Page 22 - 2016 AMA Autumn
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                                around base camp on was littered with vast boulders offering several fantastic bouldering problems. This significantly helped individual’s develop their technical ability. The rock climbers wasted no time in dominating the local areas and climbing new routes. The rock condition varied greatly from poor, chossy, flaky and dangerous to superb, clean and solid. The shout “BELOW!!” followed by a loud crack and thud became all too familiar to those sat in base camp. There was also often a lack of gear placements, ironically especially on the rock that was most solid. The instructors were further challenged by the differing abilities of their novice partners. As solid belay positions were often few and far between and each climber had to remain adaptable and fast thinking to ensure that the teams remained safe. In the end, bouldering routes aside, the team established over 37 rock climbing routes, graded between moderate and HVS.
Much like the rock climbers, the key hazard to the Alpinists was weak and loose rock, though the potential bear threat (which never materialised) meant that the teams deployed in all cases with rifles and flares. The Alpine teams explored all the valleys near base camp and stretched as far as 25km inland, on the higher glaciers. Trial and error established the best routes to a number of advanced camp locations, some of which were bivouacs. Although the principal glaciers were very dry, they were also very large and in most places ribbed, cut, dented and pock-marked by the action of freeze-thaw and flow. Crossing any of the glaciers was mentally and physically draining and perhaps best described by a leader as trying to walk across an impact area. That said, the views, again, were just astonishing and clusters of unexplored alpine style peaks stretched away north, west and south as far as you could
see. The alpine teams spent between 4-6 days at a time at advanced camps climbing objectives in the local area before returning to base camp for more food and supplies. A mixture of skills where needed with some teams pitching rock ridge routes and others being treated to steady snow plods to the summits. As there were no guide books, the selection of routes was an interesting challenge. Instructors had to be ever ready to change plans on the march, measuring the ability of the group and the changing conditions of the rock. There was no room for summit fever and competitive- ness, the teams had to be constantly aware of where the other ropes were on the mountain
in order to provide assistance if required. Although some Alpine groups found cairns on a handful of peaks, especially to the south of the AO, most of the peaks appear to be first ascents. In all, the Alpine teams reckon on having ascended twenty unclimbed peaks, and set 37 routes on them (coincidentally the same as the number of rock climbs).
In summary, East Greenland exceeded the expectations of the whole team and cannot be recommended more highly to soldiers seeking to undertake the adventure of exploratory mountaineering in spectacular surroundings.

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