Routes that were climbed by Andrej and Tanja:- Mosquito Attack, VII, 320m long; Pyramid of Ulamertorsuaq (Little Uli), 18.7.2008- War and Poetry (Geneva Deidre variant), VI, 5.12c (IX-), 1000m; Ulamertorsuaq, Andrej free on sight, 22.-23.8.08- Grmoland, VII+, 280m high, 370m long; Pingasuat sud (Pyiramiden), first ascent, 26.7.08- Left pillar (British route), VI, 5.12+, 700m; Nalumasortoq; Andrej free on sight, 29.7.08- Nalunaq, VII/VII+, 900m high, 1250m long; Tinninertuup III, first ascent, 3.8.2008- Flying Viking, VIII, 850m high, 1200m long; Tinninertuup II, first ascent, 10.8.2008
Photos, routes, topos and lines are on: http://grmoclimb.net/?str=502&aid=27
Other photos from Greenland are on: http://grmoclimb.net/?str=7&aid=40
In the middle of July 2008 Tanja and I were left on the shore below famous walls of Ulamertorsuaq (Uli) and Nalumasortoq (Nalu). Together with our new British friends, who headed to the end of the Tasermiut fjord, we survived scary sailing between numerous icebergs and ice flows, which blocked the fjord for many days that month.
After two days of rain and fog we finally saw our main target – fascinating cylinder of Uli. For the “warming up” we decided to climb Danish route Mosquito attack (VII, 320m long) on the pillar north of Uli cylinder (called Pyramid or Little Uli). The wall was still wet in many places and the climbing far from perfect, with vegetated cracks and numerous bolts, but at most we were disappointed by the fact that the »route« ends in the middle of the wall, more than 100m bellow the summit. We think this climb couldn’t be called a route, more an attempt.
The sun finally dried the walls after a few days. In the morning of July the 22nd we started with War and Poetry (VI, 5.12c, 1000m), Skinner, Pianna & Co. variant of Geneva Deidre (VI, 6b, A4), climbed in 1983 by Piola, Dalphin, Probst, Wiestlibach, in W face of Uli cylinder. With its neighboring route Moby Dick, they are one of the best routes above the Tasermiut fjord, offering superb and quite difficult free climbing. After 22 pitches, and the night approaching, we decided for a longer rest on one of the rear ledges in the route. Beautiful day ended with short but very windy night, continued with icy, cloudy morning. Because of cold we started by dawn (3 a.m.) and summited in better weather in a few hours. Andrej managed to climb the whole route free, on sight, what was probably also first “real” free ascent of this wall. The variant War and poetry was climbed free already by Skinner’s and Pianna’s group, but as we know, they did only team free ascent, »broken« in parts by rappels to the base. The same tactics was employed also on other two “free” routes on Uli (Moby Dick and Südtiroler profil). After most of the obvious lines on Uli cylinder are already climbed, I think the next step is to climb the lines in »alpine free ascent style« - one push free ascent, done by one or both climbers of the roped party.
After few days of rest and curing of the damaged skin on our hands, we couldn’t wait in nice weather anymore. We decided for another ascent. On July the 26th we headed for south face of Pingasuat sud (Pyiramiden), where we climbed pleasure first ascent route Grmoland (VII+, 280m, 370m long). The summit just west of famous Ketili rewarded us with perfect view.
We planed longer rest after that ascent. But than we got the weather report, which sad the nice weather will hold only one more day. So we hurried to the base of another perfect wall – the west face of Nalu. With first morning light of July 26th we started with British route Left pillar (VI, 5.12+, 700m), climbed in big wall style, with fixed ropes in 1995 by Anderson, Dring, Dring and Tattersall. It was freed by Americans Nathan Martin and Tim O'Neill in 2003 (in »team« style, after few attempts). In spite of forecasted nice weather, we were accompanied by light drizzle right from beginning. But fortunately, the Nalu wall is so steep that the rock stayed more or less dry. The weather was slowly worsening, and we rush from pith to pitch in fear of weather deterioration, but still with hope on its improvement. The hardest pitches of that perfect crack route are the last ones and just when we start to climb them the rain finally stopped. After 10 hours of climbing we couldn’t believe that 19 pitches are behind us and we are standing on the top of the wall. And even less that Andrej climbed everything free, on sight. Perfect!
After few days of rest we “hitchhiked” the local miner, who came to pick up Polish climbers, and he took us with his power boat to the end of the fjord, to the beach base camp of our British companions. Next day we headed for inspection of unnamed valley below Tinninertuup towers. In two weeks Brits managed to make many ascents in this, by climbing means, almost undeveloped valley. After fast inspection we find out that of all obvious major walls and lines, they left only one for us– the central pillar of Tinninertuup III. The rock in the pillar wasn’t all the time perfect and the climbing was sometimes »stupid« (what repulse Brits attempt). But more we were surprised by dimensions of the pillar. From the valley all seams much shorter, but at the end we climbed more than one km of rock to the summit, 23 long pitches. We named our new route Nalunaq (VII/VII+, 900m high, 1250m long). After unpleasant descent trough louse gully we finished our one day climb (on August the 3rd).
After more than two weeks of mostly nice weather, it finally (we really needed good rest) turned nasty for four days. But before our departure we got more sun and we decided to add another route to pillar of Tinninertuup II. Brits already climbed four lines on it and they praised the quality of rock and climbing. We choose central line and on August 10th climbed new route Flying Viking (VIII, 850m high, 1200m long) in perfect cracks, which resembles us on the best Chamonix's granite. In the lover part we climbed ten pitches to the big ledge, where difficulties started and then twelve more pitches to the top. We used only removable gear and all of our first ascents were left as adventurous as they were for us.
With climbing more and better than we could even dream before our expedition, we returned back from melting Island full of enthusiasm and impressions. In the weather as we had this summer South Greenland is just a perfect climbing paradise (when you forget horrible mosquitoes and little flies).
by Andrej Grmovšek