Golden Lunacy first ascent on Maujit Qaqarssuasia, Greenland
In August Polish mountaineers David Kaszlikowski and Eliza Kubarska made a first ascent of 'Golden Lunacy' (2000m UIAA VIII +, 7a+ max.) on Maujit Qaqarssuasia wall in the Torssakutak fjord, Greenland.
In August Polish mountaineers David Kashlikowski and Eliza Kubarska traveled to Greenland where they made a first ascent on the 1500m high Maujit Qaqarssuasia wall in the Torssakutak fjord, South Greenland. Their 'Golden Lunacy' takes a 2000m line up excellent granite and went free at UIAA VIII +, 7a+ max.
After reaching the fjords by motor boat, the two set up base camp on the Pamialluk island. Working alone without support from the mainland they explored the area using their sea- kayaks, paddled to the base of the chosen route and then climbed the first 600m, only to be stumped by the spectacular overhangs which required aid climbing. As David explains 'Our goal was to free climb, not aid, that's why we abseiled two pitches, abandoning a wonderful 7a -;). We went down to a ledge looking for other possibilities. Finally we climbed past the roofs a bit to the left... We were pretty lucky with bivouacs in the wall, each night by pure luck we'd find some sort of a ledge.'
After continuing on for another three days they reached a bid ledge which split the mountain in two but, after enduring a stormy night, they opted to retreat: after traversing trough a system of ledges towards easier terrain and descending down 'vertical grass', the team found itself in a snow-couloir. Further descent proved dramatic, as David explains:
"Constant rain (actually showers), steep snow, crevasses 10 meters deep on each side, finally water thundering underneath the snow... Walking through the narrow snow passages in light approach shoes, with a hook or hammer instead of an ice-axes totally psyched us out. We knew that if one of us slipped the rope wouldn't do much good. We were most afraid of falling into a crevasse as the 'river' ran underneath. We hadn't taken crampons or ice- axes so as to not carry them on vertical wall, and the couloir looked easy enough in good weather. Now, all of this changed completely.' Freezing cold they endured a series of grueling abseils to reach their kayaks after 6 hours but, due to the storm, they had to sit out another night before paddling to the safety of their base camp.
Six days later the sun finally came out once again. They immediately returned, climbing back up the couloir (which the help of their fixed rope) to their previous highpoint. After a quick bivouac they forged up to the top in just over 10 hours. David continues: It was a beautiful climb on solid granite, with some 6c+ pitches. Some of the most interesting parts where wet offwidths done by Eliza, terribly difficult, the last pitch to the peak was a 60 meter tower( 6c+) with an amazing view... Unfortunately, just after we stood on the summit clouds started pulling over our head and in a little while we couldn't see farther then 100 meters. We continued abseiling late into the night and it seems as if we were pretty lucky; the rope didn't jam, I had found wedged blocks we'd use to descend, so in the top part we didn't use a single hook or bolt."
The top part of Golden Lunacy probably (but not necessarily) has sections in common with Hidrofilia, the route climbed by Cecillia Buils' (Spain) and Robera Nunez's (Brasil). These two were the first to set foot on the summit in 2003. David and Eliza are the second team to stand on the main peak of M. Qaqarssuasia. There are just 4 routes on the entire wall (more than 1,5 km wide), and the other two two lead to the end of the steep Thumbnail cliff, and do not reach the main summit.
The experience seems to have been unique: 'What we found in the fiords is undoubtedly one of the best granite areas in the world. Unfortunately after sending the route the weather was very bad with storms and constant rain, but we discovered some unclimbed areas while kayaking. The walls are 700 - 900 meters high. This was one of my most beautiful expeditions, everyday we passed icebergs, met very hospitable locals at Appilattoq village and watched the Aurora Borealis. We picked berries by the handful and Eliza learned to paddle :). We definitely have to return to those walls."
Style: The route was sent using a few fixed ropes (at the bottom, to traverse to the kayaks). Then the whole route was climbed without fixed ropes or portaledge. Trad protection with the minimum number of bolts (5 bolts on the entire route; 3 for belay stances (bag hauling), 2 on pitches - 1 for protection while passing a loose boulder, and 1 in smooth rock where trad pro wasn't possible.
Difficulties: 7a+ max, one pitch climbed AF (while bolting to detour loose boulder), all other pitches OS. Some pitches climbed free solo. The whole route is on excellent quality granite.
Golden Lunacy is the second new mulitpitch this year for Eliza and David. In March they redpointed Subiendo El Arcoiris (RP, 8a, 300 m, in Basaseachic National Park) and made the first ascent of Arte de Malaria (7b+ 300m, in Huasteca canyons, Nuevo Leon) in the mountains of Mexico.