Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Greenland trip day 11: Double fun

Another beautiful weather morning, we are underway at 7:30 (30 minutes later than planned, tja...). Today's goal is a peak John noticed back on the 26th. We head North again, cross the moraine, over the "bridge", along the big glacier, up the valley, and onto the glacier there. 

Across the big glacier

Our planned route takes us up a bit of glacier coming down from a bowl on the side of the valley opposite the snowy couloir we used to get to the ridge on Monday (on the "South" side). From the bottom of that glacier it looks like the exit back onto rock in order to get around a "complex" bit of steep crevasses will be tricky and that the rock up there is likely too slabby, so we ascend up the talus instead.

On with the crampons

This is steep and loose, but manageable. After a long bit of climbing here we put the crampons on, rope up, and move back onto the glacier for the next bit of climbing. There are some long crevasses and John wants to stay as much as possible in the shade so the snow is better and it's not quite so brutally warm, so we take a winding, circuitous route up. This is definitely the kind of thing that would make g nervous if we were alone, but having a guide there really helps. Along the way one of our possible target peaks comes into view: it's a lovely spiky thing... very exciting and good for the motivation as we slog upwards towards the col under that peak. Once almost at the col we turn off to the right and descend a bit to hit the rock. 

up the glacier

Off with the crampons and then up through the loose rock until we hit the snowfield connecting the spiky peak with its neighbor to the right. We head to the highest point of the snow (in boots) and then turn right to walk the last bits of ridge to the peak. The views are awesome, as expected (we now have very high expectations! :-). After a few pictures and a brief bit of looking around (the other peak is calling!) we walk back across the ridge the other way to get to the last steep bits to the teeny peak itself. John lets us do this first, so we give him the camera and then scramble the last few meters. More great views and a dramatic drop on the other side. We do a bit of clowning around for the pictures (g never could have done that a year or two ago!) and then climb down to let the others up (there really isn't room for everyone up there).

Enough room for the two of us

After John helps the others up and back down, we enjoy a short break (it's quite late) and then head back. The descent is the same route as we came up. It's long but we are pretty efficient and get back to camp just before 19:30. A quick wash (for g. The sun is gone, so A passes) and then hot beverages, soup, and dinner (chicken curry for A, "Salmon and broccoli pasta" for g. The curry is good, the other more "meh"). After dinner we discuss the next day. The others want/need a rest day (frustrating!!!) so we'll do something educational tomorrow and then try another long tour on Thursday, our last day with a tour for this trip.

The already really nice day is crowned by being woken up to see a really nice display of the Northern Lights. Wow! :-)

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