MY HEAD slams into the roof of the small motorboat as we ride eastwards into the swell. Karta, my taciturn boat driver, smiles back from behind his dark shades and walrus-like moustache. I look past him to the sculpted forms of half-a-dozen icebergs trailing in our wake. Rugged, treeless slopes bound the fjord, vanishing quickly into a lid of thick cloud and swirling mist. The dark water below appears cold and menacing.
“Sirmiq!” (glacier) shouts a suddenly animated Karta above the deafening whirr of the boat’s motor. He points to a gleaming cream-white mass seeming to hover at a great distance at the head of the fjord. For a fleeting few seconds I also make out a far-off fang of rock soaring and skewering the canopy of cloud like some fantasy pinnacle. It’s got to be a figment of my imagination, I think. My brain struggles to equate the contours and features from weeks of map-gazing with the topography emerging in front of me.
Thrusting out of the fjord, it’s as if the grand geological processes shaping this place anticipated the fantasies of climbers arriving millions of years later.
I can sense too the tingle of excitement that every wilderness traveller recognises. When the years of dreaming, months of planning, and days of travel to get here are distilled down to this one moment. The moment of arrival. But the anticipation is also laced with a feeling of inevitable anxiety. Was it a good idea to come here alone?
Dust off that globe you’ve had since you were a kid and point your finger at the southernmost tip of Greenland. Here you will find the Tasermiut fjord area with not only some of the most spectacular mountains on the entire island, but also some of the finest granite walls anywhere in the world, their peers found only in Patagonia, the Karakorum, and Yosemite. Thrusting out of the fjord, it’s as if the grand geological processes shaping this place anticipated the fantasies of climbers arriving millions of years later. Down below, meanwhile, small pods of kayakers have also increasingly begun to be drawn to the area.
It’s far from crowded though. Head deep into the valleys and up countless unnamed peaks, and you will almost certainly find yourself alone – for many weeks if you can spare the time. With no paths, bridges, or other infrastructure, it is truly wild with suitably outsized terrain to match.
Read the rest in the May/June 2018 issue of Wild Magazine