Rock climbing is a completely different pursuit than overland travel, but there are parallels in terms of strategy and approach. For instance, when you approach a climbing route, especially a remote one, your entire expedition needs to be completely self-sufficient. You’ve got to show up prepared with your own food, water, and equipment. You need to expect the unexpected and have a plan if things go sideways. Perhaps more than anything else, you need to be prepared to adapt your plans to reflect the challenges that you encounter along the way.
For rock climbers Brette Herrington and Marc-Andre Leclerc, Baffin Island holds the promise of new, previously unclimbed routes on remote granite walls, a dream for many professionals in the sport. But given the island’s size (fifth-largest in the World) and location (between Greenland and Nunavut, in the icy Labrador Sea), Baffin presented many physical and logistical challenges. And perhaps none so difficult as overcoming, or should I say, waiting out, the harsh and variable weather. After beginning their objective, brutal arctic winds, snow, and ice pummeled their porta-ledge, eating up precious climbing days and supplies.
Once the weather cleared, the team’s plans had to change if they were going to make it to the summit of Great Sail Peak. Herrington explains it well: “Climbing a wall like this takes time and patience and it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not always going to have success with the way that you want to climb it. It’s good to [adapt] and fit [the situation] because the situation doesn’t always fit to [your desires].”