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 me.

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 we are.

More soon! David Keaton



GREENLAND 2002 - Niels Holgersen Nunatakker Introduction