The Tasermiut Fjord area, is a Fjord system in the South West of Greenland. Greenland is that massive white blob near the top end of the map, one of those places you can’t quite imagine ever visiting – it doesn’t seem to have any exciting capital cities or widely shared insta-worthy panoramas. It’s also hard to get to, chocolate is expensive, and there’s good evidence to suggest its usually quite chilly (that massive white blobby bit is ice). So why visit?
Neither Stefan or I have ‘proper’ jobs. I think it’s safe to say that this has been a choice, a trade-off, money for time. We can both take weeks at a time off work (following the appropriate amount of begging and shift swapping) to go climbing, and bigger chunks of time off mean you can spend more time getting to far away places and more time climbing there. The flip side of course is that neither of us has any money. Earning money and going climbing are mutually exclusive (unless you’re onsighting 9a). On this occasion however, we’ve been awarded a little bit of funding by the BMC, the Andrew Croft Memorial Fund and the Jeremy Wilson Charitable trust. These organisations have invested in the both of us, in our eagerness to climb in wild places and our ability to do so responsibly. The catch? We have to go and visit Greenland…
Greenland seems a little mythical. According to Wikipedia (and various insurance companies) it is a ‘polar region’, complete with polar bears, and icebergs. You have to use a special satellite network called the Iridium network, and tell all your friends that ‘no, there probably wont be any free WiFi’. Towns and villages are tiny, airstrips are rare, and shamans endow bone sculptures with powerful magic.
However, it was the photos of the collosal clean granite walls in the Tasermiut Fjord that enchanted Stefan and I. After seeing pictures taken by Wil Treasure and Duncan Barrack, we called each other up with the same thought; ‘We have to go!’. We costed a trip, submitted funding applications and sat tight with fingers crossed, neither of us truly believing we’d ever actually climb in this mythical valley of rock. For months I couldn’t stop thinking about it, reading about it, writing up kit lists and squinting at hand drawn topos. Collecting all the kit was just part of the fun; tetris-ing it all into bags and tying accessory cord to absolutely everything.
As I heaved my improbably heavy duffle bag onto my shoulders and began shuffling down the narrow staircase of my inner city flat in Nottingham, reality began to settle in.
Damn, I’ve got to go to Greenland!