Greenland 1998 Cybercast
Tuesday, June 16, 1998
Hey Mountain Zone, it's Todd. We're at base camp right now. It's our last day, and we decided that we would take in some rest. It's getting really, really warm and some rocks have fallen off the side of the hills, so we decided to just take it easy today and fly out tomorrow. Six good peaks have been climbed and everybody's psyched; we're just relaxing, cleaning up our gear and getting ready to fly home. It's been a fantastic trip and hopefully the plane will arrive tomorrow — it should, the weather is fantastic — and we'll give you a call from Reykjavik. Hope everybody's well and we'll talk to you in America or Iceland. Bye.
Sunday, June 14, 1998
Hey Mountain Zone, it's us. What a wonderful day it is today. We went up and climbed a peak, maybe unclimbed, I'm not sure. We named it U-Turn; it has a huge U on the top of it. Beautiful. It's quite steep and blue ice all around it, and right on the summit ridge, a very narrow ridge, it's got a snow ridge on it and we were able to climb that quite easily today, and it was absolutely beautiful.
Encompassed a few Swiss climbing techniques, real short-roping on the ridge. Bene keeps thinking every mountain is the Matterhorn, I don't know. Life is good, we're back in base, sky is beautiful and life is good. Hope it is for you guys. We'll talk to you soon. Bye.
Hi you guys, it's Todd, we're still in Greenland. Yesterday was a rest day. We were just real tired from our long journey down the valley, and today my knee was bothering me a bit from the hike, so I kind of stayed around camp.
Dierk and Bene went over and climbed a new peak, I think. A beautiful new route, pretty difficult, it's about 3100 or 3200 meters tall, really beautiful, aesthetic peak. They just got back in and I wanted to report about it.
Saturday, June 13, 1998
We skied by it the other day on our first day here, and you could tell it was great, and it was probably a little harder than they excepted. The summit wasn't bigger than ½ meter by a ½ meter and it was about 45° maybe 15° in some areas. They could climb up and then had to belay down. It took them about ten or eleven hours. The conditions were good and then they had a nice ski down, and they're back in camp and eating dinner.
We'll see what we'll do tomorrow; maybe we'll rest. We'll see how my knee is; it's aching me pretty hard, so I'm going to take it easy for a day or so. Anyway, hope everything is good. Very, very sorry to hear about the Rainier accident and hope that's been gotten under control. We'll talk to you soon. Bye.
Thursday, June 11, 1998
Hey, it's Todd. Today was a bit of a rest day. After we talked to you yesterday, after climbing Gunnbjornsfjeld, we had dinner and two, or two to three hours later, we took off to get a re-supply. We skied about, I guess, probably 10 kilometers up to climb Gunnbjornsfjeld, climbed the peak, came back down and ate dinner. After we had dinner last night, Dierk convinced us to go down and catch the re-supply. We really didn't have any idea where it was. The coordinates were a little off of what they had given us. It ended up being 30 kilometer ski round trip, it took us eight hours, so we ended up putting in about 50 kilometers yesterday. Pretty amazing night, it was 20 hours, we got back at 8am this morning.
Not a narrow valley, it's actually quite wide. It looks like it's maybe a mile, but actually eight or nine kilometers wide, this valley we're in. We skied down the valley, out close to the ice pack actually, where the last range of mountains exists before you get out into the ice cap of Greenland and head towards the west coast. We just jumped on our skis and took off and tried to avoid crevasses.
Skied down as far as we could, and we were able to get down there and find the cache. It was much, much farther away than we thought. It took us an hour and thirty minutes to ski down there and a good six, six and a half hours, something like that to ski back. It seemed like it took forever. We were pulling sleds and moving a couple of kilometers an hour. After we saw our camp, we thought we were close and it took another two and a half hours to reach our camp from there. It was pretty amazing.
We're back, and we are taking care of our feet and life is better. The ski plane couldn't land here so it dropped some supplies, as I said, 15 kilometers away. Some fresh fruit and a variety things that make us all happy here in base camp, some fresh meat and some things like that.
Wednesday, June 10, 1998
Hello, it's Bene from Greenland. Actually, we had a very good day today; a sunny warm day until we got to the top. On the top of Gunnbjornsfjeld it was actually quite cold. We stood about 20 minutes on the top. It took us eight hours, up and down, for the whole climb which is quite a good time. Had great skiing on the way down.
Actually, there was a plane coming in today dropping some more food. Tomorrow we have to pick it up; it's about, let me say, nine miles away from here.
Now we are going to open up a bottle of champagne, French champagne, for the highest peak in Greenland... and to the Swiss and the Americans... The Swiss and the Americans say thank you to the French! Have a nice evening. Bye.
Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Fantastic day, another fantastic day in paradise. It was a rest day today. A lot of amazing things. We started off the day with an ice bath when the sun came out right over top. We basically all stripped down and just covered our bodies in ice until it melted and washed ourselves and then dried off. It was very entertaining and we got some excellent video shots of it all.
Another amazing thing today, out here in the middle of nowhere, a lost bird came and flew over our camp and circled it for about ten, fifteen minutes just circling around and around. It was amazing to see life out here this far from anywhere.
Since we had some time, we tested the polar bear gun today. We thought we might as well figure out if it works or not, so we set a can out there, and we tried to shoot it.
I got pretty close, but we couldn't keep practicing because we had to save some of the bullets in case we do see a polar bear.
Life is fantastic here. Everybody is in good shape. Opened a box of Oreos and found a yo-yo, so I had a toy for the day. Our blisters are healing. Tomorrow we head for Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest peak. That will be a long day, and we'll call you when we get back.
Rest days are always interesting for me because they give you so much time to relax and just enjoy the beauty of the mountains. Sometimes it is important to be next to the mountains as it is to be on top of them and you think about all the good things and wish you could share it with more people; that's how I feel today. Hope everybody is good there, and we'll talk to the Zone tomorrow. Bye.
Monday, June 8, 1998
Hey Mountain Zone, it's Todd from Greenland. Things are good here! We just had a fantastic ascent today, a first ascent. About a two hour ski then a nice glacier climb with some steep terrain and interesting route finding. Nice ridge; from the top of it we could see all down to the valley with just another 100 peaks to climb.
It's just been fantastic in Greenland. Life is great. It was a nice ridge climb. We actually were pretty hesitant about whether we could get up it today because there was so many crevasses, but we were able to get around the crevasses and on the ridge. I think we're going to name it after Dierk's son, Robin, but we have to climb another unclimbed peak for his other son Tobias, otherwise you know how that'll be.
We did see some people. When we got up to the summit ridge, we looked on the other side, and we saw some people, surprisingly enough, in another camp. I think they'd skied 300 or 400 kilometers possibly to get where they are. So we may see them in a day or so, too bad, huh? But we are in our own wilderness, and we have found numerous first ascents I think we can attempt. We're probably going to rest tomorrow and shoot for Gunnbjornsfjeld the next day, come back down and then go back up and put a camp up there and try to climb some unclimbed peaks. Basically, we all have blisters to the point that we can hardly walk. We are all climbing in Randonnee boots that are brand new. I think Bene's are the worst, but Dierk's are pretty bad today.
Skiing is fantastic. Dierk and Bene are so much better than me. It scared me to death coming down this steep slope today — scariest part of the climb — but I made it. I'm back. What else guys? Dierk is making salad right now; we just had Raman soup; life is good in Gunnbjornsfjeld. So, I'll talk to you later. Bye.
Sunday, June 7, 1998
Hi Zoners, it's Todd. We're back in base camp; we had a great day today. Not a cloud in the sky and probably above freezing, feels like it's about 50° outside. Summited a magnificent peak that has been climbed before but is unnamed — beautiful summit ridge. Skied about a thousand feet up and climbed probably 150 meters of really beautiful ridge. Climbing and then came down, and skied down a magnificent valley of beautiful snow. It was a spectacular day. Right now, we're back home cooking, sunshine right overhead, life is fantastic. Talk to you soon. Bye.
Saturday, June 6, 1998
Hey Mountain Zone, it's Todd. We just got back about two hours ago from a great day of climbing. We skied to the top of a peak about 3200 meters tall; we did it in about five hours. It was a really great experience. The snow is prefect conditions for skiing down, so I took a few lessons from Dierk and Bene.
Life is great. We lit up the barbecue tonight, and we had our lamb steaks and roasted potatoes with some fresh olive oil we've been keeping warm in the tents during the day. We have Cognac, we have cigars, and we have everything except toilet paper. So, we're getting really good at tearing thin sheets off of cardboard boxes...
Life's great out here. Tomorrow we'll go up and climb another peak, just to do acclimatization again before we go up higher. We plan to probably do Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest peak, in about two more days. We're hoping that in about four or five days, we'll go up and attempt the highest unclimbed peak in Greenland. It looks really good, but it's just a long ways away so we'll have to do a lot of skiing and do a couple of days of camping. Off skiing today, all of us had brand new boots, so we've been taping our feet all day; that wasn't the best experience, breaking in new boots.
Life is great in Greenland! Twenty-four hours of sunshine. We actually got into a white out for about an hour today, but then the clouds moved back out, and it is beautiful now. It's definitely well below freezing, but the sun is shinning on the tents, so it's warm inside. I'm looking over at Dierk right now, and he's smoking a big cigar and drinking some Glen Livet. Life is good in Greenland, and we'll have more stories tomorrow. We'll be in touch. Bye.
Friday, June 5, 1998
Hi, it's Todd. We're in Greenland. Sorry for the short update last time... just had to get back and flip some chicken on the barbecue. We've got a barbecue going. It's the first time I've ever been climbing in the mountains where I had a barbecue. It just worked out that way. We bought one in Iceland and a whole bunch of frozen chicken, and we jumped on the plane, flew over here, buried it in the ice, so we've got frozen chicken, meat and lamb. So, we're going to have barbecues every other night after we do our climbs in the evening.
The sun is overhead, looks like we get 24 hours of sunlight here. The glacier looks good. A little less snow than last year and a little bit harder surface, so it will be better for steeper climbing, and we'll probably move a little quicker, and that's good.
I just want to give you a quick update on Dierk [Mass] and Bene [Perren Benedikt]. Dierk is 55 years old, he's a cardiac surgeon from Switzerland and runs a clinic there. He's climbed 25 peaks over 4,000 meters in Switzerland. Almost all the highest peaks in South America including Huascaran, Aconcagua, peaks of Ecuador, Sahoma, Illimani, and he's climbed Vinson in Antarctica, and he was very high on Everest with us in 1996 just before the accident. He's also climbed McKinley and several other peaks. So, I'm here with some superstars. Bene is about the same except he's been a professional guide for about 12 years. He lives in Zermatt. So I've got some serious people to keep up with this year.
Iceland was great. It's so expensive there — I paid $60 for four rolls of film, but we've had a great time so far, and everybody is in great health. The mountains look fabulous. Again it takes a little while to get used to the 24 hours of sunlight. I didn't get much sleep last night, still getting over the jet lag, but I feel great. We are in heaven right now; it's gorgeous! I can't believe the food we're eating: fried chicken, fresh corn and a variety of things. We're just at the freezing level here — we're on a huge glacier that goes to the ocean, but it's so warm because we have the sun all the time that the temperature is just below freezing, so we're able keep our vegetables from freezing and our frozen meat frozen.
Tomorrow we are going to go off and ski and climb a 3,200 meter peak, not very high. It's only, I guess, about 12,000 feet, and we're at 7,000 feet now, so we'll do a 5,000 foot peak tomorrow (in elevation gain.) So, we'll see how that goes, just to get warmed up and to take a look around.
One of our possible goals was pointed out to us today is still to climb the highest unclimbed peak in Greenland which is about 3,600 meters, and there is a possibility we'll do that. We'll go up and take a look at it. Probably in the next couple of days we'll go up and try Gunnbjornsfjeld. Things are great, life is good.
Iceland again was magical. I'm so used to going to northern places and there are usually small villages and Eskimos and things like that, and when we pulled into Iceland, it was blonde-headed, six foot tall people everywhere we went. It was interesting; it's a great place. It's amazing: there is only 250,000 people in all of Iceland, so... you'd think everybody would get to know each other pretty well. Anyway, things are good here. I've got to get back to flipping the chicken, and we will call you after our next climb. Hope everybody's good there. Bye.
Friday, June 5, 1998
Hey Zoners, it's Todd. We have just reached the base camp of Mount Gunnbjornsfjeld. Weather is fantastic — feels like it's above freezing actually but beautiful clear skies and mountains all around us. We are the only people here; it's just incredible. I'm here actually with Dierk [Mass] and Bene [Perren Benedikt], and we are very, very excited. We're going to call back in a few minutes, to give a full update, and we'll talk to you later. Bye