Trip Report
BAFFIN- Climbing/Skiing Trip report w/ pics
Wednesday July 8, 2009 4:23pm
Hey Friends,

Well, I am back in Yosemite now, enjoying the great weather again, and hanging out with friends and climbing in temps that are actually above freezing! A few days ago, I returned from my biggest adventure to date- climbing and skiing in the frozen fiords of northeastern Baffin Island. This adventure was so amazing, that I just had to share it with the rest of you, through this photo trip report. I apologize if there is too many pics on this report, and it takes a while to load on your computer, but it was a challenge to pick just 48 pics from the 900 or so that I had taken on the trip.

I caught a flight from my mom’s place in Sacramento, and after a few connections, I was arriving in Clyde River, my jump off point for the fiords. Here is a pic of Clyde River from the air. It is a village of only 950 people, almost all Inuit, so it is not such a large city as you can see.

The airport was just one small building, and the airplane had to land on a frozen runway that looked a bit sketchy if you would have asked me at the time!

My Inuit outfitter, Levi Palituq, met me at the airport and took me, and all my gear into town and dropped us off near the center, where it was cool for me to camp out. Once in town, I had a day and a half to get my stuff ready for the trip out into the fiords. I made a trip to the store for a bit more food, and was a bit surprised when I came to the ‘parking lot’ in front of the store-

All the Inuit use snowmobiles to get around for most of the year, and they were all lined up out front of the store while their owners stocked up on food and supplies. The next day Levi picked me up, we loaded all the gear onto the ‘komatik’ type sled they use, and we were on our way. The temps when I arrived were about thirty below zero, and in the wind it was almost a joke how cold it really was. Here is a pic of me bundled up, on the back of the machine as we make our way across the sea ice towards Sam Ford Fiord in cold conditions-

After about five hours of travel, we arrived into the Sam Ford area. We toured both sides of the fiord, as well as the Walker Arm, as I assessed the area and formulated a plan on where I would like to be dropped off at, and which peaks I would like to try. I decided to put my base camp between the Turret and Polar Sun Spire, at the foot of an immense glacier where it tumbles into the sea ice (but not too close!).

My rough plan for the trip was to ski around and explore the area for all of April, checking out all the walls and ski descents, and then try for some more technical routes and adventures during May once the temps rise a bit. I made many ski forays to the walls and couloirs in my area, and found some nice options for climbing.

Polar Sun Spire north face (1,500 meters)-

Beluga Spire North face (1,400 meters)-

Great Cross Pillar south face (800 meters)-

Sometimes when the snow was windblown and hard, I would put the skis onto my sled and pull them rather than skin along with them on my feet. The sled would pull quite easily, even when loaded down with tons of climbing gear. One day while out skiing on the sea ice, I came across these fox tracks-

Found this seal hole as well-

And you do know what lives in these, right? Ring Seals!

Base camp was quite a nice place to always come back to and rest at. Every time I stuck my head out from the tent, it was almost unbelievable. The views were amazing-

And occasionally I would have visitors! Some times the Inuit hunters and fisherman would pass by my camp and hang out for a coffee, snack, or quick conversation. This day happened to bring along an older couple, which happily supplied me with a 15lb arctic char, similar to a salmon. I was amazed, and psyched at getting fresh meat out there! Many times the Inuit would pass by and give me fish.

After a week or two of being there, a few friends showed up. Before I left Clyde River, I had met these three Scandinavian girls who were skiing almost from one end of the island to the other! (Their website is- I told them to drop by my camp if they were going past my way, and they did-

There were now four of them (the fourth joined up with the team the day after I met the other three), and they came and stayed with me for a few days. So we celebrated their arrival with a big salmon dinner, pizzas, brownies, and cookies!

After a rest day, the five of us decided that we would all climb together to the summit of the areas highest summit- Broad Peak (1,800+ meters). This summit, which is surrounded on three sides by giant walls, has a ski-mountaineering route up its south side. Here is a pic of Inga making her way up the first moraine, packing some heat!

Skiing across a flat section of the glacier-

About 2/3 of the way up, having a tea break on the col-

Just below the summit, looking back at the ‘Baffin Babes’-

The climb went quite well, was pretty easy, and had an awesome ski descent to get back to camp- 1,800 meters of descent to be precise! But my toes paid the price. My ski boots were not really up for -30 temps, and I got moderate frostbite on my two big toes. It was not so bad at first, but the injury would get worse as time went on, and gave me big problems when I started climbing a bit later.

After another rest day, we headed for the Stewart Valley. They would be continuing on their ski route from here, and I decided to go towards the Stewart for a few days as well. We packed up, and made our way towards the valley, passing under Walker Citadel along the way-

We found a nice spot to make camp after skiing about 11 miles that afternoon. I found a good place to put up my lightweight bivy tent next to a boulder to help block the wind-

The following day saw the Babes continue on their way, while I followed a mother polar bear and her cub through the Walker Arm of the fiord. I was concerned they might eat all my food at my base camp as they passed by it, so I trailed them to make sure they passed without incident, which they did. But if they would have started some crap, I had my .303 to make sure everything turned out OK!

A shot to show what a slight breeze will do to your face while out on the fiord! -

Two of my favorite visitors that I had, were these two-

The husband, #55, would drive the machine, while his wife traveled in the small cabin on the sled! She had a bed inside, and even a heater with a small chimney/vent! How cool.

Eventually May came around, the temps rose just a bit, and I decided to start climbing.

When I showed up, I was almost impossible to figure out what I wanted to climb. There were over 20 virgin walls to choose from just in my area alone! During my first few weeks there, I would ski around and scope out all of the biggest unclimbed formations. One of the most beautiful virgin walls caught my attention, and was quite close to camp too. The Beak is this beautiful overhanging wall that had excellent rock on its east face, and there was even a nice set of seams running down from the summit! I loaded up the sled, and took the ropes and rack to the base to make a big wall first ascent of this aid route. But the next day I was having some difficulties with my decision to climb the Beak. Yes, it is a beautiful wall, I told myself, but it was only 650 meters long.

Now one must remember that 650 meters of steep rock would be a gem of a climb almost anywhere else (Half Dome is 650 meters at its tallest), but here in Baffin it doesn’t even catch your eye as you pan around in this fiord of giants! I knew I could do it if I tried, and this was the exact reason I couldn’t go through with it.

From the beginning of the trip, I had told myself that this was not just another climbing trip. I wanted to go further than I ever had before- both in terms of distance and solitude, as well as climbing something so big and difficult that the odds would be stacked so high against me, that success would be nearly impossible, ensuring adventure and uncertainty.

I looked for other walls/routes once I listened to my heart scream in protest to the ‘little’ big wall of the Beak. I also knew that with my big wall background that there wasn’t really much that could shut me down in terms of walls, as long as I brought my poratledge, bolts, and static rope with me. So even though I brought all these items to Baffin, I realized that these tools would not only make any ascent easier, but would also detract from my mission for this trip- To go bigger, faster, and lighter than ever before. No longer was the summit the goal. I wanted to climb a route so big, so ridiculous, with as little gear as possible and as quick as I could, so that I could really test my mind as well as my body. To ‘push the boat out as far as possible’, and not look back. I found two routes for this- the north face of Beluga Spire and the north face of Broad Peak.

Beluga Spire was not only one of the most beautiful formations there; it is most likely one of the last unclimbed 1,300+ walls in the fiord. It’s impressive north face rises directly from the sea for 1,400 meters! It has been base jumped, but never climbed or even attempted! There was also a pretty obvious line too. A system of three stacked pillars rose from the sea ice, and led right to the top. The route was obvious, with cracks from base to summit. I decided to take with me one haul bag and a second dynamic rope to haul it with, but no bolts, poratledge, or static rope. So I racked up for the ascent, and sledded it all to the base early one morning.

Gear for Beluga Spire

I started up the initial mixed pitches, which started out pretty easy, about M4 5.7. Here is a shot looking up the first roped pitch. If you look closely, you can see the lead rope on the pitch-

The climbing was going pretty well, mostly mixed climbing protected by pins hammered on lead. But upon arriving at the foot of the first pillar, I was disappointed to find loose flakes plastered in the crack/O.W. system I wanted to climb. The entire route appeared to be super clean and awesome, except this first 200 meters of the first pillar. But not giving up, I saw a second smaller pillar to the left that I could ascend, and then gain the top of the original pillar from the left. The down side was that I needed to climb a few more pitches of difficult mixed ground to gain the pillar to the left, protection looked slim to none in the vertical gully system.

I climbed two vertical pitches of mixed terrain, climbing under chockstones and tunneling through dangerously loose powder mushrooms to arrive near the top of the mixed climbing. Here is another pic of the mixed climbing, this pitch being more like M6 or so-

I had not expected so much mixed climbing up to this point, and it was affecting me in a negative way. My frostbitten toes (from Broad Peak) had now been mixed climbing for three days now on Beluga Spire, and were not doing well at all. They had swelled up quite drastically, and the blisters were growing and popping all the time. At the top of the mixed stuff, I tried to put on my free shoes and get onto the rock fin. I could kind of squeeze my feet into the free shoes, but the toes were full of pain, and would go numb within minutes of climbing. At this point frustration was setting in. I had traveled so far to get here, climbed over 650 meters of the route, spent three days on the route already, but couldn’t bust free moves in my rock shoes now! Defeat was obviously upon me. But not without one more try at the rock pitch above me! A 20-foot factor 2 back onto the belay because my toes couldn’t feel the holds, sent me on my way back down to the sea ice. Damn!

I ended up trying the route again a week later. This time I left behind the second rope, haul bag, and the third set of cams and pins, but made it only 500 meters up on my second day of climbing, to be turned back by problems with my toes again. After that, I took two weeks to ski and explore, and let my toes have the time to recover that they needed.

That next week, five skiers from the south of France showed up, and stayed with me for a week of skiing and hanging out. Here is a pic of them arriving back to camp after being out skiing for the day-

These guys were pretty cool, and it was really nice to hang out with other humans after being alone for so long. But they were only here for a week, and soon after, I was alone again….

But I was now ready to have some fun again, as my toes were almost healed. So I went out and checked the Turret and Broad peak for possible new routes. Here is a pic of the east face of the Turret-

But before I could start the climbing mission again, I met four base jumpers that were camped on the other side of the fiord from me. These guys were from France and Quebec, and had all the toys with them- Base-jumping rigs, snowmobile, skis, and to my surprise- a kite ski set up! Matthew, one of the guys from Quebec, would let me take out his kite ski wing on my skis whenever I wanted to use it! These guys were awesome! I took the rig out many times, and was racing around the fiords at 40 mph! One day I covered over 25 miles in an hour and a half! But you had to keep your eyes open and your jumping skills on the ready, as the leads in the sea ice would give you a nice hazard as you raced over them! Here are a few pics of the kite ski-

Launching the kite below Polar Sun Spire

Flying the wing below the Turret

Kiting upwind in front of the Cross Pillar

Looking back at base camp, which is just at the lower left corner of Polar Sun Spire

One of the ever increasing leads in the sea ice

So these guys I met were pretty nuts. And for me to say this- it really means something! Here are some pics of them hucking off Polar Sun that I took while picking them up with the snowmobile-

After all of these adventures, time was getting short. I had only one more week on the island, and temps and conditions were better than ever, so obviously it was time to climb again. My toes were OK, as I could now put them into free shoes and use them without too much pain!

I went up to the north face of Broad Peak, to scope out a 1,400 meter aręte/face that dropped down perfectly from the summit. It was such an obvious line- why had it not been climbed yet? But that answer was obvious- I was the only climber in the northern part of the island this year, and I would be surprised if more than two teams a year come here. With so many walls, and so few climbers, there will be an abundance of new routes to be done for many years to come!

On my way back down from scoping out the line, I quickly noticed that I was not alone this day on the glacier. A polar bear had found my tracks leading away from my camp and up onto the glacier, and followed them up to find his next meal. As soon as I came upon this sight, I had my rifle with a bullet in the chamber, and at the ready as I made my way back to camp-

The next day I set out for the wall. It was snowing lightly at this point, but I hoped for it to let off before setting out on the route itself. But luck wasn’t with me. Snow was falling harder than ever, and conditions were getting worse. And to top it off, temps had gone up to near freezing, so the snow pack was going crazy! Wet slab avalanches started to rip on all the slopes, regardless of aspect or angle! I stashed the rack at the base of the route because the avalanche danger was so bad. I wanted to climb regardless, but knew how uncontrollable avalanches can be. Huge cracks were shooting out from my skis on slopes with angles in the 30 to 40 degree area, and I definitely took notice.

I came back two days later, to find that my tracks had been totally wiped out by a huge avalanche. The entire slope had gone, and had wiped out most of my tracks to the base!

Now the coast was clear- the slope had slid, and had nothing left to throw at me. I made my way to the route, which was in perfect condition. True, it was 8pm as I started, but with the sun just spinning around the sky and never going down, it really doesn’t matter at what times you climb!

I had chosen a difficult and beautiful route on the north side of the peak. A few pitches of great mixed climbing led to a razor sharp aręte, which I took up to the only easy section on the route- a easy snow slope for 200 vertical meters, which led to the headwall.

Here is a pic that I took from the top of the snowfield, just at the base of the headwall. The route takes the crack to the right side of the pillar in the pic-

Looking down the snowfield from the headwall-

A shot of the route from the glacier-

The route was amazing! Mostly all free up to the headwall at 5.8 M5 60 degrees, but then the business started on the headwall itself. Seven pitches of aid up to A3, with one desperately hard mandatory free move at maybe 5.10+ (slab move to rounded mantel) led to the summit ice aręte. From the summit, the view was amazing! Here is a shot from the top-

In the end the route turned out to be VI 5.10 A3 60 degrees, 1,450 meters. It took me 39 hours nonstop, camp-to-camp. No bolts used on route, with only two equalized beaks left on route for a diagonal rappel to gain another system. No other gear or garbage was left on the peak, as I descended the south face to get back to my skis. The route of a lifetime! Again!

It seemed to me that I could have stayed in Baffin forever, but eventually it came time to head home. An Inuit hunter named ‘Leslie’ came to pick me up from my little home in the fiords, after 65 days of sea ice living. So we loaded the sled, took one last look at my arctic home, and buzzed away.

By now the cracks, or leads, in the sea ice were over two meters wide, making for very exciting jumps on the snowmobile, or tedious detours to get around them.

Once we got out of the fiords, the spectacular icebergs frozen into the open sea ice greeted us-

In the end, Leslie took me back to his house to let me use his shower (thank god!) and email- had to tell the family I was still alive! Here is a shot of Leslie with one of his recent kills. Like I said before- These Inuit guys are RAD!!!

My trip to the arctic was about 70 days of pure adventure. I had high expectations for the trip, but was blown away by what I actually saw and experienced. Many different people and companies helped me out to make this trip a reality, and I would like to thank them. The American Alpine Club was super generous, awarding me a Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge grant to help me along with this trip. These guys are awesome, and all climbers need to take a moment, and a few dollars, and join this great organization!

Also I would like to thank my sponsors for continuing to believe in me, and for contributing to this trip. Big thanks to Black Diamond, MSR/Thermarest, Asolo, Osprey, Five.Ten, Backpackers Pantry, GU, and the North Face. You guys rock!

This trip was quite expensive for me, about $9k. I paid for this trip, as well as all my other ones, by working as a climbing guide in Patagonia and elsewhere. I work as a legal climbing guide (one of the only ones!) in the Torres del Paine for my main source of income, and if anyone out there might want to take an ascent with me, let me know! I have tons of big trips planned, and this is how I make it happen.

Any one who needs more info for their own trip to the arctic, hit me up at, and I will try to help out. Many people helped me out with info such as Mark Synnott, Brad Barlage, Odd Roar Wiik, and Levi Palituq. Thanks guys!

-Dave Turner

pics hosted on Lambone's Picasa site, here:

  Trip Report Views: 6,135
About the Author
DaveT. is a big wall climber from southeast face portaledge.


Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:29pm PT

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:34pm PT
those who say that the world is round,
aren't looking close enough.

way to celebrate the irregularites dave.

Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:38pm PT
Whoa, great TR! The Walker Citadel looks intense. Polar bears and Baffin Babes, good memories.

Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
Awesome. Did you ski any of the big couloirs??

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:44pm PT
You are making me cry in my office.... bwahhh I want to go!!
the Fet

  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
Best thread ever.

Edit: after the 2nd time reading it. Best Frickin' Thread Ever!

Social climber
London, Paris, WV & CA
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
wow thats some sick TR.

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
Friggin' awesome, Dave!

Baffin' Babes, Bears, Boo ya!

Sounds like a great trip.

-Brian in SLC
ps: a 303 for a polar bear? Really? Better'n nothin'...
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:55pm PT
OMG Dave you just lifted me up miles from a low orbit, thanks for sharing!!!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 8, 2009 - 04:56pm PT
Beautiful Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!!

Thanks for sharing man, great pictures, and quite an adventure!

Trad climber
Sad the forum is gone =(
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:03pm PT
Bad Ass!!! GoDAVE

A long way from where I started
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
The thing that bothered me most when I was up there was the thought of becoming a midnight snack. What good is a rifle if you're asleep?

My solution was 10mg of Valium at bedtime, but I've always wondered why people who camp on the fjords don't get eat eaten while they sleep.

Did that bother you at all? Skiing home through the bear tracks to your little nylon shelter and then having to close your eyes and go to sleep?


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:07pm PT
Unbelievable Trip man! Thanks for the report. You are the epitome of "Gittn' after it."

I sharpened up a couple of your shots to give them some zing.

Thought you might like 'em. Maybe not.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:15pm PT

Can't thank you enough for sharing that trip report with us.

Just awesome!



Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:24pm PT

I'm in awe.....f*#king gorgeous!!!!!

Oh yeah, iwas wondering if you took a rifle, my first thought was this guy's crazy to go solo out there without a rifle.

I'm sure you were glad you had it.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:31pm PT
I love the name Odd Roar Wiik. Just thought I'd mention that. Possibly the coolest name ever. Like something from Beowulf.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:37pm PT
Hey Dave,

Thanks for posting up the report of your awesome trip. I know that 'being there' is always better than a picture, but your pics are so out of this world that 'being there' must have been mind-blowing. Kite skiing, seal holes, base jumpers, polar bears and last, but not least - THE BAFFIN BABES! What a rockin' trip!


Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:37pm PT
This TR is almost a book. It is so wonderful. This edit of your Walker Citadel is even better:


Big Wall climber
33° 45' N 117° 52' W
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:41pm PT
These pics are so friggin sick!

Thanks for sharing with us.



Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:41pm PT
Very, very enjoyable read and photos.

Wow, really good.

Like some sort of surreal frozen dream spun into a reality here in front of my screen...

thank you for sharing your adventures



Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:42pm PT
great trip, wonderful pix.

glad to see aac supporting worthwhile tours.

Trad climber
Denver, CO
  Jul 8, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
Wow Dave. You went big bro!! Very nice TR... probably the best I've ever seen.

Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 06:04pm PT

Holy sh!t dude
goatboy smellz

Gulf Breeze
  Jul 8, 2009 - 06:33pm PT
What a beautiful adventure, thanks for sharing your trip with us!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 8, 2009 - 06:59pm PT
Superb photo trip report, and what an amazing adventure, Dave! Sorry I missed you at the Bridge this spring, but see you in the fall, eh?

Man - it really takes some kinda sick/crazy heart of passion to want to go on so long an adventure by yourself in such cold. I might be from Canada, but I'm like the penguin that hated the cold. I'm sure I'd bail from such cold conditions, so I really admire you, Dave, for sticking it out and finally managing to climb something, despite your frostbitten toes.

Thanks for Matt for posting, it must have taken you hours.

Cheers and nice warm beers out of my haulbag on sunny El Cap,

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 8, 2009 - 07:00pm PT
Dang! now that's some cool adventure.

Mudcat Spire
  Jul 8, 2009 - 07:11pm PT
Two of the Baffin Babes™ are expecting.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 8, 2009 - 07:27pm PT
Baffin rocks!

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 8, 2009 - 07:31pm PT
Thanks for Matt for posting, it must have taken you hours.

bout an hour, no big deal. one of these days Dave will figure this sh#t out for himself but until then, I'm happy to help. He's got better things to do and is probly out climbing while I'm at the office desk.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 8, 2009 - 07:47pm PT
Not to Hijack Dave's killer thread.....but.....More from Baffin!

erratic rock patagonia

Ice climber
Puerto Natales, Chile
  Jul 8, 2009 - 08:08pm PT
That seal just looks like another street dog from Puerto Natales...!

Now stop messing around and come back to work!

You're livin' it man!

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Jul 8, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
Great photo selection. Thank you for sharing an incredible experience.

Now I am going over to Baffin babes website.


Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  Jul 8, 2009 - 09:25pm PT
Excellent trip report! That looks like a lot of fun.

Cheers, Roy
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 8, 2009 - 09:48pm PT
Dave - I forgot to ask. But how the heck did you catch that seal?? Too funny!

Trad climber
Springdale, UT
  Jul 8, 2009 - 10:46pm PT
that was outstanding. super inspirational! I was actually wondering the same about the seal! Wonderful photos too. What sort of camera were you using?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Jul 8, 2009 - 11:05pm PT


Big Wall climber
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:35am PT
Hi Dave, Awesome trip, awesome TR and pictures

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:46am PT
Thank you so much! Absolutely amazing.

I hope you do some slide shows to share this incredible adventure with more people.

As I sit in hot, sweaty, over crowded Japan, it is restorative to know there are people and places like that. The next time I'm in a traffic jam, I'm going to think of your photos and chill out!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:56am PT
Unbelievable! Surreal comes to mind. I can not even fathom spending 2+ months out there even with the Baffin Babes! Good show and way to go, you just inspired many with your determination!


John Moosie

Beautiful California
  Jul 9, 2009 - 02:04am PT
Wow Wow Wow

Beautiful pictures. Thanks so much for sharing this. What an awesome psych.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 9, 2009 - 03:17am PT
Hey Dave, what's in the little green bag next to your rack?


Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2009 - 08:07am PT
Quite possibly the best TR I've ever seen. Thanks for the stoke!

Re: the Baffin Babes, I had this Monty Python-esque image of Lancelot being "rescued" from the castle full of babes in The Holy Grail! hahaha! Dude, your karma had to have been WAY on the positive side on this trip!!!

Soda Springs, CA
  Jul 9, 2009 - 08:42am PT
Great Report, thanks!

We used to joke, sitting in an East side hotsprings, "now would be a good time for the swedish womens nordic ski team to stop by" and for you they did!


right here, right now
  Jul 9, 2009 - 09:21am PT
Absofockin'lutely the coolest TR !!!!
Fantastical architecture up there.

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
  Jul 9, 2009 - 09:44am PT
Holy shite batman!
bump for the real deal!
Wow! you could prolly publish this thing!

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 9, 2009 - 09:46am PT
Just wow.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 9, 2009 - 09:56am PT

Your TR represents the quality of stuff that we wish we could have on Supertopo all the time. If we did, there wouldn't be so much nonsense off topic stuff dominating some...weeks.

This makes my sorry trip report look....well, sorry!!

Too bad so many of us are over-the-hill-job-family-broke!! If we weren't, a few more of us would be putting up the real thing too. (You'll be in the has been club someday, HA!)

Since you have so many photos, may I suggest a part two and a part three? They may not get as much attention as part one, but we'll certainly be looking.

Thanks again for putting up the real thing!

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Jul 9, 2009 - 10:09am PT
This is great stuff. This is why I hang around the taco!

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
  Jul 9, 2009 - 10:23am PT
Absolutely stunning pictures and a mind-blowing TR.

Puts that BURT BRONSON character to shame. :)

  Jul 9, 2009 - 11:03am PT
Killer report! Glad the adventure wasn't killer...nice work, B-Dave. Keep shredding the b/c.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Jul 9, 2009 - 11:07am PT
Great trip report, Dave! Baffin is still my favorite trip. Everyone should get there while there is still sea ice in June!

Trad climber
One drink ahead of my past.
  Jul 9, 2009 - 11:10am PT
Proper! Strong work Dave!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 9, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
OK, another question - what's with all this cold weather climbing? Why can't you go there in July and August, when it's nice and warm, and you get 24 hours of useable daylight? You know, it's WARM?? Pleasant? You don't have to melt freakin' snow just to make a coffee?

Or do the walls disintegrate when the ice holding them together melts? I don't get why you have to go in the winter. Sheesh.


Trad climber
Denver, CO
  Jul 9, 2009 - 12:49pm PT
pete, I think the sea ice that they are camping on in long gone by then.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:00pm PT
I know - that's the IDEA. Is there anything wrong with using a frickin' BOAT? That's how we climb in southern Ontario, you know. Take the boat to the crag. Very civilized. Have a swim along the way. A beer in a cooler, not one you have to thaw. [That's "unthaw" to you Merricans]

Or is there not a single flat area on the shore to camp on in the summer? Sounds unlikely.

A long way from where I started
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
pete, I think the sea ice that they are camping on in long gone by then.

Yup. And kite-skiing is way harder once there's only water to ski on.

More serious, though, is that the period between solid snow/ice cover and open water can last a long time, during which travel becomes impossible. And there's no way to know in advance when breakup will start, and when (or even if) there will be open water. If you plan your trip for July you may never get to your objective.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 9, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
Plus the summer is the wet season I hear.

Social climber
Das Blase
  Jul 9, 2009 - 02:42pm PT
Holy crap, now THATS a trip report! Thats the best 35 mins I've wasted at work by far!

Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2009 - 06:15pm PT
Read it a 3rd time now...gotta bump it cause...


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 9, 2009 - 06:44pm PT
what's the open water season like? like how long?


A long way from where I started
  Jul 9, 2009 - 07:32pm PT
what's the open water season like? like how long?

When I was going up there in the late 70s and early 80s that question had no answer. Well, other than "open water season lasts from whenever you can finally get a boat to where you want to go until you can't. Some years there really was no open water season.

But that was back in the ice age. So to speak. Plenty of reports now indicate that actic ice is going earlier and coming back later than it used to.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 9, 2009 - 07:35pm PT
Well, perhaps that explains it. Here in Ontario in cottage country, if you have a cottage on an island, there is the period during ice-in at fall, or ice-out in spring, where you can neither boat nor ski/walk/sled to your cottage. Perhaps that is a frequent summertime phenomenon? Anyone know?

You need to get a helicopter like those North Face dudes, who went way farther north in July, and had warm weather.

My twin brother's laundry room
  Jul 9, 2009 - 07:37pm PT
now if you could only stay out of trouble in the meadows...let's hang again soon Bobo!

Social climber
Ventura, California
  Jul 9, 2009 - 10:41pm PT
Awesome TR man!

Those photos looked surreal.

What’s the next great adventure Dave?

Trad climber
the big granite bubble
  Jul 9, 2009 - 10:43pm PT
Ummm... Are you allowed to just pick up the seals like that? Don't let the squirrel killer see that picture he'll get jealous!

Glad your back in the park, see ya soon!

Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jul 9, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
A fantastic adventure, and report - thank you!

If you happen to feel like doing a presentation on it, or your sponsors think it a good idea, you should consider doing one at next February's Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (¤tpage=1); It would be welcomed.
smith curry

  Jul 9, 2009 - 11:16pm PT
HELLYEAH!!!! I'm crying here in 95 degree Tennessee!

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Jul 10, 2009 - 12:14am PT
Holy crap Dave!! That was the MOTHER of ALL trip reports. You always manage to outdo yourself.

You have the best adventures and your successes are so well deserved. Congrats in every way and thanks so much for sharing this with us.

That place looks unbelievable. Cold as hell...but unbelievable.

Cheers Bobo. Such good stuff.

  Jul 10, 2009 - 03:20am PT
DaDaDa Dave!!!!!!!!!

So sick!!!

Thank you for sharing the photos and write up.

Muchas gracias muchacho!

See you out there!


Social climber
Jtree, now in Alaska
  Jul 10, 2009 - 07:07am PT
post bump to a great man, and to get rid of Onyx the A-hole.

And a badass TR

Trad climber
Denver, CO
  Jul 10, 2009 - 02:42pm PT
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!


  Jul 10, 2009 - 02:52pm PT
Superb pictures, solitary suffering, Baffin Babes, polar bears, enormous granite monoliths, kites, and climbing. What more could you ask for. Kick Ass™

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Jul 10, 2009 - 07:19pm PT
What a great adventure. Loved the picture of the seal. yeah, where next?
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jul 10, 2009 - 07:23pm PT
Dave.... lotta BS blown around this place, but you sir, *really* are the MAN!

  Jul 10, 2009 - 07:26pm PT
Yeah yeah yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jul 10, 2009 - 07:27pm PT
There was an article in our paper today on diminishing fjord ice on the west coast of Kalaallit Nunaat (aka Greenland), just across Baffin Bay from the east coast of Baffin Island.

Big Wall climber
El Portal, CA
  Jul 10, 2009 - 08:07pm PT
Yeah Dave! Awesome trip report, glad that you came home safe and sound and nice accomplishments. Really good writing. Hope to see you at the bridge sometime soon.


Trad climber
from Kentucky, living in St. Louis
  Jul 11, 2009 - 04:29pm PT
YEAH Dave! Killer and an excellent trip report and photos- so good to hear you are still pushing it...

Hoping to make it to the Valley this fall- hope to see ya around-

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jul 11, 2009 - 04:40pm PT
Nice stuff Dave!!

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Jul 11, 2009 - 05:23pm PT
I had to set aside time to read that, turned out to be well worthwhile. That's adventure climbing, sure enough.

Puts into perspective all those TRs we write about popular cliffs not far from the road.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 12, 2009 - 03:38am PT

Trad climber
  Jul 12, 2009 - 09:28am PT

Fantastic stuff!
Your adventures are incredible. I think if Shacklton had had a crew of folks like you, they would have swum back.

Thanks so much for sharing it with us here at the taco!
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jul 12, 2009 - 09:32am PT
Good stuff!

How's your toes?

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
  Jul 12, 2009 - 11:25am PT
that was absolutely amazing. If I ever get to go there to climb I hope I can come close to what you put in this TR.

Trad climber
  Jul 12, 2009 - 11:53am PT
Absolutely incredible and inspirational!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 12, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
thanks for giving us that utterly fantastic view of your amazing adventure

  Jul 12, 2009 - 08:53pm PT
Superlative, Dave! Wow and thanks for posting!

Big Wall climber
  Jul 13, 2009 - 11:27am PT
sick Bobo. What an amazing adventure. All the best.

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Jul 13, 2009 - 12:01pm PT
BUMP to keep this greatness on the front page.
the Fet

  Jul 13, 2009 - 02:12pm PT

Everyone who appreciates good trip reports and wants to keep climbing topics on the first page of the forum should be commenting on this thread.

Big Wall climber
Mammoth Lakes
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2009 - 02:51pm PT
A lot of people are asking the same obvious question here- Why not go in summer? When the sea ice is gone, and temps are higher?

Well, it isn't that simple of a question to answer. But there are a few key things to remember when planning to go there-

*The weather is more stable and with less precip while the fiord and sea ice is still around.

*Transport over the frozen fiords is much easier, cheaper, and a whole heck of a lot easier to set up- logistically speaking.

*Many of the walls drop directly into the sea, making approaching them kind of complicated with a boat or kayak.

*You can use skis (or snowmobiles) to get around once there.

*BASE jumpers get something flat and featureless to land on.

*Kite skiing and dogsledding are possible.

*If you do get precip, it comes as snow, not rain, so you will stay drier.

OK, though. There are a few obvious downsides as well-
*Cold temps, hard to free climb before end of May.

Well, I guess that that is the only downside! Can't really think of any other big reason why summer is better than spring, I guess it really does just come down to being able to free climb in decent temps.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Jul 13, 2009 - 02:53pm PT
If the universe subjects me to reincarnation repeatedly on this planet, I'll look forward to visiting this place under more cush conditions

Thanks for the images and report!



  Jul 16, 2009 - 09:39am PT


Jordan Ramey

Big Wall climber
Calgary, Alberta
  Jul 18, 2009 - 10:11pm PT
Absolutely RAD!

Big Wall climber
  Jul 22, 2009 - 05:51am PT

Trad climber
boulder, co
  Jul 22, 2009 - 12:05pm PT
WOW! thanks for sharing! adventure at its finest. :)
Jim E

  Jul 22, 2009 - 04:30pm PT
bump for a true adventure. Awesome!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, ca
  Jul 22, 2009 - 05:17pm PT
Thanks for the bump, I had missed this!

Amazing trip, looks like such a surreal big-wall wonderland.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA.
  Jul 30, 2009 - 12:17am PT
Absolutely stunning read and photography! Its great to see that while most of us are stuck in society working, there is someone who is still out there living the dream! Dave, you are a complete inspiration and its a joy to read of your adventures.


Mountain climber
Portland, OR
  Jul 30, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
Outstanding! I've never been much of a soloist myself, but now I know how they overcome the days of uninterrupted solitude. With BAFFIN BABES!

A seriously great tale, awesome photos, and a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing!

Trad climber
Puerto Natales
  Jul 30, 2009 - 08:09pm PT
Hey Dave, found this at the Japanese Camp - I think it might be yours:

Stop by Baguales next time you're in town, I'll buy you a beer!


Trad climber
Ashland, Oregon
  Jul 31, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
Sick TR dave, you are the man and i am very jealous. Awesome that your psych never dies and you are always getting after it! Hope to see ya soon,
peace blake

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Aug 2, 2009 - 04:44pm PT
wow - loved the trip report - keep it up, and thank you!
the Fet

  Aug 7, 2009 - 01:09pm PT

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:42am PT
Bump for an all time great TR... beyond classification!


Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:59am PT
Keeper of Australia Mt

Trad climber
Whitehorse, Yukon , Canada
  Aug 15, 2009 - 05:33pm PT
Good on ya! Keep it going! This is what life is all about. Just got back from Iqaluit and a short business meeting and the good stuff was on my mind to be sure. There is lots of small practice stuff - boulders and some single pitch slabs around the town - out in the Silvia Grinnell park - it was an awesome day and it reminded me of a good time on North Baffin in 1975 (long before I got into climbing). Apparently a couple of routes have been put in and kids have been seen heading out with crash pads and shoes. In awhile we could have Inuk youth putting up new routes on the big walls!

For the bears at night - carve up a piece of char or seal and embed as much Ex-Slax as you can in it. Stick it out where it is obvious. You will sleep well as if it gets consumed, the bear will be moving too fast with butt to the ground to ever consider gnawing on yer bones. Another option is the Father Mary approach from Nunguvik on Navy Board Inlet - a turnpike area for bears. He set up a trip wire all around his tent with it attached to a push button alarm clark. The bear trips the wire and then the clock and you know who is coming for dinner!
Would deal with all of them except those on tippy-toes!

Back up would be an RCMP taser for a close encounter of a gastronomical kind should the other two options be overrated. The Mounties have put have a few dudes into the land of angels recently so I doubt the bears would stand a chance of munching you up. Bear meat is edible so there is a value added component to the result - just don't don't eat the liver as you definitely would join the angels at Camp 5.

Thanks for the great report.

  Aug 15, 2009 - 08:42pm PT
Awesome TR Dave, I hope to get out there one of these days, maybe after I get back to Kyrgyzstan. Thanks for some added big trip psyche!

Trad climber
Golden, Co
  Aug 24, 2011 - 04:58pm PT
What a TR should be BUMP

  Nov 11, 2011 - 01:27pm PT
yeah... nice one...
i wonder if jacks would be psyched about the seals?

Trad climber
Golden, Co
  Apr 5, 2012 - 04:22pm PT

Big Wall climber
The Eastside.... UUUUHHHHHHH!
  Apr 5, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
BAD-ASS right there! Bobo bump!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Apr 6, 2012 - 03:24pm PT
im struggling with the idea that reading that tr just happened to me- epic

Mountain climber
Seattle WA
  Apr 6, 2012 - 03:40pm PT
Keeping it real on Baffin Island....

Lots of cool sh#t up there I want to climb...

Don't have the cash though....

303 will kill a polar but likely will not stop one from eating you. Go with a 45-70 lever gun loaded up with some high end 350+ grain bullets

  Jan 23, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
a bump for badass and inspiring!

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jan 23, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
Wow, that's a serious adventure! So many cool new experiences, sights, interactions with other people living a life full of possibilities. Great stuff!
John M

  Sep 11, 2018 - 10:15am PT
bump.. ( a proper bump )

Trad climber
Poway, CA
  Sep 11, 2018 - 10:18am PT
Worthy of a bump for many reasons, one being: who the hell just happens to bump into the baffin babes in the middle of nowhere?

Mountain climber
  Sep 11, 2018 - 02:13pm PT
^ No Verizon or Sprint in Canada - SSi Micro for Clyde River.

No car rental, just Midnight Taxi -