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Mt. Asgard, Baffin Island
Photo by arch. Favresse
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Asgard Baffin Island expedition success for Favresse, Villanueva and Hanssens

02.09.2009 by Planetmountain

Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Stéphane Hanssens and Olivier Favresse have recently returned from an expedition to Baffin Island where they carried out the first ascents of 3 different routes and attempted to free climb the Bavarian route on the South Face of Mt. Asgard.

At the end of June a Belgian team comprised of Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Stéphane Hanssens and Olivier Favresse headed to Canada's Baffin Island to tackle the granite walls of Mt. Asgard. A mere three months ago this team had successfully carried out the first free ascent of the South African route on the Paine Tower at the southern tip of the American continent and although details are few and far between the team unsurprisingly returned home from the northern extreme of North America with a rich bounty: three first ascents, one repeat and an attempt at free climbing the Bavarian route on the South Tower which, with just 1m not linked to the rest of the climb, stopped agonisingly short of the mark.

While waiting for more details to sicker through Favresse sent us this following brief expedition summary: "We had an awesome trip. I've just arrived and my gear is still unpacked and the pictures and stuff not sorted out. Free climbing in Baffin, and especially on Asgard, is amazing. The quality of the rock is incredible and the place magical. We climbed 5 routes, 3 of them new and in one of them we spent 11 days.

The main route we tried to free is 850m The Bavarian route on the South Tower of Mt. Asgard. The climbing is incredibly sustained with a bunch of 5.12+/5.13- pitches. About 10 pitches are 5.12 and harder. Unfortunately I was unable to link a short one meter section at the beginning of a pitch, but I did all the moves so there is no doubt whether the route goes free or not. It was just a bit too hard for us, especially after hiking for a month. The pitch would probably be at least 5.13+.

In order to free climb we had to find variations to the original line and almost half of the route explores new terrain. So we decided to call what we climbed "The Belgarian", to not forget about the first ascentionists. We hiked a full month, more than 600km, for two weeks of climbing! It seems ridiculous but for us it felt well worth it.

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