Posted on: December 1, 2004

Jared Ogden following the crux 5.12+ pitch of Prowed and Free (V 5.12+, 1,500') on the Central Pillar of Nalumasortoq, Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland. The route was first attempted by Nathan Martin and Tim O’Neill in 2003 (see Alpinist 6, Pages 52–59). [Photo] Nathan Martin

From June 30 to August 6 Nathan Martin and I were in the Tasermiut Fjord. We warmed up on July 2 on Non C'e Due Senza Tre (V 5.11+, 2,500', Arpin-Manica-Ruffino-Vando, 2000; FFA: Dash-Friday, 2003), climbing within 200 feet of the summit only to be benighted. After three hours of shivering on a ledge we decided to descend. The clean, splitter cracks running for thousands of feet were a perfect introduction to the area's immaculate granite.

It rained for the next fourteen days. After three days of clear skies we started up Nalumasortoq's central pillar on a route Nathan had attempted last summer with Tim O'Neill. A thin finger crack ends at a face traverse that sports the single bolt on the route; it marked their previous highpoint. Nathan redpointed the 5.12+ traverse on his first try. The following four pitches were new ground. A 5.12-, fifty-five-meter corner led into a hidden 5.12 thin finger crack on the face. I failed to onsight the next 5.12+ tips crack (Nathan followed it clean).


To this point we had freed every pitch, but lacking the energy to try the pitch again, we decided to continue to see if the route would go. Above us the crack tapered into a blank wall. Nathan linked a sixty-foot traverse via a faint crack and face holds to gain a better crack system, but resorted to aid to clean the crack and dry some holds. I followed it clean at 5.12-. At this point we joined what we think is Vertical Dream (Castella-Dalphin-Lehner-Truffer-Zambetti, 1998) and free climbed the next two pitches at 5.11 and 5.9. One final pitch of 5.8 gained the summit.

One day later it started to rain; it continued nonstop for sixteen days. On August 2, after three days of fairly clear skies, we started up our route for a redpoint attempt. The first seven pitches (5.8, 5.6, 5.10, 5.11, 5.11+, 5.11, 5.10+) were a bit damp but we climbed faster, enabling us to take a half-hour break on a ledge before we got into the meat of the climb. The next five pitches (5.12+, 5.12-, 5.12, 5.12+, 5.12-) were demanding and long. Again Nathan climbed the crux first go.

The following two pitches, which we had cleaned on our previous descent, felt physically just as hard but mentally more relaxing, because we knew what was ahead. At this point our arms were starting to cramp. I made it through the 5.12- traverse to the anchor with badly cramping elbows, shaking legs and bloody fingers. Nathan's hand cramped into a ball following it; he had to force it open to keep climbing. The remaining three pitches fell, and we reached the top of our fifteen-pitch route, Prowed and Free (V 5.12+), in fifteen hours on August 2. It was the first time a new route had been established without fixed ropes and the first team-redpoint ascent of a route in a day in the Tasermiut area.

Three days later we climbed Moby Dick (VI 5.13-, 1000m) on Ulamertorssuaq on our first try, without any fixed ropes, in 11:56, pulling on gear to move fast. The previous speed record was more than twenty-eight hours. There is one fixed pin and one bolt on Pitch 8 (5.12+); we drilled two bolts on the descent for anchors.

— Jared Ogden, Durango, Colorado

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