Ummannaq region, various ascents.

By Matthew Burdekin, UK

Ummannaq Mountain from the southwest. (1) Black Velvet Band to central (highest) summit. (2) Solid line shows the Chauché-Mackay Route; dashed line, where it differs at points (A) and (B), the Doyle-Leinss Route. Both end on the south summit. Sean MacKay

Sam Doyle, Miles Hill, George Ullrich, and I formed the British Ummannaq Climbing Expedition. After flying to Kangerlussaq on July 27, Miles, George, and I first had to walk 250km (in 70 hours), and then travel 800km aboard the yacht Gambo, to reach the island of Ummannaq. Our first goal was the west buttress on the central summit of Ummannaq Mountain (1,189m, 70°42′ N, 52°52′ W), which gave 200m of steep ground followed by 50m of overhanging, rounded fins of solid rock that gave the best climbing on the route. The name Black Velvet Band is derived from the bands of extremely soft, black rock that run across the buttress in four lines. With the first four pitches fixed the previous night, Miles and George completed the route on August 8 in 14 hours at British E3 5c. Lesser-angled sections were more serious due to loose rock and spaced protection, and the total amount of climbing to the summit was ca 700m. We caught up with Sam for our next objective, The Horn (71°17′ N, 52°20′ W) on the east coast of Upernavik Island above the Inukavsait Fjord (this is Upernavik Ø; not to be confused with the settlement of Upernavik much further north). On August 13 we attempted two lines; George and I followed an apparent crack system up the center, while Miles and Sam opted for the buttress to the right of the main wall. On their first pitch Miles and Sam found signs of previous passage in the shape of old pegs. Above, the rock became progressively steeper and looser, and after eight pitches to E1 5b they decided to retreat…. (read more)