Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Ice Camp Mountaineers - Phase one covering 6th August to 14th August 2008


14th August 2008 - Day 9


Our last day and our second attempt to find the German spy camp. On the previous attempt we tried the right flank, so today we tried the left flank. On coming level with the base of the mountain our progres was thwarted by 40m crevasses. The left flank was therefore found too be impassable, so we retreated to our day 1 ERV. On our return leg we stumbled across the parachuted food drop. Only the tins remained which are being taken away for forensic evidence. We returned on the far left express glacier to our GUP (gearing up point) and skipped merrily along the morraine with a tear in our eyes.


13th August 2008 - Day 8


By Tarquin


13aug08After Fridays failed attempt on peak 1313 we went back for a second attempt. We were better prepared with more technical gear and two ropes. Everyone was up for it but the weather window was today as some poor weather was forecast for the next few days. We made good progress to the start off the ridge having a little more experience of the terrain and as Keith would say we 'shot' up the ridge. In a clean three hours we reached our previous high point and the real climbing started. The plan was as usual to out flank the overhangs ahead by a steep reach out to the right accessed by a convenient small ledge. We made steady progress but time was against us as we pitched climbed our way up with six on a rope. The mist swirled around and the odd rock was launched into the void below our feet. It was loose steep and slighty wet not a great combination for beginners climbers like D_W and Keith. The upward momentum ground to a halt as Tarquin reached a slab that was difficult to protect but eminently do-able. However the way ahead looked as difficult for aother two or three pitches at least. The decision was made to turn around - difficult buit probably the sensible one and without doubt the safe one - Tarquin's wife would have been proud. Some gear was abandoned in the four abseils descent to the easier ground.


13aug08Fortunately the weather had turned to steady rain  and the summit disappeared into cloud as the team crunched down the moraine to a washed out base camp.

To the next time!!!


Weather: am 7/8 pm 8/8 rain visability vairing down to 100m
Activity: Attempt/Reccie West ridge of 1313.
Height Climbed: 1080m
Distance/Time 6Km / 11hr
Location: 1313 South of Camp




12th August 2008 - Day 7


After our epic 1st ascent the day befor the intrepid ice camp team had a rest day in order to be able to fight another day.



Weather: 4/8 changing to 8/8 later
Activity: Rest Day
Height Climbed: 0m
Distance/Time 0Km / 0hr
Location: Ice Camp







10th August 2008


10aug08Today was a nice gentle rest day for the ice camp crew. The weather first thing in the morning looked decidedly dodgey - misty and low visability, so it was decided that it would be best to wait for a met office weather report before proceding with the days activites. With the weather as it was navigation on unknown glacial terrain would be hard and dangerous. After the comms check at 0700 it was agreed that another comms check would occur at 1000 when hopefully a met office report would be avaiable. Until then everyone took advantage of the free time and chilaxed - Kirsty went to collect mussels and seaweed for the evening meal starter, while the others sorted out their washing and read/slept.


With still no met office report avalable at 1000 it was decided that the group would split into two and go on two small exploratory walks where the poor visability wouldnt affect the safety. Tarquin, Kirsty and Ross went along the coast towards the glacier to see if the was an easier way onto the glacier than walking through the tought morain - they found the ground to be very hard walking with lots of loose bolders about and ice in places, so it looks like the morain is the easier option after all. Ibby, Andy and Keith went up the morain to look for Keiths elusive camera that he lost on the first day - no luck there.


The group met up and headed back to camp where they spent the rest of the afternoon fishing, eating nutella and generally relaxing!!!!! The End

by kirsty


Weather: 1/8 sunny
Activity: Reccie new route to glacier
Height Climbed: 100m
Distance/Time 2Km / 5hr
Location: SE of Ice Camp


9th August 2008


Ice Camp woke up at 06:30 hrs, looking forward to an exciting day on the glacier going through glacier rescue techniques.  At 08:00 we made our ascent and at approximately 10:00 we arrived at the base of the glacier.  At this point Tarquin, the team leader taught us how to climb and cross glaciers safely.  The team then started to travel up the seemingly near vertical toe of the glacier. As the going eased we were able to look across to Mt Shipley and spot potential routes to the summit. The travelator approach up the SW ridge was eventually discounted as being comlete madness.  By  11:20 hrs the group declared Naafi break and refused to move until chocolate had been served. After the fruit and nut had been rationed out by the provisions officer (Kirsty) the group practised crevace rescue technique, cumulating in Ross being instructed to throw himself down the crevasse so that we could pull him out again.  Returning to camp by around 1700 we waited for the arrival of the admin officer with Andy's birthday cake, but when that failed to arrive we made do with couscous and rat packs.


Weather: 0/8 sunny changing to 1/8 later
Activity: Walk up to lake and on to glacer to W of pt. 1313 practice cravas rescue
Height Climbed: 650m
Distance/Time 8Km / 9hr
Location: Glacer West of pt 1313



8th August 2008 - Day 3


8aug08The day began off well at around midnight when we thought we were being mortared by the german spy camp after having the ordasity to search for their position.  However, before we called stand two, andy noticed that infact it was part of the glacier breaking off into the sea. This was ongoing throughout the night so the team didnt get as much sleep as would have liked. At 06:30 Ice Camp was alive and carrying out there morning routine, looking forward to the bacon that was promised to us by the admin officer, Cath, however, this was not to be and we had to make do with porridge and muesli.  At 0800 we were on the move and made our way up to the ridge behind the camp, the peak of which was 1330m.  Things were going swimmingly and we donned harnesses and helmets as it began to get a bit scary. Ross was given the vital job of building cairns every 20m up the ridge for our path on the way back.  At precisely 12:30 hrs we hit a wall and the provisions officer, Kirsty made the decision that we should all stop, have a breather and get some well deserved lunch.  8aug08At 13:00 hrs Tarquin wasn't happy and demanded that 2 persons were to follow him up the ridge to witness his ascent to the summit of Mount Shipley. Keith, Kirsty and Ibby were left behind to enjoy the views.  Andy and Ross were left as dead weights on the end of the rope only equipped with a camera to verify Tarquins ascent.  However, the overhanging cliff faces were slightly beyond even Tarquins majestic, capable skills and it was time to call it a day.  When Tarquin and his merry men came back off the ascent to the others he didnt look to happy.  He stated that ' time spent on reconnaisance is seldom wasted apart from today'.  The command decision was made to return the troops safely to camp.  On the return leg, the rope was deployed and everyone had to safely get across a scary drop.  However, things got a little hairy when Kirsty nearly lost it.  Finallly, at approximately 17:30 hrs the team got back to Ice Camp and did some personal administration.  Tomorrow we are looking forward to some glacier rescue techniques.     


Weather: 0/8 sunny
Activity: Attempt/Recce West ridge of 1313.
Height Climbed: 1000m
Distance/Time 6Km / 10hr
Location: 1313 South of Camp



7th August 2008 by Tarquin


7aug08Today was the first day for most on the glacier. We headed up the main glacier 'Taateraat Sermiat' and after an one and half hour approach over some difficult moraine we were on tyhe glacier. It was dry and you could easily see the crevasses and we therefore had to pretend to fall into them to test our systems.The galcier was awe inspiring and we of course saw no one. We headed for the end of a ridge where John H-W had told us there was a WWII German observation post. On reaching the ridge the sensible members of the group rested on the glacier (Ibby, Andy and Ross) while the remaining three had a look around. Eaiser said than done - looking for a concealed OP in an awkward position. One and a half hours a fruitless search led us to think it was a wind up. We then trudged back over the glacier in the afternoon heat and everyone was glad to reach camp after a ten hour day. The weather was warm enough for a strip wash which Keith and Andy had while I wrote this blog and had a semi garbled VHF chat with base camp. Tomorrow more of the same I hope!


Weather: 0/8 sunny
Activity: Walk up moraine and up Taateraat Sermiat glaer to look for German Spy camp. Camp not found.
Height Climbed: 400m
Distance/Time 13Km / 11hr
Location: Taateraat Sermiat


6th August 2008


6aug08After being delayed overnight, Ice camp team consisting of Tarquin, Kirsty, Andy, Ibby, Ross and Keith made their way to their base camp where they will be staying for the next 10 days.  After being dropped off by zodiac across the fjord, the team set up their camp, sorting out toilet facilities, sleeping and cooking areas.  Once all the administration had taken place, the team leader, Tarquin, went through some rope skills with the group to familiarise themselves with glacier crossings.  Tomorrow, the team are crossing a glacier close to their base camp as a training exercise in preparation for the rest of the trip.  Other activities throughout the day included fishing and swimming. For dinner we were treated with some freshly caught mussels courtesy of Kirsty.