Greenland climbing – new routes by Eliza Kubarska and David Kaszlikowski
In August Eliza Kubarska and David Kaszlikowski from Poland climbed a virgin peak and established two big new routes in remote area of Torsukattak fjord in southern Greenland.
In 2007 the Polish mountaineers David Kashlikowski and Eliza Kubarska visited Greenland and, after the successful first ascent of "Golden Lunacy" (2000m UIAA VIII +, 7a+ max.), vowed they would return. Well, two years down the line the couple kept their promise and returned the dual objective of filming an adventure documentary and, hopefully, carrying out some new first ascents.
After a fortnight shooting the duo then set their sights on the Marlulissat peak which towers directly above the tiny Innuit village of Aappillatoq in the south-east part of the island. Kashlikowski and Kubarska established the first route on the face "2 hobbits from the moon" (ca. 800m, 6c max, OS, 2.5 days, 1 bivvy) and were surprised by the enthusiasm of the villagers who followed their progress from below and greeted them with gifts on their return.
Rain then set in and after waiting for two weeks the Polish adventurers headed to the Torssukattak Fjord they had explored two years earlier to try a line on the peak to the left of the giant Maujit Qaqarssuasia. According to Kashlikowski the chain consists of 5 unclimbed mountains comprised of 500- 700m high walls and difficult walking/climbing access terrain in lowest part.
Kashlikowski and Kubarska opted for the first peak in the massif, a 1200m high virgin cliff accessible by water only, which meant they started climbing the moment they left their kayaks. During the first day they climbed 700m to reach the actual headwall, which was then breached in a 500m on-sight push the next day. Reaching the summit late in the evening they then abseiled to a bivy ledge where they spent the night, before abseiling back to sea level the next day. The duo named the peak Qaqqaq Eqqaamanngilara - Forgotten Peak.
Kashlikowski, who will be publishing his photographic works in the 2010 coffee-table book "Greenland. The clash of the elements", summarised this trip as follows: "Our new routes are relatively easy from a technical point of view, but in my personal scale of risk I would give them 8 out of 10. It was adventure climbing, with fantastic view of unclimbed peaks, huge whales, falling icebergs, and a very rare group of hunting orcas below. After this second trip I think I'm finally capable of understanding and appreciating Greenland’s potential. This is a really great adventure area – ideal for hi-end mountaineering and big wall climbing. If it's sunny the temperatures are perfect for rock climbing and there are so many walls up to 400- 700m of height, waiting for us, untouched. If you decide to come to Greenland its worth thinking about a complex adventure : to connect climbing, sea kayaking, meeting the Innuits... So you need time. One expedition is simply not enough to feel and experience Greenland‘s immense potential."
Greenland Info 2009
2 hobbits from the moon
Marlulissat peak, located above the village of Aappillatoq
800m, 6c max, 05-06/08/2009
Note: OS, 1 bivvy, 2 bolts at start for filming, above pitch 3 no gear
Qaqqaq Eqqaamanngilara, Torssukattak Fjord
First 700m to headwall: mixed terrain, some vertical walls up to 6c up to 100m high and scramble up steep fields of grass and blueberries, at times extremely exposed.
Headwall: 500m 6b+, OS
Note: no bolts were used during this ascent, only 2 were placed for descent. Slings left in-situ for the abseil.
Potential: Despite the tricky weather in southern Greenland, this is the area of great potential, especially for hi-end mountaineering, and while the compact walls of famous Tasermiut fjord with its established routes are hard and "repeater friendly", the fjords around Appillotoq are full of untouched 400-700m walls, demanding alpine logistics, often with complex descents.
Climbing season: the best climbing season is the last 2 weeks of July (at least, in last 3 years). The fjords are usually free of ice - so you can pass by boat. August is often very rainy.
Sponsors: VerticalVision Film Studio, Polish Association of Alpinism, Columbia Sportswear, Warmpeace, Geosystems and Tendon, Meindl, Marabut, Lhotse.
The expedition was also supported by Aappilattoq villagers, including Themo and Jacob Benjaminsen. Eliza Kubarska and David Kaszlikowski would like to thank them for their immense help!