Last night after dinner Mike told us that we are going to be climbing to the summit of a nearby mountain. We think the summit has never been reached before which, if we summit we can name the peak. This is our mission for the day. The plan was to wake up at two am and start our hike at 3am, however because everyone overslept we only started our hike at 4 am. When we climbed out of the hatch of the boat we were stunned by the immense cold and rain – certainly not the ideal conditions to try and hike to a peak with no real path! This was exploring at its best, hiking into the unknown! We had short but very cold ride to the shore with the inflatable rubber duck and when everyone was ashore we started hiking and hiking. After only a couple of hours of sleep from the previous night it was quit a daunting task!
After walking for a while, the nearby peak still seemed so far away. That ís one thing of this unique area, everything looks so close. You are just not used to the massive size of everything here that seems close by! We walked for a couple of hours in the moraine before reaching the glacier that leads to almost the top. This involved some concentration as we had to scramble over endless amounts of boulders that were very slippery from the rain!
We took a break before starting our climb up the glacier. We where in for a real treat as there were blueberries around us. We could just sit on the steep slope and gather the berries. But it was short lived as we had to push to reach the summit and walk back to the boat before the end of the day. The glacier was quite challenging as there was not enough crampons, but team work solved the problem as we attached each other with a rope to help those that didn't have them.
There was a great description of how the glaciers look. It looks kind of like a huge tongue reaching down the mountain to lick the water from the lake that is created by the melting water. It was unbelievable to see 5 lakes so close by each other and each one was at a different ground level. This is caused by the moraines. Even Mike was amazed by this! But there was no time to ponder too long at the beautiful scenery as we had to push on! Navigating through a big crevasse and a very, very steep glacier was the order of the day – but then a big surprise for me was that it started snowing! Wow! It was my first experience of snow in my life! And then finally after many hours we reached the summit!!! Relief and joy was the emotions that everyone experienced, but also in the back of our heads we knew we had to walk all the way back on the same path to the boat.
This part of the hike actually flew by fast. I think we where so tired we did not register much and the pain from blister or discomfort from walking more than 10hours straight! The next task was negotiating those pesky boulders that separated us from the boat which means FOOD and SLEEP!! After 14 hours we finally reached the beach where the rubber duck could come and fetch us. Another highlight was that I had the chance to steer the rubber duck to the boat, causing some of the other YEPs to stress a bit! We were all so relieved to finally be able to put on dry warm clothes and start to pamper our broken bodies. All in all it was a great day and we are just waiting for a nice hot meal before we go to sleep! Almost feels like heaven for us now!
Tomorrow we are going to sail back to Clyde River and then continue our magnificent expedition with Mike!! The peak we simmitted is situated close to Gibsen Fjord and just southeast of the refuge harbor.