Arctic Thrills

The Trillingerne (center) Fox Jaw Cirque (right). VIEW A 2000 PIXEL VERSION OF THIS IMAGE

The team climbed several of the region’s finest formations, during their 37-day stay, nabbing six FAs, including two 14-pitch climbs: Beers in Paradise (V, 5.10+, AO), on the Incisor that shares four pitches with Mike Libecki’s Tears in Paradise; and Left Rabbit Ear (IV, 5.10), an intimidating climb that demanded run-out offwidthing in lieu of wide cams. Each of these routes took over 24 hours to complete with no bivys. The trip culminated with Natural Mystic, and saw no interference from weather. “The weather patterns are typically mild, compared to Patagonia or Alaska,” says Furman. “The climbing ends up being kind of ‘Alpine-Lite’ — all the taste of regular alpine, but half the danger.” Because Greenland is situated at a relatively low altitude, hazards like altitude sickness, hypothermia, and frostbite are diminished.

“From a distance most of the peaks looked chossy,” Furman recalls. “But occasionally you’d see a huge, clean, bright-white granite face.” Furman says the peaks did not disappoint: thin cracks gave way to intricate traverses with ample face holds and juggy incuts, making for spectacular climbing all around.

Tooth Fairy, Southeast Buttress, a line we bailed off of on the Molar, Beers in Paradise, Left Rabbit Ear, Natural Mystic. VIEW A 1200 PIXEL VERSION OF THIS IMAGE

What do climbers visiting need to know?The first supply boat from Denmark usually arrives in mid-to-late June. If you arrive before then, your selection of food might be pretty grim. We got there before the re-supply boat and we ate some horrible cheese that was past its expiration date. The first two times I tried it, I dry-heaved. Climbers can bring food from home but the flight from Iceland to Greenland will charge you astronomical rates for extra baggage. Also, make sure you have your boat-travel arrangements in writing. We had a snafu with that, which ended up costing $400.

What else?Climbers heading there for the summer should count on highs in the upper 50s and lows in the high 20s. Mosquitoes weren’t as bad as we feared, but we still went through some DEET.

Are polar bears a concern?Technically it is polar bear habitat, and bears can travel something like a million miles a day, but there was nothing around (except for us) that they could’ve eaten. They like seals and they need icepack to get them, so they usually migrate farther north. We brought a rifle. We brought a rifle but felt a little silly for having it.

Jed leading the first pitch of Left Bunny Ear (5.9).
Kadin Panagoulis following the 3rd pitch (5.10a) of Left Rabbit Ear (5.10 IV, 14 pitches).