Matteo Della Bordella Returns to East Greenland’s Big Walls

Matteo Della Bordella, Silvan Schupbach, Symon Welfringer, and Alex Gammeter are heading to an unclimbed wall on the East Coast of Greenland that they have only seen in a photo.

This will be Della Bordella’s fourth expedition to Greenland. But, as he told ExplorersWeb, this time will be different. “We’re going to a much more remote place,” he said.

Climber on a vertical granite wall, another climber belaying from a portaledge.

Matteo della Bordella in Greenland in 2021. Photo: Matteo della Bordella


The only person who has previously climbed there is Mike Libecki, a National Geographic explorer, photographer, and climber. In 2019, Libecki and his brother Andy climbed some isolated walls in Greenland, as he posted on his Instagram account:

“The wall we want to climb is really out of reach, further up the east coast,” Della Bordella said. “I guess the most practical way to approach the place would be in a boat, but we want to keep our usual way of approaching by kayak in a completely independent (and sustainable) way.”

Della Bordella noted that kayaking to and from the wall will take a month, nearly two-thirds of their planned expedition time.

“I am aware it looks too tight a schedule, but we believe that if we used other means, we would miss an important part of the adventure.”

Welfrienger on a kayak, with the rocky fjord and an iceberg behind

Symon Welfringer kayaking during the team’s 2021 expedition. Photo: Matteo della Bordella


A long paddle

The climbers have experience kayaking Greenland’s fiords, but not so far up the open east coast.

“We will have to paddle much longer than on previous expeditions, and directly on the ocean, following the coastline.” That involves more waves, currents, stronger winds, and sea ice.

The plan is to start paddling from a hunters’ settlement.

“A local hunter will take us there from Tasiilaq [the main town in Eastern Greenland]. From that point, we will be completely independent, carrying all our supplies and gear in the kayaks,” Della Bordella said. He estimates they will paddle a total of 600km, 300km each way.

In fact, Greenland’s granite walls are becoming popular among trad and big-wall climbers from around the world. Places like Upernavik and the Mythics Cirque are seeing more climbing teams opening new routes every summer.

“Greenland is remote and has plenty of possibilities, and at the same time, the weather is not bad in summer,” Della Bordella noted.

the members of the Greenland expedition posing.

The 2024 Greenland team. Left to right, Silvan Schupbach, Matteo della Bordella, Symon Welfringer, and Alex Gammeter. Photo: Matteo della Bordella


For the adventure, Della Bordella has again teamed up with good friends Silvan Schupbach and Symon Welfringer, his partners on the 2021 Greenland expedition. The three of them also attempted to climb the Karakoram’s Ogre (Baintha Brakk) and opened a new route on The Ogre’s Son (Baintha Kabata Peak). This year, the team will add a fourth member, Alex Gammeter of Switzerland.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.