Two Months Kayaking, Big-Wall Climbing in Greenland: Doc Drops This Week

This summer, a six-person team ventured to Greenland, kayaking along the coast and establishing bold new lines on big walls.

The epic scope of their two-month adventure became evident through the photos and videos they posted on social media — but the cinematic treatment drops this week.

Brit Rock, an annual climbing film festival, will air three climbing documentaries online. That includes Sea to Summit, which focuses on the team’s first ascent of “Sea Barge Circus”, a 900m climb that overlooks the gorgeous Greenland landscape.

“We did the thing,” wrote Jacob Cook this summer, shortly after returning from the expedition. “Sea kayaked a very long way, climbed a big scary cliff and made it home safe. This one’s going to take a while to process.”


In addition to Cook, the team included Bronwyn Hodgins, Jaron Pham, Zack Goldberg-Poch, Angela Vanwiemeersch, and Kelsey Watts. They used sea kayaks to explore the northwest coast of Greenland, where they established several new big wall climbs.

The documentary will likely focus on the massive “Sea Barge Circus” (6c) on Qaersorsuaq. But the team also put up other new routes, including “Time Is A Construct”, a 400m route on Red Wall they graded at 6c A2.

By the end of the trip, they’d traveled about 450km on both land and sea.

“Probably the grandest adventure of my life so far!” Cook wrote on Instagram.


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Una publicación compartida por Jacob Cook (@jacobcookclimbs)

Climbing with kayaks

There’s a lot of climbing documentaries in the world these days, but few that show mountaineers hauling a kayak straight up a vertical cliff.

That’s what Cook and company did to start their ascent of “Sea Barge Circus” and several other climbs. Sometimes, they belayed the first pitch while still in their kayaks.  But a new route on Qaersorsuaq was the “big objective” of their trip, Cook wrote. The wall had seen two aid climbs but never a free ascent.

“It rises straight out of the ocean, just getting out of the kayak in the swell was going to be the first crux!” Cook wrote.

“We sat in the boat discussing lines, we were drawn to a striking discontinuous crack system up the unclimbed right side of the face. We were thrilled to see it looked like the best rock we’d seen all trip, but equally dismayed to see a lot of blank sections between the cracks. Free climbing this thing could be hard!”


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Una publicación compartida por Jacob Cook (@jacobcookclimbs)


It took the team 20 days to complete the route in big wall style, with a week of portaledge camping. They faced Baffin Bay’s severe weather, including plenty of freezing rain and snow. But by Aug. 21, they had free-climbed every pitch and established the new line.

Climbing with kayaks

The route certainly looks impressive. But much like previous climbing expeditions to Greenland, the landscape itself takes centre stage.

The crew began their trip in the Inuit community of Uummannaq. For the first month, they paddled north along coastlines and fjords. Next came 20km of overland trekking after packing up the kayaks, gear and food.

The images of this small crew kayaking through the iceberg-filled water feel just as compelling as the big-wall ascents. Without their GPS watches, Cook wrote, navigating those seas would have been too risky.

This grand adventure is one of three films premiering in Brit Rock Film Tour 2022 this week. The film will be available for streaming online, but only from Nov. 3-6.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.