Tasermiut Fjord, Southern Greenland
From mid July to the end of August I had the opportunity to travel to Southern Greenland with my friend Vinicius Todero to explore the enormous big walls of the Tasermiut fjord. Below is an account of our exploration there written by Vinicius Todero.
Last summer we did a 40 days expedition to southwestern Greenland, more precisely to the Tasermiut fjord with the idea to repeat some of the the big walls of the region and also to establish a new route. After 3 planes, 2 boats and 4 days of travel we finally arrived to our base camp. The bigwalls in the Tasermiut fjord are probably the most famous and popular climbs in Greenland, nevertheless it keeps its wildness atmosphere. During our stay we only met two other groups of climbers and few groups of tourists The day after our arrival we tried a 600m route in the Nalumasortoq (Nalu). After a 5h hike and a slow progress in the route we had to retreat after climbing only 250m. Soon we realized that the dimensions and difficulties in Greenland are bigger than it seemed, and good logistics is necessary to climb these walls. After this frustrated first attempt we changed our focus to our main goal, the 1200m wall of the Ulamertorsuaq (Ula). During the following two days we portered equipment and studied the lines. The chosen route was the classic Moby Dick (7c+/A1, 1200m) opened by a German team to which Kurt Albert was a notorious member. After the portering we only had two days of good weather forecasted, so we decided to do a 2 days ascent. In the first day we climbed 450m of “slabs”, the first part of the route. The climb itself was quite easy and well protected, the tough part, and what made us lose a lot of time was hauling 70kg of equipment and supplies on the slabs. We planned to set an advanced camp on the wall for our future attempt to open a new route, so we carried a lot of food, water and equipment during this first attempt. The next day we did a 20h push to the summit, free climbing most of the pitches up to 7c+. We had to climb the last 3 pitches with headlamps and we arrived to the summit at 12pm. At 4:30am we arrived back to the portaledge with the first sunlight. After a few hours of sleep a strong storm caught us in the portaledge forcing us to spend the next 36h on the wall. With the joy of having accomplished our first goal we started to look for our next goal: a new route in the Ula. From the bottom we visualized a possible system of cracks in the middle of the upper pillar, we also found a possible untouched dihedral in the lower part of the wall. With the little information that we found online and in magazines, there were no routes in this part of the wall. On 26th of July we started to open a new route, after 3 pitches we found two very old anchors, we guessed that these were rappel anchors as there are no reports of routes in this part of the wall and the cracks in the lower dihedral were full of vegetation, without signs of anyone having been there. From the 6th pitch onwards the wall didn’t offer many natural protection possibilities following a new line, therefore we decided to follow the same line as Moby Dick until the bivac ledge at 450m. After the ledge the route moved left, following the route Magic Tromblon during 3 pitches. The following 8 pitches were just amazing! Starting with superb face climbing, crossing some small roofs and aretes to finally reach the cracks that we saw from the ground. The crack starts as a finger crack, later changes to a hand crack, and ends in an interesting 50m long offwidth pitch. Opening some of these pitches, while climbing it in free, was the highlight of our expedition. Pitches 23 and 24 we again followed the route Magic Tromblon until an small ledge. Pitch 25 is and impressive and difficult arete, as our intention was to open a route to be free climbed, we added seven bolts to the arete as there was no possibility for natural protection. We estimated the difficulty of the arete around 8a/8a+Fr. After the arete two more pitches lead to the the summit. In total we spent 12 days in the wall divided in four different attacks, opening and free climbing most of the pitches. Only the pitches 25 and 26 weren’t free climbed. We were planning an attempt to free climb the whole route in the last eight days of our expedition. But the weather became very bad and didn’t allow us to climb it at all. Three days before going back home with our equipment at 600m high on the wall we were forced climb the mountain in alpine style via an older access route in order to access the top of the wall and rappel down to retrieve our gear. That day a British base jumper called Ed joined us. After nine hours of effort to reach the top of the wall he jumped from it into the sea of clouds that was covering the fjord, getting back to the base camp in less than five minutes. We on the other hand were about to start our 1000m rapel journey back to the ground. We named the route ‘Qujanaq’ wich means ‘Thank you’ in the inuit local language. We chose this name to thank all the people that helped us in our expedition in any way, also to the mother nature for allowing us to enjoy all her beauty and generosity. The Inspiration for the name came when a family from the closest village was fishing in the fjord and invited us to join them on a small trip in their boat to the upper part of the fiord, where there is a giant glacier that reaches the sea coming from the inland ice. On the way back this old lady standing on the boat, opened her arms toward the huge glacier/waterfall and screamed ‘Qujanaq’. At that moment we didn't knew the meaning of the word but we instantly understood that she was thanking mother nature for its greatness.
Route name: ‘Qujanaq 8a?’ 1000m in the Ulamertorsuaq, Tasermiut Fjord