Bob Shepton.

Expeditions 2014

Another successful expedition with the Wild Bunch of 2010! Successful but hard, largely owing to the uncompromising, remote and desolate terrain of Baffin, and the ice conditions and weather in the Arctic this summer.

It was an expedition in two halves. The lads joined the boat in Aasiaat where it had wintered in early July. First, we went round to the Uummannaq area of west Greenland, and they put up five new extreme big wall routes, with the rock living up to its reputation of being loose in places. The weather was reasonable here but there were also some strong winds. We had to wait a while for the ice to clear from the shores of Baffin but then a three-day passage took us across to Baffin. We were surprised early on the last morning to encounter big fields of pack ice 75 miles out to sea from the coast – the ice was at last moving out – but fortunately wind and swell had broken up the pack and we could weave our way through. Five new big wall routes were climbed in Sam Ford and Gibbs Fjords. All these climbs in both countries were completed without using any artificial aids. This was particularly noteworthy in the Baffin fjords where nearly all previous routes had been done using aid. The weather was not co-operative in Baffin, and the anchorages could be minimal. In both countries all these big wall climbs were done by long extended alpine style pushes of 20-24 hours (one in only 12 hours!) rather than the usual big wall style of sleeping on portaledges on the faces and taking several days. And of course, there was plenty of music in between, and new songs composed. Watch for the eventual film!

We sailed back across to Greenland and entered through the rock strewn channel into Sisimiut in winds of 40-44 knots, to leave the boat there for the winter. A fitting finale to a tough expedition