Day scramble to Polhem Fjeld

Day scramble to Polhem Fjeld

Yesterday Auroras crew had a day off. As Siggi the captain cannot rest on his laurels, he suggested a day hike to Qimmertaajaliip Qaqqartivaa / Polhem Fjeld, a prominent mountain northeast of Tasiilaq. It is the most recognisable peak around here with a steep top section reaching 1003 meters. The East Greenland hiking guide rates the route as very difficult with climbing, but this was before some ropes and ladders were installed to the route. (You’ll need to be naturally cautious to trust any ropes or equipment that are exposed to elements for unknown periods of time.)

Siggi, Teresa and I headed over to Nordfjord early in the morning with locally living mountain guide, who was going to walk up anyway during this weekend. We joined forces, and so we had a great day out with a personal guide. As experienced mountaineer, Siggi didn’t need a guide though: he was running ahead like a mountain goat, while Teresa and I took advantage of local knowledge.

Great but strenuous

Overall the hike was great but strenuous. A return trip took us 7 hours with few short snack breaks, although Siggi by himself would have done it in 6 hours or less. We hiked with the usual polar bear caution gear as everywhere in East Greenland – a rifle and air horn were carried uphill until the climbing began.

The hike started with an uphill push through boulder fields, loose rock sections and few crossings of snow patches. The main challenge of the route was quickly steepening slope, and my legs and lungs were alarmed by the hard work they suddenly had to endure for hours on end. The fun started at around 800 metres: really great scrambling / climbing sections and a ridge walk crowned the effort towards the top – just don’t look to the abyss on your left!

The summit offered a magnificent view around the area. You could see Tasiilaq, Kulusuk island and airport, Angmagssalik Fjord and even Mount Forel (3360m), the pyramid-shaped second highest peak of East Greenland in horizon. The fog out at sea stretched it’s fingers through fjord entrances, but the sun was shining inside the fjords.

I can warmly recommend the hike to Polhem Fjeld for those with good mountain and navigation skills – the route finding can be tricky without local knowledge.

About Riikka

Riikka Puustinen is a freelance sailor with digital media education and long international career in UX design and project management. Fond of sun, snow, sled dogs, icebergs, mountains and creative thinking. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in the UK.