/ NEW ARTICLE: Belgians Go Big on Baffin

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UKC Articles - on 26 Sep 2009
[Nico going for it on the heady slab of pitch 1. The granite is incredibly featured allowing us to face climb a lot ., 2 kb]Belgian climber Nicolas Favresse reports on his recent successful trip to Baffin Island:

Sean Villanueva, Stephane Hanssens, Olivier Favresse and I just came back from a expedition in Baffin Island. We had an awesome trip! Free Climbing in Baffin is amazing and the potential for free climbing and first ascents seems endless. We climbed 5 routes, 3 of them new and in one of them we spent 11 days.

Our main target was to climb around Mt Asgard, which is one of the craziest looking mountains I have ever seen...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2119

French Erick - on 26 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:
Yet another amazing effort from those boys. To me they are the spearhead of climbing at the moment, not anyone on the grit or pebble wrestling... but then it's just my opinion and it counts for nowt in the scales of things=)
In reply to French Erick: I'm with you Erick, this is super inspirational stuff!

You go guys!

Jack
Aly - on 26 Sep 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Agreed. Absolutely awesome, what a place!
Rich Kirby - on 26 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Looks gobsmacking!

Excellent article and shots.
DWilliamson - on 26 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Incredible. One of those stories that makes me keep training in the hope that I might one day be able to do something like it!
220bpm on 27 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Jaw dropping, massively well done to the team!
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

It is not completely clear how this related to the Leo Houlding & Co 'Mt Asgard Project'. It sounds as if the Belgians were on the mountain shortly after Leo's team had left. Is that correct - i.e. that the two teams did not overlap?
Tom_Harding - on 28 Sep 2009
Interesting they succeeded in free climbing it while Leo failed....
In reply to Tom_Harding: didn't think it'd be long before somebody pipped up with some uninformed opinion... There's no doubt about it that the Belgians are one of the strongest big walling teams going and what they did on Baffin was amazing. But making such a crass observation deserves a little treatment. The Belgians were there in July and had some of the best weather in years 'too hot to climb in the sun, no clouds for three weeks', we past them on the way out in August and as they left the weather turned (it was uncanny). We got hammered by the weather 'too cold to get out the sleeping bags, subzero the whole time we were on the wall'... plus a zillion other factors like we were on a north face they were on the SW face, we were making a film etc, so we had very different experiences and regardless its not a competition. Might be an idea to get a few facts on board before posting these sweeping statements. What Leo and Stanley achieved on that north face was nothing short of extraordinary.
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Sep 2009
In reply to Alastair Lee:

Thanks for explaining this, because it was a bit of a riddle how the Belgians had had such good weather. The misleading thing about the Belgian/UKC article is that it implies that they've 'just come back' from Baffin ... in September.
TimS on 28 Sep 2009 - 92.28.215.211 whois?
In reply to Alastair Lee: Hi Al

thanks for clearing up some of the facts, I had assumed (as Gordon did) due to the timing of the press releases that the Belgians had actually been there after your trip.

Can you explain to someone like me with no big wall experience why you pushed on with a route on the North face despite the conditions, rather than choosing a face which may have afforded more sun and better conditions?

Look forward to the footage

Tim
Mr. K - on 28 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: Really inspiring stuff. Fantastic photography too.
In reply to TimS: Sure - for a couple of reasons, this is mountaineering, nothing is that clear cut, objective dangers are a big concern. Firstly the route the Belgiums freed (mostly) 'The Bavarian Route' was our original choice too, its the obvious line to try and free. But the Belgians having already done it (which we suspected they would) before we arrived kinda took the edge of off that objective, but more importantly because of the warm conditions the approach to the cliff (which is arduous at the best of times), was an absolute death trap with falling rocks (and we are talking about tonnes of rock coming down not small peppering) by the time we arrived (the Belgiums walked up a nice snowy gully). We spent nearly 3 weeks in and out of bad weather at base camp trying to figure out if there was a relatively safe approach to any of the cliffs, I was personally thinking (as was everybody else) that it was just too dangerous to even attempt to get on the wall... in the end the safest option was ironically one of the hardest routes on the tower. The day/night we spent hauling to the base of the route there was a massive rock fall in the approach to the SW face - that was all of us being killed had Leo not made the very sound decision to go for the north face.

We did run a live blogg at the time here - http://www.theasgardproject.com/news/
TimS on 28 Sep 2009 - 78.144.116.228 whois?
In reply to Alastair Lee: Thanks Al, I'll have a read.
fishy1 - on 29 Sep 2009
In reply to Alastair Lee: He pipped up with a fact.

You, on the other hand, filled your post with opinions, example, "some of the best weather in years"

x
stroppygob - on 01 Oct 2009
Have to ask, excuse my ignorance, but how come there's bolts on these "freeclimbing" routes?
garethtodd - on 01 Oct 2009
In reply to stroppygob:
> Have to ask, excuse my ignorance, but how come there's bolts on these "freeclimbing" routes?

not read the article, but i think its pretty commen to have bolts for belay points on big wall climbs
Scarab - on 01 Oct 2009
In reply to stroppygob:

I guess that by freeclimbing they just mean not aiding it, adding bolts on lead for example would still not be considered as aid???
220bpm on 11 Oct 2009
In reply to Alastair Lee:
> (In reply to Tom_Harding) didn't think it'd be long before somebody pipped up with some uninformed opinion... There's no doubt about it that the Belgians are one of the strongest big walling teams going and what they did on Baffin was amazing. But making such a crass observation deserves a little treatment. The Belgians were there in July and had some of the best weather in years 'too hot to climb in the sun, no clouds for three weeks', we past them on the way out in August and as they left the weather turned (it was uncanny). We got hammered by the weather 'too cold to get out the sleeping bags, subzero the whole time we were on the wall'... plus a zillion other factors like we were on a north face they were on the SW face, we were making a film etc, so we had very different experiences and regardless its not a competition. Might be an idea to get a few facts on board before posting these sweeping statements. What Leo and Stanley achieved on that north face was nothing short of extraordinary.

Sorry man, but that whole overly-defensive post reeks of sour grapes and excuses, excuses, excuses. No doubt your team did the best with what was available, but it might be an idea to shed some chips from your shoulder before posting such "that not fair mister" replies. Luck was always giong to be a major factor in either of these undertakings. Sounds like your team didn't get much, tough but hardly surprising.
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kos_os - on 11 Oct 2009
In reply to fishy1:
> You, on the other hand, filled your post with opinions, example, "some of the best weather in years"
>

That wasnt an opinion, that came from the article;

"The weather was extremely good with comfortable temperatures and almost no precipitations."

matthewtraver - on 11 Oct 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

You naysayers to our ambitious and talented British climbers, put your negations aside and simply pat them on the back and show them some support!

Well done : )

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