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2010 Mugs Stump Update: Success, Tragedy and Savage Peaks
After about 15m, the ice thickened enough to place a tied-off stubby. Tuttle followed this crux section and they made a few more pitches of progress before the wind picked up, consuming them in a continuous slew of spindrift.
"Our mouths and noses were packed with snow. I had a thick ice crust over my face," Tuttle said. "We were having a hard time even breathing let alone holding on to our tools."
The duo pushed through the remaining 90m of technical climbing and faced a "serious" decision. They were only a few rope lengths from the summit ridge, but had left their bivy gear at their previous highpoint to save time and energy. After considering the high avalanche danger, strong winds and dropping temperatures, they decided to bail.
The descent took almost a day and a half, since Adamson and Tuttle were forced to leave one of their ropes after it got stuck. Once they were back at base camp, they had to wait seven days and six feet of snow before a break in the weather allowed them to fly out.
Though they fell short of the summit, the climbers said they consider their trip a success because they now know a free line on the east face might be attainable with a few favors from the weather gods.
Women's Team Thwarted by Rain in Greenland
Jasmin Caton and Kate Rutherford show their guns with the twin buttresses of Nalumasotoq, Greenland behind. The pair climbed the 600-meter tower via the British Route (5.12a A0, 600m). They also climbed War and Poetry (5.12a A0, 1000m) on nearby Ulamatorsuaq. [Photo] Kate Rutherford
Jasmin Caton and Kate Rutherford planned a trip to Greenland to climb an all-free route up an unnamed, virgin pillar in the remote Tasermiut Fjord in July. The 1500-meter peak features splitter crack systems up dark, lichen-covered granite. Surrounded by a small, but complicated glacier, the pillar's technical approach may be the reason it has never been climbed, Rutherford said. Once in the fjord, rainy weather and questionable glacier conditions dissuaded them from attempting the climb. Instead, they climbed two massive towers, Nalumasortoq (600m) and Ulamatorsuaq (1000m), between July 18 and August 6.
Jasmin Caton follows one of many steep pitches of 5.10 hand cracks on the British Route (5.12a A0, 600m) on Nalumasortoq, Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland. Caton and partner Kate Rutherford also planned to attempt an unclimbed pillar in the same area, but were dissuaded by exceptionally wet conditions. [Photo] Kate Rutherford
Caton and Rutherford tackled the British Route (5.12a A0, 600m) on Nalumasortoq just days after their arrival in the fjord. They made a two-day ascent of the tower on July 19 and 20. The route starts off with a few pitches of 5.11+ before settling into 5.10 hands in a vertical to overhanging corner for 12 pitches. The duo bivied for five hours on a sloping ledge two-thirds of the way up the wall. Exhausted and hungry the next day, the climbers resigned to French-freeing the two 5.12 crux pitches before scrambling up the last two pitches to the summit.
They spent the next 12 days killing time while they waited for rainy conditions to improve. The weather window never opened despite bluebird skies in the forecast. Nevertheless, Caton and Rutherford decided to attempt War and Poetry (5.12a A0, 1000m) on Ulamatorsuaq, the biggest formation they sighted from base camp. The pair enjoyed 15 beautiful and "thought-provoking" pitches of 5.10 to 5.12 slab on the first day and struggled against sandbagged offwidths and chimneys on Day 2. It was "some of the best rock, jamming and suffering of my life," Rutherford said, reflecting on the two hard-earned ascents.