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The Horn of Upernivik - a climber's perspective

21/07/2013

Tom Codrington, leader of the climbing team, writes as Cosmic Dancer approaches her objective:

"As I write this we're a mere 20 miles from the Horn of Upernivik Island, a face which has taken on almost mythical proportions in our imaginations while we've been travelling over 4000 miles to get there. We've just rounded a corner and spotted the entrance to the fjord that will lead us there; ETA is four hours. The psyche onboard is tangible: none of us have had much sleep in the last 24 hours. I've been non-stop faffing to get everything ready, contingency plans, comms, rendez-vous arrangements, beta, cameras, packing... All four of us climbers are keying ourselves up and occasionally stopping to cackle manically at the looming walls, mountains and glaciers that are appearing out of the clag. What if it's too hard for us? What if it's covered in ice? What if it's not actually there at all?

The British weather has come to Greenland, drizzle and thick fog are the order of the day. In a way it's a good thing because it gives us an excuse to establish a base camp and sleep properly while it clears up. For some it'll be the first proper bit of sleep in days. With only half as many useable bunks onboard as there are people, we've been doing 4h on, 4h off, a very disorienting routine in 24h daylight. We're due to arrive at the Horn at 2am, but times of day don't seem to mean much any more. The landscape conjures up the heavy brass and drum themes of the Lord of the Rings films. We're pretty sure there aren't goblins in the mountains, but that's about as much as we're prepared to commit to. We're not even totally sure about that. Only about 10 people have actually set foot on this 1200m face and none has got to the top. This is now."

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