Climbing and mountaineering

Text: Hans Christian Florian
Nansen Adventures

Introducing the area
East Greenland has some of the world's most challenging climbs. The peaks are not high, but near-vertical walls of more then 1000m (3000ft) are abundant - countless we should say. Most of them have no names and have never been climbed. The Arctic climate and the icecap and glaciers make the climb equally challenging to peaks two or three times higher. They also reward you with breathtaking landscapes that will be an unforgettable experience. Greenland is one of the real frontiers left on this planet - you even have a chance of passing by a nunatak that is not yet marked on the map. If you choose a route that crosses some glaciers or takes you close to the icecap, it will be a very special experience not to be found elsewhere.

The Tasiilaq Mountain Hut is an ideal base camp for mountaineering in the area north of the village of Kuummiut. Numerous glaciers flow towards the fjords, with countless peaks of different levels surrounding the hut.
The season starts in April, when daylight grows longer and the temperature starts to rise quickly. The spring months usually have stable weather, and you will enjoy long hours of daylight. A combination of skiing and climbing is recommended until June.
The land is generally eroded and there is need to take care of loose rocks and boulders.
We recommend you to seek local support in making your plans. Guides can also be arranged. - please contact well in advance for guide service. Charters of twin otter, helicopter, boat or dogsled are available. Please inquire.

Karale Glacier
Karale Glacier is one of the major glaciers in the area north of Kuummiut. The relatively easy access, adjoining glaciers of all sizes and characteristics, and the countless peaks rising above the glaciers, make it the most popular destination for mountaineers. The Tasiilaq Mountain Hut is situated at 760m beside the Karale Glacier. It is a treat just to sit in front of the hut to enjoy the magnificant view. You can use the hut as a base to explore or you may want to advance to other basecamps close to your destination.

"Place de la Concorde", where five glaciers merge in to one another, is a good location for setting up base camp to explore the countless peaks. Rytterknaegten (2020m/6627ft) rises 1200m above the glacier with near vertical walls. The Storebror (Big Brother) at 2096m(6877ft) with the peaks Trillingerne and Pikkelhuen on either flank is also a challenging and beautiful mountain range. To the north near September 16th Glacier is Tupilak, which is another striking destination for world-class climbing. There are dozens of other nameless peaks to explore.

Mt. Forel and Schweizerland
Schweizerland is the name of the area about 100km north from Tasiilaq, honeycombed with glaciers and peaks, many over 2000m. It is a breathtaking experience and a dream come true for mountaineers, to gaze over of hundreds of peaks rising above glaciers, under the midnight sun. Schweizerland is a paradise for climbers, with vertical granite walls of your choice, almost all of them unclimbed.

Mt. Forel (3360m/11,024ft) stands on the northern edge of Schweizerland, where the inland icecap and mountains meet. The area is the second highest mountain range in Greenland, with Mt. Forel as the dominant peak. It is 8 to 10 days from the Tasiilaq Mountain Hut to Mt. Forel on skis, or a 1 hour helicopter flight from Tasiilaq. The ascent to Mt. Forel is a moderate ice and snow climb, depending on conditions.

Gunnbjørns Fjell (Hvitserk)
Gunnbjørns Fjell (3694m/12,119ft) in the Watkins Mountains is the highest peak in Greenland, located on the east coast between the two towns Tasiilaq and Ittoqqortoormiit. The ascent is not technically difficult, but due to the isolated location and Arctic climate, an expedition to this area is a challenging one. Once you have established a base camp, neighboring peaks such as Qaqqaq Kershaw (or the Dome, second highest peak at 3683m/12,083ft) and Qaqqaq Johnson (or the Cone, 3669m/12,037ft) are also attractive targets. If you prefer to scale peaks that no one has set foot on before, there are plenty of options in this area.
An expedition to the Watkins Mountain range usually departs directly from Iceland. Arrangements can be made locally, including detailed information and advice on the area.


 

 

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