New Big Wall Climb in East Greenland

ocean yaking to siren tower
Two mountaineers kayak across the Arctic Ocean toward Kangertittivatsiaq Fiord, Greenland, Aug. 2021. Photo: Bordella, Schupbach, and Welfringer

A three-person team of Matteo Della Bordella (Italy), Silvan Schupbach (Switzerland), and Symon Welfringer (France) returned from a remarkable ocean-yaking and big wall climbing expedition in a remote nook of East Greenland. It was a successful and productive trip — in under six days, the European adventurists developed and FA’d a 7c, 21-pitch granite route.

The team shared a wealth of expeditionary and mountaineering acumen. Recently, Bordella was part of an Italian group that freed a gargantuan, high-altitude line on Bhagirathi IV in India. Bordella and Schupbach had previously visited Greenland together in 2014. On that trip, the two established The Great Shark Hunt (900m, 7b+).

Fair means by kayak

ocean yaking to siren tower

The three alpinists set out from the coastal village of Tasiilaq, Greenland, with two objectives: 1) to establish and free climb an 840m 7c big-wall route on a granite spire called Siren Tower, and 2) to get there by fair means. In this case, that meant paddling 170km over five days by kayak to Mythics Cirque, a secluded ascensionist paradise in Kangertittivatsiaq Fiord.

Establishing Forum (21 pitches, 7c)

The crux pitch on Forum (7c), Greenland Aug. 2021. Photo: Bordello, Schupback, and Welfringer

The crux pitch on Forum (7c), Greenland, Aug. 2021. Photo: Bordella, Schupbach, and Welfringer

Once safely on the eastern fiord’s shores, the three climbers made camp at the base of Siren Tower. They spent the next five days preparing the line, working through beta, charting appropriate gear sizes and placements, installing minimal fixed pro (just two permanent bolts dot the 840m run), and spending nights on their bivy ledge.

On the group’s sixth day, it all came together: relying primarily on trad placements, the European trifecta successfully freed all 21 pitches of Forum, Greenland’s newest 7c route.

mythic cirque aac

Mythics Cirque formation on Kangertittivatsiaq Fiord, Greenland. Photo: American Alpine Club

Coincidently, Forum’s establishment came just two days after the birth of the only other line on Siren Tower. The neighboring multi-pitch had been established by a Belgian/Swedish tetrad of Nicolas Favresse, Jean-Louis Wertz, Aleksej Jaruta, and the ever-energetic Sean Villanueva.

Yesterday, Welfringer stated, “This was my biggest experience in big-wall climbing and I really loved the process. For sure, opening hard pitches with sometimes very doubtful protections in the middle of the Arctic Ocean is something I’ll not forget that soon.”

The italian/french/swiss team that freed Forum iin Greenland

Ascensionists (left to right) Welfringer, Schupbach, and Bordella atop Siren Tower. Photo: Bordella, Schupbach, and Welfringer

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About the Author

Jilli Cluff

Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college.
After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life.
She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network.
She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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