Ralph Villiger and Harald Fichtinger to sail and climb Greenland

Ralph Villiger and Harald Fichtinger to sail and climb Greenland

Posted: May 09, 2014 09:56 pm EDT

 

(Correne Coetzer) Ralph Villiger sent over news from Switzerland about a Greenland sail and climb expedition he and his Austrian team mate, Harald Fichtinger, are planning. 

 

In August 2014 the two men plan to sail from Iceland to East Greenland, Liverpool Land north of Scoresby Sound. In Liverpool Land they will attempt first ascents and thereafter sail back to Scotland.

 

In 2013 Ralph and Harald also sailed to the East coast of Greenland. First Ralph sailed single-handedly from Newport to Nanortalik, Greenland. Harald joined him there and together they sailed through Prins Christian Sund and then north along Greenland's remote east coast. A bit further north than Tingmiarmit they also managed to do a first ascent of a mountain, climbing a 13-pitch route.

 

In August they will head more to the North. Again they will use Ralph's aluminium boat, Ntombifuti, as a mobile base camp for their climbs. This way they can access regions that are difficult to get to with normal transportation, Ralph told ExplorerWeb, especially along the inaccessible shore of Liverpool Land in Eastern Greenland.

 

ExplorersWeb: What are the challenges of the seas you are going to sail?

 

Ralph: Mainly icebergs. We can only go there in August because it takes that long until the coast becomes accessible. If fog adds to it the navigation becomes very tricky and basically you can't move anymore. In gales you don't see the ice behind the waves. 

 

Other challenges with a boat?

 

Ralph: A sailboat always makes some problems. We need the engine to charge the batteries, and the engine often makes problems. Katabatic winds might be dangerous and render an anchor bay impossible. But I do not expect this as we will not be close to the inland ice cap. In general there is little wind in Greenland. Last year we had to use the engine a lot along the coast, but could sail offshore when going to and leaving from Greenland. I sailed alone to Greenland last year, but all the rest was with Harald.

 

Are there ‘natural’ harbors were you plan to go ashore? How do they look?

 

Ralph: Yes, we will anchor at the end of some bays in fjords. Obviously there shouldn't be a glacier that calves new icebergs right onto us. But some bays have sandy soils and are good for anchoring. These are built by meanwhile retreated glaciers. The fjords themselves are way too deep and often steep and do not allow anchoring.

 

Are the mountains far from the coast? 

 

Ralph: No, the mountains are right at the coast. We will probably have to move a bit with our dinghy towards the mountain or across the fjord, but then it will take maybe 30' to 60' to start climbing.

 

Will it be rock climbing or snow climbing or both?

 

Ralph: Mainly rock climbing, but we expect also some ice. Last year we did not have enough ice equipment with us. We won't make the same error twice.

 

When ski teams cross Greenland, they have to report to the police and get inspected. Do you also have to physically report to the authorities? I presume you also have to get permission to do your trip.

 

Ralph: No, we do not cross the ice cap and do not go to the national park, so nothing is required. Denmark monitors the national park and there are some heavy fines. Otherwise the coast is completely remote, you don't see a soul. It is still pure adventure.

 

What are the challenges of that area on Greenland? Is it known for polar bears?

 

Ralph: Last year we have seen a polar bear in 30 m from the boat. There are also whales and seals and I hope to see narwhales and walruses as well. Ashore there might be muskoxes and for sure mosquitoes, a true plague.

 

 

Previous/Related

 

Brits post new big wall routes in Greenland

 

Call for South Georgia kayak and climb team mates

 

Ralph's Website: www.ralphvilliger.com

 

 

#polar #sailgreenland #climbgreenland  

#RalphVilliger #HaraldFichtinger  

#Ntombifuti

 

 

 

 

"Mainly icebergs [are the challenge on the sea]. We can only go there in August because it takes that long until the coast becomes accessible." Image: Ntombifuti cruising between icebergs off Nanortalik, 2013.
courtesy Bernd Mansholt, SOURCE
"In gales you don't see the ice behind the waves." Image: Ralph Villiger's 20313 solo Greenland sail.
courtesy Ralph Villiger, SOURCE
"Last year we had to use the engine a lot along the coast, but could sail offshore when going to and leaving from Greenland. I sailed alone to Greenland last year, but all the rest was with Harald." Image: 2013 in Prins Christian Sund
courtesy Bernd Mansholt (www.wirhauenab.de) , SOURCE
"[We will do] mainly rock climbing, but we expect also some ice." Image: 2013 Climbing with icebergs at the bottom, with Ralph Villiger.
courtesy Harald Fichtinger, SOURCE
"Mainly [we will do] rock climbing, but we expect also some ice. Last year we did not have enough ice equipment with us. We won't make the same error twice."
courtesy Harald Fichtinger, SOURCE
"Unexpectedly solid rock on our last day in Greenland (2013)."
courtesy Ralph Villiger, SOURCE
"After some research it seems that Harald and I did a first ascent on the mountain, which is located at 62 52.2'N 041 34.5'W in East Greenland. We rated the route French 5c."
SOURCE
Last year we have seen a polar bear in 30 m from the boat. There are also whales and seals and I hope to see narwhales and walruses as well. Ashore there might be muskoxes and for sure mosquitoes, a true plague."
courtesy Ralph Villiger, SOURCE
No permit or inspection is required. "Denmark monitors the national park and there are some heavy fines. Otherwise the coast is completely remote, you don't see a soul. It is still pure adventure." Image: Ralph and Harald celebrating their 2013 Greenland visit
SOURCE
Ralph Villiger and Harald Fichtinger 2014 Greenland sail and climb route.
SOURCE