Kayak and climbing expedition climbs a gigantic unknown wall in south greenland: A team of three swiss and two french commit to an extraordinary fair-mean adventure. With no useful information at hand they paddled 170 km in seakayaks to discover the gigantic, 2000m west face of apostels Tommelfinger.
As part of the team Silvan Schüpbach, Swiss climbing guide.
The Exped-Team supported Silvan with tents, backpack, sleeping bag and mats. The expeditions report ...
Mastering an overhanging serac and continuous difficulty in rock they reach the summit after five bivies on the wall. Only to discover that it is a long way back home.
Silvan Schüpbach, Christian Ledergerber, Fabio Lupo (CH), Jerome Sullivan and Antoine Moineville (F) are eager for adventure and fully commit for a big, uncertain goal. Leaving Aapilatoq in south greenland on the 21st of July they have little knowledge of what they are getting into. The sole picture shows the tip of a shear wall looming behind another mountain. The map reveals that apostels tommelfinger is a massive 2300m peak far from civilization. Nevertheless the five friends give all while paddling into the unknown.
After a first calm day in the kayaks the team faces the raw power of the arctic ocean. Strong winds, tidal currents and decent ocean swell are the ingredients during the seven day approach. The lacking kayaking experience is compensated with will power, recklessness and a good portion of luck. On the 27th of July a long period of uncertainty ends and they were not deceived! After a short stroll they reach the base of the wall with the altimeter showing only 300m. The map reveals 2300m for the summit. This 2000m towering rock and ice face exceeds all expectations. However, food and time is tight – given the dimension they must make the most of their time.
After a single semi rest day and a marginal weather forecast they get going on the 29th of July. They safely avoid first 300 meter to then attack the most stable looking serac. However, getting onto the first hanging glacier pushes them to their limits. Not expecting to climb any significant ice they only have four ice screws at hand - for a 120m section of rotten, sometimes severely overhanging ice. When they finally reach the start of the rock in the evening they are relieved – from here on they expect to be protected from ice and rockfall from high up in the face. Fixing up to 200 meter of rope they engage in a tiering battle for progress up the wall.
When they reach the summit on the 3rd of July they had had it all: they had suffered through wet and cold drizzling nights, climbed mossy, sandy grunge corners and they had gained experience with hammocks and pitching normal tents in the vertical realm. Finally, they had squeezed through a sustained succession of chimneys and offwidths to the top. But only while rappelling they realize that they also had plenty of luck: A few pitches below the summit it starts snowing and the wall will remain covered with rime and snow for a few days to come. They keep rappelling the next day on slings, nuts and pegs and placing a single bolt. Finally, the serac is dispatched the fastest possible by leaving the 100m static rope behind. They reach the base-camp completely drained, well aware of the fact that the real challenges in live lie in sea-kayaking.
After two well deserved rest days they once again put on their dry suites. They retrace their route with similarly challenging conditions. On one of those days a team member capsizes three times out in the ocean. He reaches the shore with help from his friends happy but hypothermic. They reach their starting point on the 13th of august in Aapilatooq.
This expedition is devoted to true wilderness and adventure which can be found when leaving behind whats unnecessary.
Metrophobia on Apostel Tommelfinger (2315m) West-Face
1700m denivelation, Ice 120°, A2+, 7a
The Exped-Team congratulates the climbing crew to their huge success!