Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa

It has been a week since I have done any hiking. The remainder of my time in Igaliku was spent capturing as much footage as possible for the Viking Explorer’s project of two archeologists and one restoration expert that were stabilizing the stone archways of Garðar’s tithe barn. On July 24th, we departed Igaliku with this restoration crew and moved to the Hvalsey church ruin, the largest and best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. We spent four nights camping at this site, and the weather was somewhat uncooperative. On the final evening it cleared, and I prepared for an early start to climb the mountain directly behind our camp called Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa. We were told that the boat was coming ‘in the afternoon’ and were urged to have our bags packed and to be ready to go for 12pm, so I began the hike at 6am.

The first 200 metres of elevation gain was through dense dwarf willow and dwarf birch, but once I reached the upper ridge of the mountain it turned into a wonderful scramble. The rock was solid, with a lot of interesting route finding required to make my way through cliff bands and more exposed terrain. I reached the summit in just over two hours, and after taking some photos, headed back down a different ridge, hoping to make it further without getting stuck in the bush. That was inevitable however. The boat arrived sometime after 5pm.

The Hvalsey church ruin
The Hvalsey church ruin
My ascent route was the line on the right, and my route of descent on the left
My ascent route was the line on the right, and my route of descent on the left
Looking up at Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa from our camp I would have guessed the elevation of the peak to be 500 metres, however it is an extremely foreshortened vantage. You are looking at the summit, which is actually 1059 high!
Looking up at Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa from our camp I would have guessed the elevation of the peak to be 500 metres, however it is an extremely foreshortened vantage. You are looking at the summit, which is actually 1059 high!
After attaining the ridge, I am granted a view of Redekammen, a famous mountain in the region
After attaining the ridge, I am granted a view of Redekammen, a famous mountain in the region
The sun is still melting off the morning mists in the valleys
The sun is still melting off the morning mists in the valleys
An impressive view of Redekammen (left) and the plateau at its base from the summit
An impressive view of Redekammen (left) and the plateau at its base from the summit
Looking back down towards camp we see how steep the terrain actually is
Looking back down towards camp we see how steep the terrain actually is
View of Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa from the descent ridge
View of Qaqortukuluup Qaqqaa from the descent ridge
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