West Greenland - Day 4
In the morning I started to climb. As my backpack was still stuffed with food this was pretty tough. Soon the green landscape changed into bare rocks. There were several rivers and lakes I needed to cross and their locations had changed considerably since my map was made. It was cumbersome to keep unpacking and packing my packraft, but also pretty cool not to be limited by water. I took several detours because of rivers too large to cross. The views became better at higher elevation and I could see multiple glaciers in the distance.
Later I started descending towards a different fjord. I had the option to follow the left or right shore of the river leading into it. Although I had extensively studied my map and google earth I wasn't sure which side would be better. This was a big decision as following the river on either side would involve crossing many smaller, but still significant, tributaries, making it difficult to backtrack. At the moment I was on the right shore and the main river too big to cross anyway, so I decided to continue on that side.
After a few hours and several river crossings I reached a beautiful lake where the landscape was more level. It was possible to cross the river there, but the landscape on the other bank seemed much more hilly so I continued going downhill. Gradually the river bank became steeper and the river a massive torrent. I was careful when walking over the loose rocks, but at some point decided it was too dangerous to continue. If I would slip I ran the risk of falling into the glacial river and would be dragged away.
My only option was to climb back to the lake, cross it with my packraft, and then continue on the other bank. This added at least two hours, but was the safest thing to do. The terrain on the other side was indeed more hilly but definitely easier to walk, although there were again several large rivers I had to cross. At a later stage that bank also became too steep to follow, so I headed inland.
The calm lake to which I returned shortly after
Here I decided to turn around because of the loose rocks.
It's hard to tell by the picture but the river was easily 15-20 meters wide.
One of the fast flowing tributaries I crossed, fortunately it wasn't very deep.
Eventually the main river ended up in a glacial lake, which I would cross the next day. Getting there involved much climbing and the descent was especially tricky. The shore of the lake was very steep and I could only reach the it by descending towards the large river. By now it was already late and getting colder. After the long day I was pretty exhausted but there was simply no place to camp on the steep barren mountain. Instead of descending tired I took a break and forced myself to eat dinner first.
Feeling much better I climbed the last 30 minutes downhill and found a flat place to camp only 100 meters away from the lake's shore. According to the map, this small area was the only level spot anywhere on this side of the lake. From here, I could look up into the river's canyon. I was glad I decided to turn around earlier, as the walls on the other bank where now near vertical and there was no way I would've been able to continue walking there. Near its end was also a small glacier.
The glacial lake, you can clearly see how much the glacier has shrunk over the years