The KMC Greenland Expedition 1994.

Location: Pourquoi-Pas Glacier Area (67°N 36°W)

Patron: The Lord Hunt of Llanfair Waterdine

Expedition Members: Jim Gregson (KMC, Leader), Sandra Gregson (KMC), Graham Harkness (KMC), Andrew Howick (KMC), Alan (L) Jones (KMC), John Starbuck, Lucy Walker (Tangent Expeditions), Paul Walker (Tangent Expeditions)

Grants acknowledged: The Scott Polar Research Institute (Gino Watkins Memorial Fund), The Mount Everest Foundation, The British Mountaineering Council

The expedition was organised as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Karabiner Mountaineering Club (KMC). The original objective was a KMC ascent of Karabiner Fjeld (2000m), a peak in the Stauning Alps, East Greenland (71°38'N 24°59'W), first climbed by John Hunt and named after the Club during his term as Honorary President. Unfortunately this proved impracticable because of expense and logistics. The Club therefore joined up with Tangent Expeditions to explore and make some first ascents in a little known area further to the South, in Schweizerland, which was accessible by chartered aircraft from Kulusuk, the airport serving the small community of Angmagssalik, which is the nearest habitation.

The approach from Kulusuk was by Twin Otter, with specially adapted under-carriage for landing on snow. Travel on the glaciers was accomplished using nordic skis and equipment was transported by pulks (sledges pulled by people). Skins were required for towing heavy loads, except on down hill sections. Steeper ascents were done using normal mountaineering gear. Travel was undertaken at night, as towing pulks becomes particularly hard work when the snow starts to soften in the Sun. Usually, the summits were reached soon after the sun had risen over the horizon. Torches were not needed at that time of year, just North of the Arctic Circle, as the sun dipped just below the horizon for a few hours only.

Base camp was established on the Pourquoi-pas Glacier at 66°40'N 35°49'W with subsidiary camps on un-named glaciers at 66°43'N 35°83'W, 66°41'N 35°35'W and 66°40'N 35°36'W, the latter position not even shown as a glacier on the maps available, but evident on aerial photographs, which tended to be more reliable for navigation. None of the peaks ascended have so far been named. Whilst positions could be determined reasonably accurately using maps, estimates of altitude were more difficult: GPS was not available.

Ascents List

NameLat.Long.HeightMembersDate and Notes
Peak 166°37'N35°43'W1500mAll members25/07/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 266°42½'N35°50'W2200mJG,SG,AH,JS,LW,PW28/07/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 366°43'N35°46'W2100mAll members29/07/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 466°43'N35°44'W2180mAll members30/07/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 566°43'N35°47'W2080mJG,SG,AH,LW,PW31/07/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 666°42½'N35°54'W2000mGH,AJ,JS31/07/94 - 1st ascent on ski
Peak 766°42½'N35°53½'W2000mGH,AJ,JS31/07/94 - 1st ascent on ski
Peak 866°40'N35°34'W2090mJG,SG05/08/94 - 1st British ascent (Swiss ascent 09/08/66)
Peak 966°41'N35°32'W1650mJG,SG,AH,JS,LW,PW10/08/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 1066°40'N35°31'W2400mJG,SG,AH,JS,LW,PW11/08/94 - 1st British ascent (cairn found)
Peak 1166°39¼'N35°34'W2000mGH,AJ11/08/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 1266°39½'N35°34'W1900mGH,AJ11/08/94 - 1st ascent
Peak 1366°40'N35°28'W2370mJG,SG12/08/94 - 1st British ascent (cairn found)
Peak 1466°38'N35°42'W1800mAH,JS14/08/94 - 1st British ascent (cairn found)

Expedition Photographs

(Click on any picture to see the large version of it).

28/07/94 - Ascending Peak 2 Peaks 5 and 4 can be seen further East along the ridge

29/07/94 - Ascending Peak 3

30/07/94 - View SE from Peak 4 Peaks 13 and 10 with lower peaks 9, 8 and 12 in front

30/07/94 - Ascending Peak 4

30/07/94 - View WNW from Peak 4 Peaks 3 and 5 can be seen in the foreground

04/08/94 - Camp 2, sorting out after a storm

10/08/94 - Peak 13 from by Peak 9

11/08/94 - View WNW from Peak 11

14/08/94 - Jim and Sandy celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary

14/08/94 - Expedition members:
Back: John Starbuck, Graham Harkness, Paul Walker, Jim Gregson
Front: Andrew Howick, Alan Jones, Lucy Walker, Sandy Gregson

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