A German team of Stefan Glowacz, Robert Jasper, Klaus Fengler, Holger Heuber and Mariusz Hoffman have travelled to Baffin Island and completed an extremely difficult free and aid line in a seriously remote area.
Take the Long Way Home is their 700m, 21 pitch route up a formation called The Bastion. With difficulties up to F8a+ and A4 it is likely the hardest route on Baffin Island. All members of the team reached the top of the wall. They used fixed ropes and portaledges, the majority of nights were spent at the base of the route with a total of four nights spent on the wall.
The name of the route comes from the epic journey back to civilisation that followed the climb. They travelled for 16 days on foot and skis to reach Clyde River - a small settlement over 200 miles from their starting point.
The American photographer Eugene Fisher flew over the region around Baffin Island several times in the 1990s. His aerial photographs are thus far the only close-up images of jewel-like, unexplored cliffs on the east coast, which await a new generation of climbers. It was these images that inspired the team to go in search of these huge, frozen granite mountains.
Baffin Island is located between Greenland and the northern coast of Canada. Tundra and swampy landscapes cover most of the western part of the island; deep, snow-filled valleys divide its eastern side. These gorges descend toward Baffin Bay, a northern sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, forming a unique series of wilderness fjords with extremely steep walls of gneiss and granite that rise to heights of 1,600 meters. Climbers have already visited the fjords immediately to the east of the settlement of Clyde River, but the more distant fjords still remained untouched until this trip. They are a dream destination for big-wall adventure climbing, on a par with Trango Tower in Pakistan or the granite spires of Patagonia.
Stefan Glowacz is an amazingly accomplished climber and has travelled the world attacking the hardest routes for several decades. On a trip to the UK (circa 1987) for a photo-shoot he made the only onsight ascent to date of the classic route Strawberries at Tremadog. He is the owner and founder of the rock-shoe company Red Chili and has his own website coming soon: www.glowacz.de.
Stefan Glowacz is sponsored by Marmot, Red Bull and Red Chili.