More Greenland News

Shortly before Matt Dickinson and company departed Greenland at the end of July another British team arrived in the area. Matt Heason, Adam Jackson, Mark Shea, Dean Grindell, Mark Harris, Alfie Garnett, Dave Lucas and Max Dutson made their base camp at Igdlorssitt Havn at the western end of Prins Christian Sund on the 27th of July. Base Camp was located near the coast directly below a fantastic, and imposing 800 metre granite wall. Further up glacier / valley, photos taken by Matt whilst in the area 9 years ago showed great potential for quick, light-weight, one or two day ascents of numerous 2/600 metre walls. On closer inspection, the rock quality was poor in comparison to the main face above base camp so attention was focused there instead. The only known, route in the valley was established on the main face in 1996 by a team of Croatians. Details were lacking as to the exact line, but it was known that they had left bolt belays and fixed rope. The route, called the ´ Ujarak´ (after the boat that picked them up after being marooned for 12 days when their lift failed to materialise!) weighed in at VI/+ / A3, was 24 pitches and took them 6 days to climb as a team of 4. They christened the face the Igdlorssitt Havn Tower. Keen to climb on new ground and avoid pitches of A3 the team blitzed the area climbing 15 new routes, one on the main face, and the others on the flanks and some local sea cliffs. Success came early as Matt and Adam climbed ´The Cryptic Crossword´, an 11 pitch E3 5c tackling a curving weakness on the left hand flank .On the same afternoon, Dave and Max set off up the main wall. Pitch 3 materialised as a protectionless slab at E5 5c. 4 pitches up and inspired by the line, they retreated, leaving their ropes in place and returned the following day with bivvy gear and food and water for 5 days! Route finding proved to be problematic above the half way ledges, and the pair returned to base camp having left a stash of food and water to return to after 4 days. In the meantime, Alfie and Mark (Harris) dispatched much of the heavily serrated ridge flanking the Western edge of the valley, bivvying out under the Northern Lights for a night. They then tackled the right hand flanks, establishing ´Action Man´s Purple Head´, a 20 pitch (1000 metre) E2 5b over two days, and Mark (Shea) and Dean climbed a parallel line, ´The Long Walk to Freedom´ a 20 (1000 metre) pitch HVS. Bad weather forced a 2 day break at Base Camp before Adam, Max and Matt explored some very high quality walls 200 metres above the fjord, establishing the 3 pitch ´Germans on the Beach´ at E5 6a. Matt and Adam spent a further 4 days on these walls climbing their pick of 3 star, 50/60 metre jamming cracks on pristine, golden granite, mainly E1 to E3. After another spell of bad weather Mark (Harris), and Dean climbed the 22 pitch ´Wonderful Purple Head´ at E2 5c, linking the two previous routes on the right hand side of the main face. At the same time Dave and Max made their fourth foray on to the main face, by now having found a different start to bypass the bold E5 pitch (!). This time, they spent a day regaining their high point and a further day and a half reaching the summit. ´A Wonderful World´ weighed in at E4 6a / A1, 800 metres / 23 pitches. With very little previous big wall experience, no aid gear apart from a hammer and a dozen pegs, and no portaledges, the pair aided three pitches on cams and nuts, and spent one night in a sitting / hanging stance to establish a gobsmacking line! The primary objective of the expedition had been to make quick, lightweight ascents of these faces. The rock quality was poor, so attention was focused on the 800m Igdlorssitt Havn Tower above base camp instead. The Igdlorssitt Havn Tower is the obvious vertical face and lies an hour from Base Camp. The expedition would like to thank the following sponsors: The Mount Everest Foundation, The BMC, The Gino Watkins Memorial Fund, HB, DMM, Vango, Metolius, 9Feet, CCC, RHM Food Service, Troll and Menai Foam and Board. If you are interested in any further details of the expedition drop an email to