New Routes in Greenland by Fay Manners and Michelle Dvorak

© Felix Bub

British alpinist Fay Manners and American alpinist Michelle Dvorak have opened a new 370m 6c+ route in Greenland on Chastity Tower, a peak first climbed by Nico Favresse and Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll in 2022. The pair also roped-up with friends to establish another new 7b+ on Father Tower.

The team on their Siren Tower attempt.  © Felix Bub
The team on their Siren Tower attempt.
© Felix Bub

Michelle and Fay were the first climbers to re-visit the Chastity Tower and decided to call their new route The Princess Brides, grading it 6c+.

The women had organised their own trip, but bumped into German friend Martin Feistl and his climbing partner Felix Bub, who had just made the first complete traverse of the Mythic Cirque from left to right to establish Circus Maximus (39 hours of climbing over 3 days, maximum grade 6c) and the first repeat of Forum (840m, 7c, Bordella, Schüpbach, Welfringer 2021), after 4 days on the wall. 

Fay, Michelle, Felix and Martin decided to join forces to attempt Siren Tower, but retreated as an impassable pitch would require a bolt and some aiding—an compromise in style that they did not want to undertake.

The failed attempt did not phase the team. They decided not to return to the Siren Tower due to the dangerous access couloir. However, in the meantime the team had spotted a new line on the Father Tower.

Fay on The Princess Brides, Chastity Tower.  © Fay Manners
Fay on The Princess Brides, Chastity Tower.
© Fay Manners

Martin, Fay and Michelle successfully opened a new 7b+ on the Father Tower, which they called Mental Breakdown. Unfortunately Felix had injured his shoulder in the previous attempt, so he could not join the other three group members.

After Martin and Felix returned home, Fay and Michelle travelled to Chastity Tower on kayaks and opened their own new route.

Kayaking to Chastity Tower.  © Fay Manners
Kayaking to Chastity Tower.
© Fay Manners

When Fay and Michelle first arrived at the basecamp of the Mythic Cirque, they were surprised to find another team of nine as well as Martin and Felix. This team was a Spanish women's expedition team. Fay commented:

'They were there to open some new alpine big walls. Michelle and I spent a lot of time with them during rest days, bouldering and kayaking around our base camp. It was nice to meet these young strong females who I imagine will grow to become role models in the future.'

Fay and Michelle with the Spanish women's expedition team.  © @juanmiponcefotografo
Fay and Michelle with the Spanish women's expedition team.
© @juanmiponcefotografo

Alongside the Spanish Female Expedition Team, Fay and Michelle used inflatable kayaks to explore some of the areas outside of the Mythic Cirque, where they had based themselves for their short trip. The pair had considered Chastity Tower to be the most appealing one for a one-day, alpine style ascent. Fay told UKC:

'The route took a line of cracks up the west face of the tower and had spectacular views of the clear water fjords from the summit. While descending the mountain back to basecamp, we were lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis.'

Topo for Chastity Tower.  © Michelle Dvorak
Topo for Chastity Tower.
© Michelle Dvorak

Fay sent some words about their other adventures.

First ascent of "The Mental Breakdown" on Father Tower in the mythic cirque, Greenland (580 / 765m, 7b+, R), Martin Feistl, Fay Manners and Michelle Dvorak.

Topo drawn by Martin Feistl. Our line is the red and yellow. Philippe Batoux's existing line is the green. 

Topo of Father Tower.  © Martin Feistl
Topo of Father Tower.
© Martin Feistl

We climbed the route in two days, reaching the summit at midday on the second day. Having discussed a lot about our strategy we had decided it best to go alpine style and not bigwall style. We didn't want impossibly heavy haul bags because in the upper section slabs, it looked as though hauling would be difficult. We carried one G7 pod between us all and all slept on the one pod! 

Approaching Father Tower.  © Fay Manners
Approaching Father Tower.
© Fay Manners

The route involved (as most first ascents are) some surprises. The biggest being the pitches I led, the so called "hand cracks" actually being a set of unbelievable offwidth climbing. A shame we didn't bring the number 6 cam and left it in the basecamp! 

The most impressive feat was Martin onsighting the 7b+ crux pitch of 65m on protection that was serious and sparse! And then after, leading another very serious pitch which involved a terrifying hollow flake! 

Michelle on the upper reaches of Father Tower.  © Fay Manners
Michelle on the upper reaches of Father Tower.
© Fay Manners

On the first day Michelle had the tough task of leading us through some of the less solid pitches higher up before reaching our bivy. I was happy she got us there just before complete darkness, where we had the luxury of a starry night's dinner! 

The long walk down the crumbly ridge on the second day with heavy rucksacks was the most mentally drained I have felt in a while! 7 hours of easy yet extremely serious and consequential terrain. 

Fay and Martin at the top of Father Tower.  © Fay Manners
Fay and Martin at the top of Father Tower.
© Fay Manners

Attempted first ascent on Siren Tower: Fay Manners, Michelle Dvorak, Martin Feistl and Felix Bub

We turned around after 2 days on the wall, 7 pitches and 245m with difficulties up to 7b onsight, 7c obligatory on the crux pitch. 

We retreated due to the impossibility of continuing to climb this serious and difficult line. Martin Feistl put in a huge push to climb the previous crux but as a team we were unable to find a way to continue to free climb. 

We decided to retreat from the route and leave it as a valiant attempt rather than place a bolt and finish the route as an aid climb. 

In June 2022, Fay and Michelle travelled to Alaska, climbing Bacon and Eggs on Mini-Mini-Moonflower, and the Cassin Ridge on Denali (UKC News). Earlier this summer, Fay made made six first ascents alongside Basque brothers Iker and Eneko Pou, including a major new mixed route on Trango II (6,327m) called Waa Shakil (6b/70º/M.5/2,200m).

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11 Sep, 2023

Did they top this one out? 😀

11 Sep, 2023

Nice write-up, great to see some pics!

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