at the top of the Rapakavi pillar on the south ridge just left of the summit, we climbed 27 pitches up to VII+/VIII- (6c/6c+).
Later, Thomas and I made the third ascent of the northeast ridge of Hermelnbjerg (1,912m), though almost certainly with significant variations to the first ascent. Wayfinding and partly adventurous rock quality made for a demanding undertaking. To maximize the best quality granite, we kept as close as possible to the crest of the ridge. We started climbing in the afternoon, waited through darkness below the summit, and then climbed to it in the first rays of sunshine. Generally, it was windy on this climb, and significantly colder than we had previously experienced. We climbed around 900m up to VII+, with a lot of sustained ground at IV and V. From the summit we rappelled straight down the east face into a logical dihedral system. Around 10 rappels took us to a large snowfield, where we traversed north for about 500m to return to the start of the route.
We also repeated Scorpion Grooves (700m, E3 5c, Desforges-Spreyer, 2008) on Tininnertuup II, which gave steep climbing on sound rock up to around VIII-. Due to difficult route finding, it proved exciting to the end.
In the meantime, Christoph and Korbinian concentrated on a large cliff above the fjord, just south of base camp at 60°30'51.18"N, 44°28'27.08"W (on the seaward end of the long northwest ridge of Tininnertuup I). Due to the proximity to base camp, they were able to exploit short weather windows and steadily add pitches, placing some fixed rope, bolting the belays, and using protection bolts when needed. They finished their first new route—The Old Man, The Young Man, and the Sea—with some aid. Several days later, they managed the redpoint to give 450m of climbing at VIII. Three days later they started on a second route, just to the left on better and cleaner rock, with higher levels of difficulty. After a few days they had created GG-22-02 (450m, IX+), with both climbers leading the crux pitch.
—Fabian Hagenauer, Germany
Historical notes on Hermelnbjerg: In 1971 two members of an Irish expedition, Sé Billane and Lindsay Griffin, left base camp by Tasermiut Fjord in the afternoon, walked through the night to the foot of the northeast ridge, where they deposited bivouac gear before climbing the ridge (650m, TD VI) and then descended to their bivouac for the night. Sections were climbed on the left flank, where toward the top a steep right-angled corner to regain the crest probably formed the crux. In 2022, the Germans turned some towers on the right, keeping closer to the ridge crest. The second ascent of the ridge took place in 2008, when Ruban Gutzat and Tony Stone reported finding excellent climbing up to E1, as well as many of the original rappel anchors.
Tininnertuups I to V were first climbed by the 1971 expedition, generally by straightforward ascents, except for IV (Tom Hand, Shay Nolan, Denis Rankin, and Christie Rice), on which Rice led a hard pitch of VI a little below the summit on the southwest face.