Aurora Expeditions founder Greg Mortimer has embarked upon a private rock climbing expedition to the remote coast of Greenland. Along with two close friends, Greg will be aiming to scale a number of unclimbed rock faces over the coming weeks.
Greg called the office via satellite phone recently and reports they are having a marvellous time. They left the small Inuit town of Ittoqqortoormiit in a Zodiac with all their gear for the expedition, which will last a number of weeks. Heading towards Hekla Havn, (on the opposite side of Scoresbysund) they travelled along the coast of Jameson Land when they spotted a polar bear. The group managed to zoom over for a closer look and had a wondrous encounter within metres of the bear from the Zodiac.
The wildlife encounters didn’t stop there. After three hours crossing the Sound, they had the good fortune to spot a pod of narwhal near Cape Stevenson.
The last leg took them to Ostre Havnenaes where they spent the night in a lone trappers hut, ideal protection from the plethora of polar bears that roam this isolated wilderness. This is the site where Ryder’s Expedition excavated some remains of Paleo-Eskimo houses back in 1895 and rings of stones and the faint out line of a mid-passage hearth can still be seen.
The eyes of the expeditioners; Lyle, Ben and Greg will be turned to the crags which they are planning on scaling. Over the weekend they will head to the cliffs and set up their base camp at the bottom. Keep an eye out on this web page, where we will be updating the teams progress regularly.
18th August update
Greg and his team report all is going well and it sounds like they are having a tremendous time and the weather has been perfect for climbing. They have done a 17 pitch climb on the red rock cliffs, but report that the rock itself was very hard going! They are in a spectacular setting at the junction of Sneisund and Ofjord. One of the highlights of the last few days has been a group of musk ox that they have seen from their base camp.
Over the next few days, they will make their way down Ofjord to a point on Bear Island called Steoroya.
22nd August update
Greg has called in again and tells us all is going very well. Conditions have been ideal for climbing and they have made some amazing first ascents. They are scheduled to meet our ship, Polar Pioneer, on Thursday, where they will be dropping off one of the members of the party.
29th August update:
The team had a successful rendezvous with our ship near Bear Isalnd and spent the day on board freshening up and re-supplying. Our staff report the boss looks very relaxed and even has a beard to really complete his wild man look! After a shower and a few phone calls home, Greg and Ben jumped in their Zodiac and zoomed off looking for some further rock-climbing adventures. They are heading to the Ofjord region of Greenland, where they intend to do a number of new 14-pitch climbs. Our ship will then meet them once more on the 3rd September, marking the end of their adventure.