Unplugged Wilderness Trek Day 11 – East Greenland

Day 11 started early and we were happily greeted with brilliant blue skies again.  

View from Tasiilaq Mountain Hut - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

The early start was because we had asked Maxime the evening before if we could add in the climb to the summit behind the hut (which we were meant to do yesterday) before heading back to the campsite.   He’d agreed, but it meant getting up early so we could have breakfast, clean and arrange the hut and get everything sorted to leave, get up and down the mountain and then all the way back to the campsite, while still making it in time to catch the boats that were coming to collect us and take us back to Kulusuk.  Done!

Although the sky was perfectly clear, the Tasilap Kua Valley below us was blanketed in cloud – very reminiscent of what I saw so many times while observing at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile.  

Tasilap Kua Valley blanketed in cloud - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

This scenario – where I’m up on a mountain looking down into a sea of clouds always reminds me of my time at the Observatories in Chile, and I wrote a rare personal post about this last year.

The climb up to the summit starts off pretty steep but is not too difficult.  And, if you turn around, there are amazing views back down over the Tasiilaq Mountain Hut and its surroundings.  It really is in the most incredible location!

Tasiilaq Mountain Hut and surroundings from above - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

You can see the Tasiilaq Mountain Hut on the small rise at bottom left of the image

We climbed as a group up until a certain point, but then Maxime split us into 2 smaller parties to make the final climb to the top.  I waited in the second group soaking up the sunshine until he returned to collect us.

waiting for the final push to the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Filip, Dusan and Mathilde soaking up the sun waiting for our turn to head to the summit

As we began to climb, we understood his caution – both in splitting us into two groups now, and also in recommending we didn’t climb yesterday in the rain.  It became an almost vertical scramble, where it was very easy to dislodge rocks and stones onto others coming up from below.  Fewer people in the group, less likelihood this would happen, or that someone would get injured if it did.

To the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

The summit we climbed to is the middle peak

So glad we got up early to do this though, because the views from the top were absolutely spectacular!  And thanks to the cloud for clearing off! 😉

View from the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Very wide parorama trying to encapsulate the entire vista. It was incredible!

View from the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

View to the West of the summit and ridge

View from the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

View to the East of the summit and ridge

We spent quite a bit of time up the top with Maxime pointing out some of the different features of the area, as well as the route we’d taken over the past 11 days.

Maxime showing us peaks - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Oh, and we finally took the group photo!

Group Photo - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Group Photo (clockwise from me at bottom right): me, Rebecca, Olivier, Mathilde, Maxime, Anna, Filip, Dusan, Damien, Stephane, Andrew, Francesco, Laurent

Unfortunately, we had to leave eventually and pick our way back down the mountain.  Well, except for the last part where Filip started a snowball fight with Mathilde, Maxime and I, and we ended up running down the majority of the final snowfield.

From the summit Day 10/11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

The view of the glacier from above was amazing

Glacier from above - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

and I love realising how small I am in front of such grandeur.

Day 10/11 Grandeur - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Those who have read through my other posts about this Unplugged Wilderness Trek, or have read about my trek in Huayhuash, Peru last year (or any of my hiking posts really, where I’m hiking with others), will have noticed that many of the photos include my fellow hikers.  I didn’t always do this.  In fact, I used to wait for people to get out of the way before I would take a photo.  One of the reasons I changed in the past few years is for precisely this reason – people give a sense of scale to where I am – and in the mountains, scale is fundamental to the awe-inspiring experience.

We had a quick lunch at the Tasiilaq Mountain Hut,  then headed back down the vertical cliff

Down from the hut Day 11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

back down the moraine

Down from the hut Day 11 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

and back along the river to where we had left our gear at the campsite.  

Tasilap Kua Valley - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

This last part seemed to take forever, and Filip and I (who were out in front of Maxime and the rest of the group) were really starting to wonder whether we had somehow missed spotting the tent!  But no – it was just a lot further than we expected.

As we were approaching camp, we saw 2 speedboats leave the campsite and head back up the fjord … we were running a little late … oops!  Fortunately they did come back for us and we made the journey back to Kulusuk and the Kulusuk Hostel.

Boat to Kulusuk - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Filip enjoying the sun on the way up the Tasiilaq Fjord back to Kulusuk. Photo: Mathilde Bousson

There, we each took turns at our first hot shower for 12 days.  I had just finished lathering up my hair with the most shampoo I think I’ve ever used in my life, when suddenly – the water cut out!  Completely!  Fortunately I had already washed the rest of myself, so I got dressed in clean clothes (heaven – you really appreciate the basic luxuries after 12 days), tied my towel around my incredibly soapy head, and went to find out what was going on.  Jóhanna ended up coming and rescuing me about half-hour later and I finally washed the soap out of my hair.

Massive meal of fish for our last dinner together – really not wanting the whole thing to end 🙁

 

Trekking Time:  approximately 10 hours

Read more:  links to my other blog posts about the 12-day Unplugged Wilderness Trek with Greenland Adventures by Icelandic Mountain Guides:

  • Day 1 – Tasiilaq to Kulusuk and along the Sermiligaaq Fjord 
  • Day 2 – Hike to the Karale Glacier
  • Day 3 – Hike to the lookout over Sermiligaaq Fjord and Karale Fjord
  • Day 4 – Karale Fjord camp to Beach camp
  • Day 5 – Beach camp to Bluie East Two
  • Day 6 – Bluie East Two along the Ikateq strait to the Tunu Fjord
  • Day 7 – Tunup Kua Valley to Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 8 – Along the Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 9 – Tasiilaq Fjord to Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 10 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 11 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut to Tasiilaq Fjord to Kulusuk
  • Day 12 – Kulusuk to Reykjavik
  • Video Slideshow – of some of my favourite images
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