Swedes Establish Free Route in Greenland

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Basecamp with the massive Nalumasortoq and Ulamertorsuaq formations in the background, Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland. Photo by Erik Massih

Basecamp with the massive Nalumasortoq and Ulamertorsuaq formations in the background, Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland. Photo by Erik Massih

On June 28, the Swedish climbers Erik Massih and Oskar Alexandersson grabbed the FFA of Life is Beautiful (FA: Suzuki-Yamaoka; VI- 5.9 A2+; 5.13a, 7c+), on Nalumasortoq, Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland. They climbed the routes 14 pitches ledge-to-ledge in a 19-hour push using slightly different belays than were used during the first ascent. Massih describes the seventh-pitch crux as “long and sustained, technical and physical, perfect.”

This was Massih’s fourth trip to Greenland; last summer, he’d attempted the route with Martin Jakobsson, but the weather did not cooperate, and the pair was forced to leave without a free ascent. This year, however, Massih and Alexandersson, a new climbing pair (attracted by each other’s climbing style and psych), experienced good weather for the last two weeks of their trip. The biggest challenges they faced outside of climbing were nearly running out of bacon and surviving almost a day without snuff.

The first pitches consisted of mainly loose and crumbling flakes, but nearing pitch five, the granite quality improved vastly, and “the climbing was pure pleasure,” says Massih.

Oskar Alexandersson follows P17 of War and Poetry (VI 5.12c), Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland. Photo by Erik Massih

Oskar Alexandersson follows P17 of War and Poetry (VI 5.12c), Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland. Photo by Erik Massih

Next came War and Poetry (FFA: Todd Skinner, Steve Bechtel, Mike Lilygren, Peter Mallamo, and Paul Piana, 1998; VI 5.12c) on the Ulamertorsuaq formation — War and Poetry is the free variant of the original route, Geneva Dihedral (FA: Dalphin, Piola, Probst, and Wietliesbach, 1983; 6b A4). The pair freed and then rappelled the 30-pitch line in a 30-hour push. Massih says it’s a “perfect route to climb in a long day with a rather light rack,” with plenty of bolts, despite the chimneys and offwidths higher up.

Massih plans to spend his winter bouldering and “gragging” in Scandinavia and Europe, and finding new free projects in northern Norway next summer.

Massih and Alexandersson's expedition was made possible with support from 5.10, Arcteryx, Fjällsport in Gothenburg, Maxim bars, Sasquatch, Sterling Ropes, SKF and Tierra.

Dates of Climbs: June 2009

Source: Erik Massih

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