After Marmot athlete Stefan Glowacz crossed Greenlands inland ice back (1000 km) last year, he now came back to complete his expedition. Last years attempt to end this expedition with a climb of a big wall at the east coast failed due to several reasons. This year, the 1300 meter high big wall should get its next attempt!
Probably the hardest part for extreme climber Stefan was the journey to his destination: Again, like last year, he and his team decided to sail to Greenland on a 14-meter-long ship, called “Santa Maria”. The team looked forward meeting the skipper again, but unfortunately especially Stefan becomes seasick after some minutes already.
In the night of 31st of July the team finally reaches the “bear islands”. The final basecamp will be set up at the opposite of the fjord, but this has been the only save anchorage around. Next hours are needed to get all equipment sorted, everything reorganized and settled to be able to live totally on their own for the next two weeks. Santa Maria will leave the anchorage, as soon as the team gave green light. Now, the real adventure begins!
Early morning of 2nd august, Stefan and his teammates took their countless carabiners, hooks, slings and ropes to leave the basecamp. 24 hours daylight in Greenland is the dream for every climber, but although time doesn’t count in terms of light conditions, the team can’t wait to start! Stefan and Philipp are the ones to start the first ascent. Set up in two teams the first climbs are easy. After 150 meters the wall gets steep and appears like an ocean of rocks.
After 50 meters Stefan drills two standing hooks into the wall, whilst the other team is watching the two guys from the moraine of a glacier. Each team should climb for one or two days and then be replaced by the second team.
Suddenly a loud cracking. Everyone, also the boys on the glacier, expected this sound to come from the glacier. Adrenaline came into Stefan’s blood with the second crack, realizing, it came from the wall 100 meters above him. Totally unprotected and firmly fixed to the stand, with no chance of protection, panic came up when the third crack sounded up. Right now, Stefan, with Philipp 15 meters underneath him, was convinced both of them will die in the next seconds. From the corner of his eye Stefan can see the boulder hitting a ledge 50 meter above him, exploding into hundreds of smaller boulders.
Splinters and chunks shoot past him, hitting arm and leg. Stefan and Philipp press as close to the rock as possible – and miraculously, both are only slightly injured.
After the descent the wounds are sighted and cleaned, a few days break are necessary. Such an experience does not pass anyone without a trace.
On the 6th of August the next ascent attempt begins, the team supports Stefan as much as possible. The tactic is to alternate with the leadership work and to climb non-stop up to the summit. After a few hours of ascent, the team is on the summit, with a stunning view: The never setting sun and an overjoyed bunch of friends face each other.
We are more than happy, that everybody came home again from Greenland!
This trip has shown how dangerous some moments can be, but also how incredible nature is. How valuable the moments are and what a good team can inspire you to.
Stay healthy and alert, no matter what you do!