Marek Raganowicz adds big aid climbs to Baffin Island
Polish climber Marek Raganowicz has made the first ascent of two difficult big walls on the Ship's Prow on Baffin Island, Canada: MantraMandala (A3) and Secret of Silence (A4).
Five years after his ascent of Superbalance together with Marcin Tomaszewski, in February 2017 Poland’s Marek Raganowicz returned to Baffin Island, Canada, to establish two difficult new routes entirely on his own. Renowned for his hard first ascents - often alone and often in winter - the Pole seems to have surpassed even himself during his 12 week stay, 7 of which were spent entirely on his own.
Raganowicz made the first ascent of two completely independent new routes on the Ship's Prow on Scott Island which until Raganowicz’s arrival featured only The Hinayana, the original route up the peak established solo in 1999 by Mike Libecki.
The first route Raganowicz forged is called MantraMandala and tackles a steep line up the mountain's East Face. Climbed from 23 March to 8 April, this breaches difficulties up to A3+ and uses natural belays all the way. No drilling was done for bolts or rivets and, perhaps even more remarkably, it was climbed in a single, ground-up 17 day push.
After a short rest Raganowicz then concentrated his efforts on the nearby North Face. This time Raganowicz resorted to fixing 4 pitches and, over 13 days spread out from 23 March to 8 April, he ascended his Secret of Silence. Once again all belays are natural, no bathooks, rivets or bolts were used and the difficulties check in at an astounding A4.
Raganowicz told planetmountain.com that the weather was extremely cold, with temperatures feeling somewhere in the region of -30°C and resulting in him being able to climb only a few hours per day. While further details are awaited in the near future, his closing comment speaks for itself "On the one hand I've already arrived home, but on the other hand I'm still on the way, because my thoughts are on the fjords. Actually do not know when I'll be back to the normal world. It's hard to describe, what really happened there, and even harder to understand it. I just want to share a few photos and joy of my solo first ascents."