Monday, August 03, 2015

Climbing Team Completes First Ascent of the Mirror Wall in Greenland

A few weeks back I posted a story about a team of climbers that were attempting to become the first to complete an ascent of an impressive rock face in Greenland known as the Mirror Wall. At the time, the squad had just launched their expedition after spending more than year planning its logistics, and weeks just getting to the mountain. But after spending 12 nights on the massive face, the group was able to reach their objective, topping out in the middle of a snow storm.

The team was led by British rock climber Leo Houlding, who was accompanied by Joe Möhle, Matt Pickles, Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington. They managed to ascend the 1200 meter (3937 ft) wall in 25 pitches, 23 of which were free-climbed.

The remote and massive north face of the Mirror Walls has been compared to the iconic Dawn Wall in Yosemite that drew so much media attention earlier this year. But unlike the Dawn Wall, the this climbing challenge is very remote, requiring the team to be flown into their starting point, and later retrieved by helicopter. It is also taller than the Dawn Wall, with a similarly smooth rock face that is guarded by snow and ice seracs.

Despite those difficulties however, the team managed to reach the summit at 4:20 AM local time on July 22. Inclement weather didn't allow them to enjoy their success for long, as they also had to find a safe way to descend and get back to Base Camp in time for their scheduled July 28 pick-up. Fortunately the were all able to get down safely and have now started their journey home.

You can learn more about their adventure, and read the archives of their dispatches, on a website created specifically for the climb that is hosted by Berghaus, the major sponsor of the Mirror Wall expedition. It looks like it was quite an excursion.

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