Brazilians Blaze Big New Climb up Ulamertorsuaq in Greenland
Vinicius Todero reports about a 40-day climbing trip to southern Greenland with fellow Brazilian climber Marcos Costa in August 2018, during which the two repeated the famous Moby Dick on Ulamertorsuaq and, on the west face of the same mountain, established a 1000m new climb called Quajanaq. This shares sections of Moby Dick and Magic Tromblon.
Photo by Vinicius Todero, Marcos Costa
Last summer Marcos Costa and I carried out a 40-day expedition to southwestern Greenland, more precisely to the Tasermiut fjord with the idea of repeating some of the big walls in the region and also to establish a new route. After 3 planes, 2 boats and 4 days of travel we finally arrived at our base camp. The big walls in the Tasermiut fjord are probably the most famous and popular climbs in Greenland, nevertheless their maintain their wild atmosphere. During our stay we met only two other groups of climbers and very few groups of tourists.
The day after our arrival we attempted a 600m route on Nalumasortoq (Nalu). After a 5-hour hike and slow progress on the route we had to retreat after climbing only 250m. We soon realised that the dimensions and difficulties in Greenland are far bigger than they initially appear, and good logistics are necessary to climb these walls. After this frustrated first attempt we changed our focus to our main goal, the 1200 'm wall of Ulamertorsuaq (Ula). During the following two days we carried our gear to the base of the mountain and and studied the lines. Our choice fell on the classic Moby Dick (7c+/A1, 1200m), first ascended in 1994 by an international team comprised of Kurt Albert, Ben Masterson, Didi Langen, Hans Martin Götz, Walter Obergolser, Helmut Gargitter and Stefan Glowacz.
After transporting our gear we had a forecast of only had two days of good weather, so we decided to attempt a 2-day ascent. On the first day we climbed 450m of "slabs", the first part of the route. The climb itself was quite easy and well protected, the tough part - and what made us lose a lot of time - was hauling 70kg of equipment and supplies up the slabs. We planned to set an advanced camp on the wall for our future attempt at establishing a new route, and so we carried a lot of food, water and equipment during this first day. On the next day we completed a 20-hour push to the summit, free climbing most of the pitches up to 7c+. We had to climb the last 3 pitches with headlamps and we reached the summit at 12pm. At 4:30am we returned to the portaledge, accompanied by the first rays of sunlight. After a few hours of sleep a violent storm caught us in the portaledge, forcing us to spend the next 36 hours on the wall.