Warming up in Uummannak
By Nico Favresse
We are off again on an exciting adventure! Reverend Captain Bob Shepton is very excited to have the Wild Bunch—Sean Villanueva, Olivier Favresse, Ben Ditto and I—back on board the Dodo’s Delight for some jamming and big walls. Already four years have passed since our last expedition in Greenland with Captain Bob. This time though we brought more musical instruments, more fishing equipment and more whiskey for our captain, all of which we hope will help us with our new assignment: testing the acoustics of some massive big walls located in the fjords on the East coast of Baffin Island.
We left Aasiaat one week ago and we’ve had good moments so far but also harder ones. Yes, indeed, we missed the World Cup final and the ice hasn’t melted enough for us to cross to Baffin Island side. Our captain is becoming very impatient and we are afraid that he would be willing to take quite some risks for us to reach Baffin Island. If we did get stranded by the pack ice and its pressuring current, Dodo’s Delight would most likely get crushed and sink. The good thing is that our captain is very familiar with that. He has two boats in Greenland, one of them he keeps below the water surface!
Four days of sailing with occasional bouldering stops brought us to the fjords of Uummannak and its mountains. The ice cap and the ocean filled with icebergs looks so unreal. It feels like we are on a different planet. There are some nice big walls here but it’s not easy to evaluate the rock quality from a distance. So yesterday we decided to go have a closer look and attempt some climbing on a nice looking 400m wall right above the settlement of Ikerasaq.
We split into two teams and went for two different lines. Ben and Oli chose the east ridge, a line that seemed not too risky or more suitable for committed married men (or almost) while Sean and I chose the right prow with its overhanging headwall. The climbing turned out to be a lot better than anticipated. The granite here is very rich in holds and fun to climb. There were also some good sections of rotten rock but fortunately we found our way through it alive.
Now we are cooking up some organic, free-range local meat and look forward to a nice lunch for recuperation. We’ll be in touch as the next exciting steps unfold. Stay tuned!
Greetings from the Wild Bunch and captain Reverend Bob Shepton