Arctic Mountains

G4 Expedition, Watkins Mountains, East Greenland

May 16 2004 - Breaking snow

Torstein had a very important service call 02:00AM. I figured it was important, because it was freezing cold outside. When Petter "signaled the horn" 07:00AM, it was -20 deg. C. outside. But it was a gorgeous day. After a round on what to do this morning, we settled on breaking snow towards Dome and Cone.

We all agreed that it was fair to give the Tromsø team a chance to reach Gunnbjørn Fjeld, and be the first ones to ski down from the very summit. After all, they had been breaking snow the day before. So close, but this was a situation we all were comfortable with. With more luck, the Tromsø team would have done this many days ago. As a favour of the tracks to Gunnbjørn Fjeld, the Tromsø team could now enjoy tracks high up on the Cone/Dome glacier.

We headed towards the glacier running up between Cone and Dome. We broke snow up to 2700m before we called it a day. We were making three tracks, for the sledges. It was a long way up the glacier, more than 10Km one way from BC. It seemed to be wise to put an advanced base camp (ABC) high on the glacier in order to collect Cone and Dome.

I got a headache closing in on 2700m. Ain't that typical. I had blisters on both feet. The new Scarpa T4 boots seemed hard to adapt to. Right there and then, skiing wasn't fun. I missed my well worn hiking boots.

Back at the camp, the "professionals" pulled up the bivouac boots, snowshoes and chairs that popped out of nowhere (it took me a second to realize it was the inflatable mattresses that were bent and formed into chairs). I couldn't understand how they could stay within the weight limit with all this extra weight (perhaps they didn't). Two had even brought along hiking boots for climbing. I felt like an amateur on the very first camp, and decided to extend the toolbag once back in Norway.

We spoke to the Tromsø team in the evening. They had 7 (of 8) people on the summit. We learned that they had NOT skied down from the summit. It was ours for the taking. Almost unbeliveable. We decided to make an early start the next morning, and have a sensational day up there.

The sleeping bag was renamed to "arctic condom". In order to have a functional day after, "everything" had to be inside the sleeping bag. "Everything" included inner boots, soles, clothes, water, sunscreen, ski vax, batteries, camera, skins, etc. Being a freshman in this kind of temperature, Torstein was an excellent tutor. The term "F... annoying objects" came to life when I woke up with the ski vax inside my underwear one of the following nights.

1. Passing Gunnbjorn Fjeld (219KB) 2. Close-up of Gunnbjorn Fjeld (196KB) 3. The Shiprocks Graveyard (308KB) 4. Closing in on the Cone/Dome glacier (155KB) 5. Mountains east of Gunnbjorn Fjeld (548KB) 6. View towards the Cone/Dome glacier (199KB) 7. Cone comes into view (285KB) 8. The long journey up the glacier (275KB) 9. Per Ove (85KB) 10. Cone and the characteristic frontpeak (161KB)

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