Oxford West Greenland Expedition

Be a part of an ambitious student climbing team's effort to put together a ground-breaking expedition to seek wild, unclimbed faces in West Greenland

What's This?

Support some ambitious young climbers hoping to go on an inspiring adventure to Western Greenland.

In summer 2013, a team of climbers from the Oxford University Mountaineering Club will partner with a team of sailors to put together an expedition to the regions of Uummannaq and Upernavik in West Greenland. The journey will involve sailing nearly 2500 nautical miles into well above the Arctic Circle. The climbing will aim for first ascents and adventurous new routes on Big Walls in one of the most recently opened and exciting climbing areas in the world.

Arctic Greenland is a uniquely beautiful environment which is particularly vulnerable to the deprecations of the modern world, we hope to offer an insight into this fragile wilderness. Climate change has caused rapid receding of the Arctic ice, and the recent discovery and exploration of oil reserves in Disko Bay and Uummannaq highlight the need for public awareness of this unique and pristine environment. We hope to create an exciting, inspiring story through a short film, blogs, articles and video diaries, so people can get to know West Greenland. Helping to preserve and protect this great wilderness is a major part of our endeavours and we hope to lead by example in promoting sustainable adventure. The expedition will be self contained waste wise and leave no trace of human passage. We intend to follow established local ethics by avoiding the placement of bolts wherever possible, thereby minimising our impact on the cliffs.

What We Need

Although there are a limited number of grants available to expeditions like this, we desperately need additional funding to make the venture affordable. That's where you come in.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of Clive Woodman and Angela Lilienthal, the major expense of the trip (the boat!) will be met. These are the remaining costs, totalling £15,000 for all seven of us.

  • Insurance - £3,000 -  this is the big one, and the unique nature of our expedition means this becomes very expensive. 
  • General boat-related expenses - £7,000 - this includes paper charts, boat insurance, mooring fees, living costs, satellite phone airtime, diesel, a new liferaft and unavoidable minor damage repair. This stuff doesn't come cheap unfortunately...
  • Equipment - £2,000 - this includes crucial warm and waterproof clothing, a portaledge, gun hire to deter polar bears from eating us (I kid you not - a legal requirement for expeditions in Greenland), spare ropes, freight costs, communications equipment and other sundry items
  • Flights - £3,000 - to Canada and back from Greenland.

We've set our target at £1,000 in the hope that this campaign will allow us to buy crucial insurance cover for the climbing part of the trip. Any funds over this amount will be used to insure the sailing part.

What you get

Apart from sharing the adventure and the challenge, we're offering a number of small rewards for your generosity:

  • For £5 or more, we'll send you a signed thank-you letter once we get back. Everything adds up, and we'll be more than happy to recognise your contribution.
  • For £25 or more, we'll send you a high-quality A4 signed print of one of the best photos we take on the expedition plus a thank-you letter.
  • For £50 or more, we'll take a photo of the team holding a message of your choice, dangling from a cliff, on the summit of a mountain or from the deck of the boat - you decide. We'll then send you a signed print of it, plus a thank-you letter and a copy of our film on DVD.
  • For £500 or more, you'll get all of the above, plus a different kind of reward. Traditionally, the first ascentionists of a route or unnamed mountain have the right to name it. We'll let you choose the name for a route that we make a first ascent of, to go down in the global records of the climbing community. There are a couple of constraints on this - no rude names for instance - so send us an email with your ideas before buying into this.
  • For £750 or more, you get the complete corporate sponsorship package - promotional material, tailored articles/gear reviews, videos, logo promotion, mentions in all blogs and articles, mention in the short film, etc.

Of course, any and all contributions are met with our heartfelt thanks.

The Team

Luckily, between us we have the necessary skills to pull this expedition off safely and hopefully climb some amazing things at the same time. 

  • Clive and Angela have a huge amount of ice sailing and mountaineering experience, having sailed in Svalbard, Antarctica and South Georgia as well as making mountaineering first ascents in Norway and Antarctica. Clive has logged over 80,000 nautical miles. Check their stories out at www.cosmic-dancer.com 
  • Tom and Ian have extensive Big Wall climbing experience. Last summer, along with Ian Cooper, they journeyed to a remote region of Kyrgyzstan and completed the first ascent of the 1000+m vertical rock route 'Dreaming Spires' over nearly a week of effort and the second free ascent of the 1400m vertical Ruyaev Route over a gruelling 10-day push that saw all kinds of hardships - check their story out at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5145 
  • Jacob has a reputation for climbing really hard, really scary bits of rock and getting away with it. His athletic ability is matched only by his enthusiasm and his mental composure. He's climbed E8 and F8b and onsighted F8a.
  • Caroline has an enviable track record as both a sailor and climber, having gone on exploratory mountaineering trips to the Himalaya, Svalbard and Norway as well as sailing with the Navy Cadets. She also boasts of never getting sea-sick. Ever. She'll also be a fully-qualified doctor, which is handy.
  • Peter's long record of Alpine climbing will stand him in good stead on the Arctic granite, and his bold head for heights should be an asset to the entire team.

More information


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