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Climbing from Stordalens Havn in Cape Farewell Region


Mountains climbed from Sallies Kitchen Camp




This was the camp pitched in the 5th corrie on the left up the Big Valley, from which we hoped to find an easy packing route through to the Land of the Towers. Six varied mountaineering routes are listed for this district: their grades were 5 PD, and one VI rock route. *Asterisk against a name indicates that this person wrote the report.

16. FINGERS END - (2000 feet route) (60 deg 10` N, 44 deg 36` W). First ascent by D.Gaskell, P.Aldred and R.Sharples* on 10th July 1975. Grade: VI. Time: 14 hours.

Northwards from Birdseye View a narrow rock ridge formed an eastern rampart above Sallies Kitchen. Unremarkable, save for a gaunt finger of rock at its highest point, and a ridge dropping 2000 feet in a buttress above the corrie only a mere one hour's walk from the camp.

Dave Gaskell, Pete Aldred and I left camp at 10 a.m. for the buttress, hoping to traverse the finger and Birdseye View before descending the back wall of the corrie. It proved to be one of the biggest underestimates of the trip.

The buttress was hard from the very start. Classic jamming cracks and layback grooves up bald slabs. Idyllic climbing, but much of it VS. Dave leads in EB's to gain the last threads of friction, but on the crucial pitch, breaking through the roofs above the slabs, the rock is greasy and his problems are doubled. More broken ground now, separated by steep walls of still perfect rock. 8.45 p.m. and the buttress begins to fall back.

Unroped, we scrambled to see the sun's rays redden the Finger and Birdseye View. The time is ripe for retreat. Long abseils, fixing anchors, a smooth-running downclimbing machine. Stumbling over boulder scree to dark tents as the sun begins to rise again over the Shangri-La. Midnight. A much needed meal round primi glowing in the light of a new dawn. The end of our day on Fingers End.

Photo taken from the Lost Loch valley, looking back to Sallies Kitchen camp which is pitched in the basin of this 5th corrie up the Big Valley (Itivdlerssuaq). Perch is distinctive on the centre skyline. Basecamp at Stordalens Havn lies miles off to the left.

17. CLAW 18. PERCH (1200m) (60 deg 9` N, 44 deg 37` W). 19. BIRDSEYE VIEW - West ridge (1456m) (60 deg 9` N, 44 deg 36` W). First ascents by J.Cant and N.MacKenzie on 6th July 1975. Grades: PD. Time: 9 hours.

These three distinctive high points were climbed on the reconnaissance made up the glacier above Sallies Kitchen in our attempt to find a suitable packing route into the Land of the Towers. The party left at 10.30 a.m. to work a way through two prominent rock bands and follow a long steep snow slope up to the col under the impressive walls of Crowsnest. Two separate pinnacles were ascended for sport on good but fractured rock: these were Claw and Perch, the latter being particularly impressive as its apex protruded out over the snowy col several hundred feet below. The party then went by a straightforward snow ridge to the highest place, where they could get a direct view into the Lakeland heart of the Land of the Towers: this was a regular birdseye view of our future prospects in these mountains. They descended to the Perch col, and wound an alternative route down the edge of a glacier, so avoiding the harder upper rock band, to camp. It had been a rewarding and interesting climbing day, but it was not a good omen for an easy and feasible packing route.

20. FREEBIE - East face (1325m) (60 deg 10` N, 44 deg 39` W). First ascent by P.Gribbon and P.Hunt* on 11th July 1975. Grade: PD. Time: 5 hours.

Freebie is a somewhat shapeless mountain west of the access valley to the Hellhole cols.

Diagram showing route taken up Freebie (20). The other two tops were climbed from Hellhole Hollow and are described in that section of the report. Sallies Kitchen Camp is off to the left of this picture.

We left camp at 1 p.m. feeling fit under light packs after days of load carrying.The day was cloudless, hot and sticky, with countless flies and mosquitoes with no wind to keep them docile. We crossed into the valley through slabs and boulders then breaking right, beyond the waterfall, gained the truncated rock slope which barred our access to the easier-angled boulder slopes leading to the summit. It was here that the only difficulties of the day were encountered. Our first line up a dry gully ended in defeat as we had no rope. We therefore traversed to left to gain a watercourse which provided easier scrambling as well as constant refreshment, then along a bouldery ridge that led to a rather level summit.

Here we rested in the breathless day. Phil ate a tin of beans and slept. It was silently still. A golden sunlit haze lay to the west over the iceberged sea beyond Nanortalik. However time was short as we still had to get over to Hellhole for our lost equipment before returning to Sallies Kitchen.

We descended via a projecting snow tongue and scree slope to the higher snow-filled cwm at the valley head, and went our way to collect our gear at the lonely camp.

Diagram showing route taken up Bare Top (21) which was on the other side of the Big Valley from Sallies Kitchen.

21. BARE TOP (1080m) (60 deg 12` N, 44 deg 35` W). First ascent by S.Clark*, C.Matheson, D.Brown, P.Hunt on 9th July 1975. Grade: PD. Time: 9 hours.

We had to drop down from Sallies Kitchen to reach this shapely peak across the Big Valley. It lies at the western entrance to the side valley leading up to the Lost Loch camp. On one of the hottest days of the summer, it was consequently a slow ascent and the flies persevered even to the summit. There were few problems except for two straightforward pitches below the summit. Our route, the south side straight up from the valley, was almost certainly the easiest approach. The weather remained fine throughout; and most members wore few clothes by the time we reached the top - hence the name.



Next Section: Mountaineering Report - Peaks climbed from Hellhole Hollow, in the Land of the Towers