Climbing to the west of Torssukatak Fjord


1975 University of St Andrews South Greenland Expedition: first ascent of Agdlerussakasit, first attempt on Maujit Qaqarssuasia - 1996 British team climbing west of Maujit Qaqarssuasia - 1997 Scottish Torssukatak Spires Expedition: second ascent of Agdlerussakasit, first ascent of Maujit Qaqarssuasia - 2000 British team with Ben Bransby, Matt Dickenson, Ian Parnell and Gareth Parry: first ascent of The Thumbnail - 2000 British Eastern Torssukatak Spires Expedition - 2003 Torssukatak Spires Expedition with Jon Roberts, Dewi Durban, James Mehigan and Richard Sonnerdale: The Cruise Line - 2003 Spanish/Brazilian team with Cecilia Buil and Roberta Nunes: Hidrofilia and first ascent of Maujit Qaqarssuasia east peak - 2007 Polish team with David Kaszlikowski and Eliza Kubarska: Golden Lunacy - 2010 US/Belgian team with Bob Shepton and Dodo's Delight - 2012 Polish team with Alek Barszczewski, Marcin Ksiezak and Jaciek Kuczera: second ascent of Golden Lunacy - 2012 Swiss Torssukatak youth expedition - 2013 US team with Kearney, Scully, Dickey and Brett - 2013 Spanish/Basque team with Andres, Castro, and Escribano - 2014 Belgian pair Siebe Vanhee and Tim de Dobbeleer overland and kayak



2012: another Polish team make the second ascent of Golden Lunacy

with Alek Barszczewski, Marcin Ksiezak and Jan Kuczera, between 22nd and 24th July. This largely followed the 2007 route, Golden Lunacy, with a few variations and included another ascent of one of the subsidiary tops of Maujit Qaqarssuasia. The route was filmed and makes excellent viewing: first, second, third clips. Watch out for the lovely layback pitch I mentioned, near the end of the second clip. The views from the top are great too.




Overview of the 2012 expedition

Following controversy about the gradings of the 2007 first ascent of 'Golden Lunacy', and recognisable character assassination of the climbers David Kaszlikowski and Eliza Kubarska in a purportedly fictional book, the Polish Mountaineering Association (PZA) took the highly unusual step of commissioning a 'verification' expedition, to make a second ascent of 'Golden Lunacy' on the Thumbnail cliffs of Maujit Qaqarssuasia.

The climbers involved in the 2012 Polish expedition to Torssukatak were: Aleksander Barszczewski, Marcin Ksiezak, and Jan Kuczera.

They flew from Poland on July 18th, via Copenhagen, to Narsarssuaq, and from there travelled on to Nanortalik where they chartered a motor boat. They then travelled to the village of Augpilagtoq which they used as a base for their climb in Torssukatak fjord.

There were a few minor variations on the original route, but for the mst part they repeated the first ascent of 'Golden Lunacy. In their judgment, some pitches were downgraded, but it is evident - from the three videos of the climb they have posted - that they enjoyed and respected the route.

The videos make excellent viewing and can be seen here, and here, and here. Personally, I love the layback (13th) pitch, which is perhaps the crux of the climb, and can be viewed from 11 minutes 3 seconds on the second video; and the great views from the summit, from 23 minutes 29 seconds on the third video.

Maujit Qaqarssuasia, east summit (1540m), third ascent via second ascent of 'Golden Lunacy', graded VII and VII+. 22nd-23rd July: Barszczewski, Ksiezak and Kuczera.

14 pitches were graded V or above, 5 pitches graded above VI+, and one at VII+.

The ascent started at 6.30 am on 22nd, arriving at the midway ledges at 8.30 pm, where the team bivouaced.

The next morning they set off at 5 am on the upper wall, and it took them 9.5 hours to reach the summit at 2.30 pm. The summit was recorded as 1562m (GPS) and was lower than the summit to the left/west.

The descent took 3.5 hours to reach the midway ledges. The next day, July 24th, they reached sea level, and returned to Augpilagtoq.

An extremely detailed report was written (in Polish of course): click here. The overall report was written by the commissioning body, with the climbers' report included as Appendix 16. It also includes detailed pictures of the route.

Most charges against the original route were dropped. Traces/proofs of their ascent were found on both the lower and upper walls. They also confirmed that the descent couloir in adverse conditions would be a major undertaking. There was a reduction of highest grade from VIII+ to VII+. Nevertheless the route itself was vindicated, as "a long route on a major wall". The report concedes that "sending the verification expedition, aimed to clarify the doubts raised, was not necessary. Participants of an expedition can of course refine the routing and verify technical difficulties, however there were sufficient materials [previously submitted] to resolve the main complaints."

The report added:

"Opponents of the climbers definitely exaggerated both the content and form of criticism, many times higher than the boundaries of good taste."

Golden Lunacy remains a fantastic climb on a wall that is one of the highest sea faces in the world.

The expedition also climbed one other route of the 2007 expedition, near Augpilaqtoq, finding it rated about right, and in one pitch undervalued.

They also climbed a new route:

Martuissat Peak, new route 'Snake', VIII/VIII+, 700m, 16 hours. July 31st: Barszczewski, Ksiezak and Kuczera.

The wall rises above the village of Augpilagtoq. They returned to Poland on August 10th.




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