Squamish climbers’ first ascent on the Brit Rock tour

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dated: 2022-11-19 18:31:59 .

A team consisting almost exclusively of local residents has climbed a 1,000-meter-high monolith in Greenland for the first time.

The Squamish climber’s big first ascent in Greenland is part of this year’s Brit Rock Film Tour, which comes to town on November 25.

Jacob Cook, Bronwyn Hodgins, Angela Vanwiemeersch, Kelsey Watts and Zack Goldberg-Poch and professional filmmaker Jaron Pham are the first to free climb Qaersorsuaq, also known as Sanderson’s Hope.

This means they were the first team to reach the top and only used equipment to catch them when they fell. Previously, there were two climbing aids, allowing people to use different aids to reach the top.

Last August the team Freeclimped a new route they introduced and called the Sea Barge Circus, graded 5.11+. They estimate that the distance is about 900 meters.

All the people on the team, except for Vanwiemeersch, are Squamish residents.

Qaersorsuaq is an approximately 1000 meter high monolith in Greenland. That’s about twice the fame of Chief Stawamus.

The ascent was only part of a long journey. The adventurers embarked on a kayaking and hauling journey, using human power to cover a distance of 300 kilometers before reaching their destination. The actual journey was even longer, since after the 20 kilometer transport the crew had to repeat the end-to-end overland journeys to resupply their ships.

It was more than 65 days of adventure, although the team only slept 61 times due to the 24-hour sunlight at this time of year.

40 of those days were spent traveling to Qaersorsuaq, while 20 were spent climbing the monolith.

“For me, it’s creating a meaningful experience for me in the wilderness,” Cook said. “And it’s about interacting with the big landscape on your own terms.”

He came up with the idea after locating a remote location on Google Earth. Cook had already been to this area of ​​Greenland in 2013, but felt overwhelmed then.

“I always thought about coming back,” he said. “But I’m coming back on my own terms.”

And he did.

Cook studied satellite imagery and mapped the sea kayak trail that began at Uummannaq. It was followed by a system of fjords that provided them with some protection from the strongest sea waves. It also allowed them to stay close enough to land and overlook the new cliffs.

The team climbed a number of different routes on their way to Qaersorsuaq.

The highlight was the roughly 50-hour first ascent of a wall called the Red Wall, Cook said. Hodgins, Vanwiemeersch and Watts, pioneers of the direction, called their new ascent Time is a Construct. The distance of 400 meters was rated 5.11 A2.

When the team arrived in Qaersorsuaq, the 20-day siege of the wall began.

Cook laughed, recalling that since he had yet to see their destination in person, he was worried that the monolith would prove to be a disappointment to his group upon arrival. But those concerns were quickly dispelled.

“It just looks fantastic,” he recalled. “It’s like a free climber’s dream. You know, it’s the size of El Capitan and it rises straight out of the ocean. And the quality of the rock was some of the best we saw on our entire trip.”

We spent the first 12 days exploring the wall and setting up camp.

Finding a new path through the massive granite mass required surveying the area with binoculars, telescopes and zoom lenses to find a working fissure system, Cook recalled.

To set up camp, they had to climb halfway up, attach ropes to bring supplies, and set up portals.

We spent the next eight days living on the wall and climbing to the top.

Cook said the biggest highlight of the trip was when the team was caught in a storm at their high camp.

“While we were sleeping, it just started coming down – like an apocalyptic rainstorm,” he said. “It was a bit scary because I’ve never been up against a wall in such a big storm.”

Trapped in their portals for four days, the team feared that all their efforts had been in vain. But there was an imperfect moment of opportunity.

“After four days of rain, we were still in a thick, icy cloud,” Cook recalls with a laugh. “And the wall was completely soaked. But I said, ‘Hey guys, I’m thinking about climbing.’

And so Cook, Hodges and Watts got out of their tents and tried.

“We just started climbing in the worst possible conditions,” he said. “Actually, there are some really good photos of it [Hodges] Running a pitch is basically like a blizzard with wet rocks.”

But after climbing far enough, they really appeared above the storm.

Cook radioed the rest of his team, who were still in camp.

“I said, ‘Guys, it’s like you have to come here — it’s sunny,’” Cook said with a laugh. “And they just laughed at me. No possibility. They were still standing down in the rain.

The rest of the team were eventually convinced to climb and then made the final 24-hour push to the top.

Cook said it was difficult to describe the trip as ordinary fun because it was perhaps one of the most prolonged periods of discomfort in his life.

But it was worth it.

“It’s more than a personal achievement,” he said. “It’s kind of the connection with the people you’re there with, I guess. And that’s something that will stay with me, I think. Just the team. That’s probably the main reason I do these things, to build those relationships with the team.”

The Brit Rock IV Tour hits Squamish at Quest University on November 25th. The movie starts at 19:30

Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

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Squamish climbers’ first ascent on the Brit Rock tour

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/first-ascent-by-squamish-climbers-on-the-brit-rock-tour-154509/

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