GREENLAND 2002 -
DISPATCH 3 First Explorations
There are few very
places in the world that has yet seen a human
visitor. NHN is one of them. Last night, as the
midnight sun cast long shadows from the summits
out across the glacier, it struck me that this
ritual has been taking place for thousands of
years with no human soul to witness it.
Our group is
enthusiastic and the weather has been clear yet
cold. At 73 degrees north this area receives
considerable daylight this time of year even more
than the Watkins, which lies 69 degrees north and
approximately 450 miles southeast.
Yesterday, as I
fumbled down through several layers of clothing, I
found that my camera had frozen. Under all those
clothes it had still frozen - it was a first for
This morning, we
left camp for a long ski to one of the higher
peaks in the range. The mountain is a series of
four extended ridges culminating in two major
summits. The temperature was amazingly warm as we
made our way 5 miles to the base of the peak. We
crossed a pass and dipped down into an adjacent
glacier system. In the distance loomed Peterman's
Bjerg, the highest peak in North Greenland. Two
members of our team, Paul and John, are among only
a few people to have bagged Peterman's.
In fact, among
the 6 people in our group, there is a combined
total of more than 50 expeditions to Greenland.
Someone once said that after you've been
everywhere, there's always Greenland. Apparently,
it gets under your skin.
The lower climb
was completed in two roped teams up moderate
slopes. To get the pictures I wanted I had chosen
to go unroped at the base of the slope. But as I
crossed several crevasses, I soon regretted it.
Later, we reached the airy summit ridge and
tackled it with running belays. The summit was a
rocky pyramid with two immense capstones making
for an ultimate viewing platform. This was a first
ascent of a major artic summit. You can imagine,
there is nothing quite like that!
We are now at
base camp rehydrating, and considering our next
move. Overhead three sea birds have just visited
our camp. They seem to be as far away from home as
More soon! David