EOCA Ambassador conquers most difficult route in the Arctic

Release date: 11 September 2012

Freshly back from fulfilling his dream of writing a new page in the history books by discovering new walls and routes in a place of ‘incomparable beauty’, EOCA Ambassador Hansjörg Auger is celebrating after his team not only survived ‘one of the wildest places on earth’, but also put up four new free climbing routes. One of them, ‘The Door’, graded 8b by expeditions members has been officially recognised as the most difficult freeclimb in the Arctic.
The beauty of Baffin Island - photo The North Face®/Ricky Felderer
The beauty of Baffin Island - photo The North Face®/Ricky Felderer

One of the most inhospitable places on earth, Perfection Valley, on Baffin Island’s east coast has, until now, only been visited by scientists. The area is not yet a popular area for free climbing due to, in places, poor rock quality with few cracks or features to climb, a relatively short weather window to allow not only good climbing, but the possibility of siting a base camp on the sea ice before it melts for the summer, and finally the many rivulets of water coming down the the most direct lines on the faces from the towers and peaks above, which are often capped with ice. The final ten days of the expedition the team had to ration their food, eating mainly just soup as they were unsure how much longer they had in the area.

Having waited out atrocious weather for 22 days, Hansjörg and his team (which included Spain’s most famous climbing brothers: Eneko and Iker Pou) put up a sixteen pitch route called ‘The Door’ on ‘Belly Tower’, with Hansjörg and Iker freeing the hardest pitch, graded 8b. Five days later, the expedition opened new routes in the ‘White Hall’ - Hotel Gina 6b+/320m and Hotel Monica 6b+/320m, sure that they were the first human beings ever to set foot on the peak. The final icing on the cake was described by the team as ‘one of the most beautiful routes we have ever opened’. Visibility was good as they chose their line and the 6b+/420m route was christened ‘Levi is coming’ in honour of their Inuit guide who was coming to collect them a few days later!

The team on top! Photo The North Face®/ Matteo Mocellin
The team on top! Photo The North Face®/ Matteo Mocellin

Commenting on his experiences, Hansjörg said, “Having the opportunity to see beautiful, pristine areas of wilderness makes you appreciate the outstanding natural environment we have around us and how we need to do everything in our power to help protect it. Places like Baffin Island are so unique in their remoteness and landscape. We have to look after them so that future generations can also benefit. Working with EOCA, I am really proud to be able to show people the beauty of untouched nature, which will hopefully give them the push they need to do something about it. "

More information on Hansjörg HERE.

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"It was a great experience to receive the funding with the support of the people through an exciting voting contest. With the funding we managed to ensure preservation of another 10,000 hectares of wilderness in Küre Mountains National Park in Turkey providing safe haven for endangered species such as wolves and bears. We contributed to saving the last remaining priceless untouched natural areas in Europe so that future generations can also enjoy them."
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