This summer, a team of six ventured to Greenland, kayaking along the coast and laying down bold new lines on tall walls.
The epic scope of their two-month adventure became evident through the photos and videos they posted on social media – but the cinematic treatment drops this week.
Brit Rock, an annual climbing film festival, will stream three climbing documentaries online. Including From the sea to the summitwhich focuses on the team’s first ascent of the “Sea Barge Circus”, a 900m ascent that overlooks the beautiful landscape of Greenland.
“We did the thing,” Jacob Cook wrote this summer, shortly after returning from the expedition. “Sea kayaked a very long way, scaled a big scary cliff and made it home safely. This one is going to take some time to process.
In addition to Cook, the team included Bronwyn Hodgins, Jaron Pham, Zack Goldberg-Poch, Angela Vanwiemeersch and Kelsey Watts. They used sea kayaks to explore the northwest coast of Greenland, where they established several new big wall climbs.
The documentary will probably focus on the huge “Sea Barge Circus” (6c) on Qaersorsuaq. But the team also implemented other new routes, including “Time Is A Construct”, a 400m route on Red Wall which they graded at 6c A2.
By the end of the trip, they had traveled about 450 km by land and sea.
“Probably the greatest adventure of my life so far!” Cook wrote on Instagram.
Climbing with kayaks
There are plenty of rock climbing documentaries around the world these days, but few show climbers hoisting a kayak straight up a vertical cliff.
This is what Cook and company did to begin their ascent of the “Sea Barge Circus” and several other climbs. Sometimes they would cast first while still in their kayaks. But a new route on Qaersorsuaq was the “big goal” of their trip, Cook wrote. The wall had seen two assist ascents but never a free ascent.
“He’s straight out of the ocean, just getting out of the kayak in the swell was going to be the first crux!” Cook wrote.
“We sat in the boat discussing the lines, we were drawn to a system of discontinuous cracks hitting the unclimbed right side of the face. We were pleased to see that it looked like the best rock we had seen on the entire trip, but also appalled to see a lot of blank sections between the cracks. Free climbing this thing could be tough!
It took the team 20 days to complete the course in big wall style, with a week of portaledge camping. They braved the extreme weather conditions of Baffin Bay, including heavy freezing rain and snow. But by August 21, they had climbed every pitch and established the new line.
Climbing with kayaks
The course promises to be impressive. But just like previous climbing expeditions in Greenland, the landscape itself takes center stage.
The crew began their journey in the Inuit community of Uummannaq. For the first month they paddled north along the coasts and fjords. This is followed by 20km of overland trekking after packing the kayaks, gear and food.
The images of this small crew kayaking through iceberg-filled water are just as captivating as the tall wall climbs. Without their GPS watches, Cook wrote, sailing these seas would have been too risky.
This grand adventure is one of three films premiering on the 2022 Brit Rock Film Tour this week. The film will be available to stream online, but only from November 3-6.