1964 Swiss Greenland Expedition

Staunings Alps, Greenland

Greenland First Ascents Expedition

In summer of 1964 a group of young Swiss scientists went out for a two month expedition to East Greenland, exploring a little known area in the Staunings Alps. It was planned and carried out by ten members of the "Academic Alpine Club Zurich" Switzerland, with the aid and support of the club.

On July 11 they left Zurich by airplane while the bulk of their equipment was shipped to Reykjavik, Iceland. The 3 tons of gear consisted of food packed in cardboard boxes, one big and two small rubber rafts, three outboard motors, six tents, two sledges, clothes, skis, ropes, and other mountaineering equipment.

In an interesting alpine history moment, on July 17 they met Professor Brad Washburn of Yale and his group of three British scientists who all shared a chartered DC-4, and set off on the flight to Mestersvig, Greenland. This Danish base is situated at 72 degrees north Latitude at the east coast. Their plans were to ship the whole expedition on rubber rafts from Mestersvig over 60 miles to the southern end of Alpefjord. To their discouragement, Kong Oscars Fjord was still frozen when they arrived. But as soon as the Danish airmen based in Mestersvig for ice survey duty discovered their bad luck they flew them and their gear in a Catalina airplane over to the ice-free Alpefjord.

Climbs in the Seftstroen and Spoerre glacier areas were done from two base camps. A total of 24 peaks were climbed (including 21 first ascents) by the team. Altitude ranged from 6,000-9,000 ft)

All photos copyright: Hans Weber, 1964.

For those interested in finding more about the Academic Alpine Club of Zurich and for an truly outstanding gallery of photos from their expeditions around the world see their website

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