1975 UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS GREENLAND EXPEDITION
Climbing from Stordalens Havn in Cape Farewell Region
Introduction - Maps - Climbing History - Personal Account - Mountaineering Report - Mountains to South of Basecamp - Mountains to North of Basecamp - Mountains from Desperation Camp - Mountains from Sallies Kitchen Camp - Mountains from Hellhole Hollow - Mountains from Lost Loch Camp - Mountains on Pamiagdluk and the Islands - Mountains in the Nameless Valley of the Land of the Towers - Archaeology - Botany - Equipment Report - Food Report - Financial Report - Travel Report - Medical Report - Photo Gallery - Thanks and Acknowledgements - Later Visitors to Stordalens Havn
Mountains climbed from Desperation Camp
Peaks climbed from Desperation Camp
Six mountains were climbed from this camp. They were located in the ridges of a separate mountain massif east of base camp: their grades were 2 F, 3 PD, and 1 AD. *Asterisk against a name indicates that this person wrote the report.
10. WHAT A FLOG - South slope (1050m) (60 deg 10` N, 44 deg 23` W). 11. SLOUGH - West ridge (1150m) (60 deg 10` N, 44 deg 22` W). First ascents by N.MacKenzie and D.Gaskell on 30th June 1975. Grade: PD. Time: 10 hours.
These were two rounded peaks on the eastern rim of the Ivssuatussoq basin in which Desperation Camp was placed. The first hill, of which the unworthy Gasfjell was a prominent spur overlooking the fjord, was an uncommonly tedious, broad and bouldery shoulder which narrowed imperceptibly to a northerly high point. The party descended its eastern scree ridge to a col and then toiled up a steep grind to the gentle scrambling ridge that led to the summit of Slough. The weary return was made by the same west ridge followed by a slow meander through over-large stones on the flanks of What a Flog. The party had claimed its first virgin hills.
12. NICE ONE - South ridge (1100m) (60 deg 11` N, 44 deg 25` W). 13. CYRIL - East ridge (1050m) (60 deg 11` N, 44 deg 26` W). First ascents by D.Gaskell and N.MacKenzie on 1st July 1975. Grades: PD and F. Time: 12 hours.
The party left Desperation Camp in fine weather and having crossed the stream issuing from a subsidiary valley they scrambled up the broken nose of the South ridge of Nice One. Once on the crest there were few difficulties, and they reached the highest point on the mountain rim round the valley. They descended the narrow west ridge with spectacular drops on either side and scrambled up to the top of Cyril. Since it was easier to continue southwards along the rim, they continued to High Rising, crossing some steep slab sections which dipped gently eastwards but sprang in giant overhanging roofs over the western wall of the rim. They made the easy way downhill to camp after a satisfying day on the ridges which were never too easy and never too hard.
Photo taken from summit of High Rising, looking down Torssukatak Fjord, with a good view of the massive sea-cliffs to the right. Stordalens Havn and basecamp are straight down to the right in a steep drop of over 3000 ft. But the mountain itself was easy.
14. HIGH RISING - (1000m) (60 deg 10` N, 44 deg 23` W). First ascent by S.Clark* on 30th June 1975. Grade: F. Time: 3 hours.
An easy scramble across boulders from Desperation Camp brought me to the top of the ridge in a couple of hours, from which there were fine views down the fjord and to the base camp far below.
A second ascent was made by N.MacKenzie and D.Gaskell on 1st July 1975. Grade: AD-.
They followed the narrow north ridge on this three peak traverse, and descended to camp.
Another view from the slopes of High Rising, showing Agdlerussakasit on the right. Although hard to make out, Inevitable and Crossoak Road form a separate ridge beneath Agdlerussakasit and in front of it. The first ascent of Agdlerussakasit was finally made in the last week of the expedition, from Nameless Valley which cuts up from the fjord and offers a route up the south face. To give an idea of scale, from the seashore to the summit is 5,730 ft (or 1763m).
15. MISTER BRUCE (or Mont Blank) - South-west face (Point 1473) (60 deg 11` N, 44 deg 23` W). First ascent by J.Cant, C.Matheson, A.Aldred and S.Clark* on 2nd August 1975. Grade: AD. Time: 13 hours.
A three o'clock start was cancelled for the second day running due to thick mist. However, this dispersed and at 8 o'clock we set off to climb this hill. We crossed a well-crevassed but easy glacier to the foot of a large definite face. This offered a hard but feasible route for someone; we left it alone, both because of its apparent difficulty and the lateness of our start. Instead we took a loose and nondescript route with 7 Diff / V Diff pitches across the face, a further three pitches up a loose gully to its left, and thence by 2 pitches on to a ridge to the summit. The very unpleasant gully is subject to falling stones, and is not recommended for a picnic. On the summit the weather deteriorated and rather than submit ourselves to the gully, we continued down the west ridge, until we were not far above the uppermost reaches of the glacier. By now it was misty and snowing, but our way was barred by a gaping bergschrund. Crossing this involved a leap of about 15 feet across the chasm from a rock about the same height above the snow below. Once over, there was a fairly steep snow slope and then an easy and rapid return to Desperation Camp. En route I was waylaid by the still mountain lochan below High Rising, where I rested after the day's exertions to enjoy the serene evening. We were back at camp in time to enjoy a Christmas Pudding.
Left: Dave Gaskell ferrying food and equipment to Desperation - easiest access was by canoe
Centre: Colin Matheson at the edge of the glacier beneath the south-west face of Mister Bruce
Right: Desperation Camp was in quite an exposed position. Behind the tent is Agdlerussakasit.