A century or more ago, Baffin Island was a magnet for whalers in search of bowhead. Today – with bowhead whales protected in the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area off the northeast coast – the 305,000 km-square island draws climbers and extreme skiers.
Paul McSorley, Tony Richardson, Joshua Lavigne and Crosby Johnston travelled to Baffin last year to attempt a first ascent of the north face of the remote Beluga Spire in the Walker Arm of the Sam Ford Fjord. Prior to leaving, their local Clyde River guide suggested they abort the mission – he feared they were cutting it too close to the end of the brief summer season. The weather could get really ugly in a hurry, and maroon the climbers.
Boating from Clyde River to the Walker Arm turned into an exhausting 12-hour struggle through sea ice. Finally the expedition landed at the toe of the Broad Peak glacier and bade farewell to their guide team…
Check Paul McSorley’s account of the trip on the Arc’teryx Bird blog.