1960 UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS SOUTH GREENLAND EXPEDITION

Climbing from Tasermiut Fiord

 

OTHER ST ANDREWS EXPEDITIONS:

 

 

 

THE 1960 UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS SOUTH GREENLAND EXPEDITION led by J.D. Pitts

The first British party to explore the mountaineering potential of the Tasermiut area was led by G.J. Sutton in 1957. They also climbed a peak on the island of Sermersok.

The 1960 St. Andrews University South Greenland Expedition, organised by the St. Andrews University Mountaineering Club, was led by J. D. Pitts, and contained five StAUMC members - D. O'N. Hackett, W. K. Keay, C. B. N. Martin and F. I. Wasson - and three specialists, J. Robertson (botanist), A. S. Strachan (surveyor), and R. H. Wallis (geologist). All but Wallis were members of St. Andrews University.

The expedition hoped to stay in Tasermiut fjord for five to six weeks, and intended concentrating their efforts on a group of rock peaks rising to almost 7000 ft. which lay ten miles to the north of the 1957 base. However, after a series of delays caused by the excessive amount of pack ice off the South Greenland coast, only three weeks were spent in the fjord. Three peaks over 4,750 ft. were climbed, and five attempts on other peaks reached over 4,500 ft., including three to within 250 ft. of the summit; a height of 6600 ft. was reached on Nalumasortoq.

Details of climbs:

Pingasut Pap (5100 ft) - Keay, Wallis - An extremely pleasant rock peak with a few hundred feet of actual climbing (II-III).

Col Peak (5000 ft) - Martin, Pitts, Wasson - An undistinguished hill, rising south of the Col, climbed from a camp at 3700 ft.

The Ben (4850 ft) - Hackett, Keay, Martin, Pitts, Wasson - A spectacular looking mountain from the fjord, which gave a long, pleasant scramble up the North-west ridge.

Nalumasortoq (6850 ft) - Hackett, Martin, Pitts, Wasson, Wallis (to 6600 ft). The third highest hill in the southern area of the fjord was attempted from the high camp at 3700 ft. The south-east ridge was followed, a pleasant rock scramble, to a large notch below the gendarme.

Donkey's Ears (6600 ft) - Hackett, Martin, Pitts, Wasson - (to 5500 ft). This peak was also attempted from the 3700 ft camp; the attempt was abandoned when one member sprained an ankle at 5500 ft.

Imaka ( 6400 ft) - Hackett, Martin, Pitts, Wasson - (to 4400 ft). This, one of the most spectacular rock pinnacles in the area, was reconnoitred from various directions. The highest point reached was 4400 ft on the south-east ridge, the climb starting from a 1500 ft bivouac in Sødal.

Chaos Peak (5800 ft) - Hackett, Martin, Pitts, Wasson - (to 5400 ft). This is a complicated group of three summits, the most easterly being the highest: the long rock couloir facing south was climbed to the 'Black Rib'; this was climbed (III-IV) and then Pitts and Wasson climbed 250ft of V-VI + A I before the attempt was abandoned.

The Horn (4750 ft) - Wasson, Wallis - (to 4500 ft). An attempt was made up the long west ridge, the final 1000 ft. giving many pitches of IV.

Bibliography:

For details of this expedition: (a) Alumnus Chronicle, no.52, vol.27, p.27. (b) Midland Association of Mountaineers' Journal, vol. III, 1961, no.5, p.4.

I am indebted to R.H. Wallis for details of the climbing, the maps and the first photograph below.

 

 

 

 

View east from the 1960 basecamp, with (left to right) Nalumasortoq (6850 ft), The Horn (4750 ft), and Imaka (6400 ft).

The highest point reached on Imaka was 4400 ft on the south-east ridge. Photo: R.Wallis

 

Eleven years later: the 1971 St Andrews Expedition visited the 1960 Basecamp (photo: Ian Walton)

 

View of Imaka from 1960 expedition basecamp, photographed later by Ian Walton of the 1971 expedition

 

Website by Susannah Clark

e-mail: thecommunity (at) gmail (dot) com