Greenland: 10 new climbs by Swiss-Bavarian expedition to Quvnerit Island
In August 2011 a Swiss Bavarian expediton comprised of Caroline Morel, Andres Lietha, Michi Wyser, Tom Holzhauser, Michi Tresch and Toni Lamprecht established 10 new routes on Quvnerit Island in Greenland.
The South of Greenland offers an incredible wealth of technical rock climbing on big granite faces, some of them directly over the ocean. Tasermiut Fjord has seen most of the climbing activity of the last decades, but some climbers have ventured further south to climb on the more remote islands and fjords around the Inuit settlement of Aappilattoq.
Huge routes have gone up in the Torssukatak Fjord, on Pamiagdluk Island and on other walls in the vicinity. There is still a staggering potential for rock climbing in this area. Many big rock faces and unclimbed summits await the climbers who are curious enough to head to the southern tip of Greenland.
Quvnerit Island, 25 km south of Aappilattoq and just north of Cape Farvel, has seen its first recorded visit by climbers as early as 1971, by a Scottish group of the St. Andrews University. In 2004, during their first and very successful expedition, a Swiss-Bavarian team (Caroline Morel, Michi Wyser, Tom Holzhauser, Ivan Tresch, Michi Tresch, Wanja Reichel and Toni Lamprecht) put up the first hard rock climbs on Quvnerit Island with 9 routes of up to 1100 meters in length and difficulties of up to 7c (5.12). And in 2010, Nico Favresse and friends on their Piolet-d'Or winning Greenland trip, visited Quvnerit Island and climbed more hard routes on the same amazing pillars.
At the end of July 2011 the Swiss-Bavarian team made their second visit to Quvnerit Island. During their 6 week trip the group comprised of Caroline Morel, Andres Lietha, Michi Wyser, Tom Holzhauser, Michi Tresch and Toni Lamprecht once again found an incredible climbing playground. 10 beautiful new routes with difficulties of up to 7b (5.12b) and more than 5000 new climbing meters were established on some of the world's finest granite.
With great weather the new routes "Via Corradojillo", 6c (5.11a) (Morel/Lietha/Wyser) and "Private Universe", 7a+ (5.11d) (Holzhauser/Tresch) were the start to a wave of first ascents on the west coast of the island. A week later "El Martillo", 6a+ (5.10b) (Morel/Lietha/Wyser), "Rascana", 6c (5.11a) (Holzhauser/Lamprecht/Tresch) and "Bondola", 6a+ (5.10b) Morel/Lietha/Wyser) were established, all on perfect rock in the breathtaking setting of the Itivdliap-Pularia Fjord.
During the next two weeks the team enjoyed very stable weather and more lines of exceptional beauty and on immaculate rock were climbed alpine-style. The team Morel/Lietha/Wyser put up "Lucky Mushrooms", 6b+ (5.10d), "Northern Comfort", 6a+ (5.10b) and "Waslala ", 6a+ (5.10b), all comparable in quality to the best granite routes in the Alps. The longest route, "Another Walhalla", 6a+ (5.10b) was climbed by Holzhauser / Lamprecht / Tresch along one of the 800 meters high, crack-riddled "Golden pillars" on the North coast of the island.
Another highlight was the 600m route "Serratit", 7b (5.12b), above a north facing glacier basin in the center of Quvnerit. The team Holzhauser/Lamprecht/Tresch free-climbed 12 very demanding pitches between 6b+ and 7b to the summit of the "Asiaq" tower. The constantly steep route offers face climbing with hard boulder sections, an incredible 120 meter "dream-dihedral" and crack climbing from finger- to hand-, fist- and off-width near the summit. All routes were climbed clean and on-sight, without the use of fixed gear and in "one-day-pushes". To finish the stay, a small bouldering area offering 30 excellent problems was established near base camp.
This great climbing trip was blessed with good weather. During the 5 weeks on Quvnerit there were only 4 days of rain and storm during the last week. Access to the climbs from the base camp on the North shore of Quvnerit Island to the walls was made by little boat trips. The dangers of sudden storms, big waves, strong currents and fast moving ice should not to be underestimated.
Unfortunately Caroline Morel was injured by rock fall on her last climb of the trip and had to suffer a long odyssey on her way back to Europe. It is highly recommendable to carry a satellite phone on such a trip in case of emergency.
The logistics of an expedition to South Greenland require careful planning. The Nanortalik Tourism Service proved very helpful and hospitable in organizing the logistics of this trip, providing all practical and moral support needed for a successful climbing trip to South Greenland, including reception of cargo, charter boats and boat rental, hotel bookings etc. Cargo was shipped to Nanortalik from Aalborg with Royal Arctic line.
Here is an overview of the climbs established during this trip:
Quvnerit Island / Itivdliap Pularia Fjord:
- "Corradojillo ", 6c (5.11a), 300m (7 pitches), 1. Ascent: C. Morel / A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 1st 2011
- "Rascana", 6c (5.11a), 450m (10 pitches), 1. Ascent: T. Holzhauser / T. Lamprecht / M. Tresch August 5th 2011
Dos Canones I
- "Private Universe", 7a+ (5.11d), 550m (12 pitches), 1. Ascent: T. Holzhauser / M. Tresch August 1st 2011
- "Lucky Mushrooms", 6b+ (5.10d), 600m (10 pitches), 1. Ascent: C. Morel / A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 11th 2011
Dos Canones II
- "El Martillo", 6a+ (5.10b), 500m (10 pitches), 1. Ascent: C. Morel/ A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 4th 2011
- "Bondola", 6a+ (5.10b), 450m (9 pitches),1. Ascent: C. Morel / A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 7th 2011
- "Northern Comfort", 6a+ (5.10b), 600m (12 pitches),1. Ascent: A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 20th 2011
Quvnerit Island / Sivinganerup ima Fiord:
- "Serratit", 7b (5.12b), 600m (12 pitches), 1. Ascent: T. Holzhauser / T. Lamprecht / M. Tresch August 14th and 15th 2011
- "Another Wallhalla", 6a+ (5.10b), 800m (16 pitches), 1. Ascent: T. Holzhauser / T. Lamprecht/ M. Tresch, August 11th 2011
- "Waslala", 6a+ (5.10b), 600m (11 pitches),1. Ascent: C. Morel / A. Lietha / M. Wyser August 15th and 22nd 2011
Serratit" 7b, Greenland 2011