Ines Papert, Jon Walsh and Joshua Lavigne, travel to the northern landscapes of Auyuittuq in Baffin Island. They go looking for adventure and an unclimbed wall on the hidden flanks of Mt. Asgard – what they find left them with more questions than answers.
As the arctic night settled around us, the descent continued in the sleet and cloud. The fog was heavy with texture and shadows. Our senses were confined to a small sphere of light. The rappel lines extended below with Jon at the end, our three spheres sinking in the abyss. We had managed to descend approximately 800 meters, including ten rappels and several hundred meters of wet and loose down-climbing. According to Jon, we were only three hundred meters from the glacier, but it was over wet slabs and if we decided to rappel our ropes would likely get stuck. If our ropes got stuck – we would be perilously connected to the earth as hypothermia would consume our rational decision making. He continued towards the edge nonetheless, which was 10 meters from me. I couldn’t see him. He was trying to find an answer to resolve our predicament, but the pieces had already been put in motion and we only had a few moves left before we were in a ‘checkmate’. Having already committed to the descent, we were wet, hypothermic and precariously stuck in a labyrinth of slabs. We had one move left, which was to sit, suffer and wait for the storm to break. Jon turned around and came back to where Ines and I had already found a ledge. We randomly emptied our bags and huddled under a flapping tarp and pulled a down sleeping bag over our heads, which quickly turned to wet oatmeal. The night crept along and our body temperatures quietly dropped. The rain and snow continued and our standby shelter was no longer a place of refuge. I was afraid. Jon’s hypothermia was worsening, the storm was intensifying and we had no water for hot drinks. If we didn’t change our circumstances soon, the last move would have been played. We needed the fortress of Asgard to release it’s grip or a guardian to pry us from it.