the Degree Confluence Project

Greenland : Vestgrønland/Kitaa

49.9 km (31.0 miles) SSE of Kapisillit, Vestgrønland, Greenland
Approx. altitude: 624 m (2047 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 64°S 130°E

Accuracy: 23.0 km (14.3 mi)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View S, the area of the CP hidden #3: View S to Nansen's campground (teltplads) #4: View SE: Kussuaq’s bed and glacier river S->N #5: The GPS measurement

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  64°N 50°W (incomplete) 

#1: View S to the CP

(visited by Peter Scharfenberg)

22-Jul-2014 -- This CP can be visited 50 km south of Kapisillit, a small village 75 km east of Greenlands capital Nuuk (Godthåb). For geographical details see the 1:250000 Saga Map “Nuuk” as well as the 1:100000 hiking map “Kapisillit, Qooqqut & Austmanndalen”, the latter showing the area north of 64°5’, thus not the CP.

Looking to the south, the CP is hidden in a valley at 500 m altitude between the 920 m mountain “Pingorssuaq Kitdleg” [see left (i.e. east) side of Picture 1] and an alpine area. Most parts of the “Pingorssuaq Kitdleg” are concealed by the 700m mountains in the foreground, because the photo was shot from a relatively low altitude (200 m) 1,5 km south of Sandnæs and 27 km north of the CP. For more details of the background area see Picture 2. It was low tide when Picture 1 was made. The inner part of the Ameralik (Lysefjord), called Ameralla, was almost emptied. Add 1 km to the sand surface on the left and you will enter the Austmanndalen. To visit this valley was the primary aim of our reconnaissance journey, not the CP itself which is 23 km away (Picture 5). Here, where the river Kussuaq empties into the Ameralla, the site is called Nansens Teltplads (Picture 3), i.e. Nansen’s campground, in remembrance of the 29th September 1888 when the Norwegian Fritjof Nansen had finished here the first East-West transverse of the inland ice. C.f. F. Nansen: “Auf Schneeschuhen durch Grönland”. His text is not definite as to whether he arrived north or south of the river Kussuaq, but he does not report all the serious problems one may expect from the presentation of the river in the hiking map, as well as the more recent report G. Miosga et al.: “Herausforderung Grönland” (Copress 1989). Here, 100 years after Nansen a group of 4 alpinists report on their transverse “in Nansen’s traces”, almost neglecting modern means. These authors faced extreme difficulties when wading through the Kussuaq river.

This in mind, we were surprised seeing Kussuaq reduced to a rill (Picture 4). So we had our tent on an alluvial land, an isle in the “river”, according to the hiking map. Nevertheless, there was nothing wrong with the former reports. As we heard afterwards, the lake Isvand, as the source of Kussuaq, itself fed by two glaciers, empties in 7-year cycles directly into the fjord Kangersuneq, east of Kapisillit. When this happens, Kussuaq and its waterfall near Isvand vanishes for some years and the land Nunataraq south of Isvand can be visited without having a bath. During the next years the Isvand is filled up again, some time Kussuaq reappears and becomes stronger until another cycle ends.

Any CP visitor on the land route should have this in mind. Start hiking in Nuuk takes 8-10 days to arrive in Sandnæs, but with the once-weekly boat to Kapisillit, as we did, it takes only 2 days. Add another day to arrive in Austmanndalen. Then the hiker must wade through a glacier river that flows to SE (Picture 4) in order to continue to the south. 10 km before arriving the CP the glacier Kangaussarssup Sermia ends and its river has to be passed, if possible. The easiest approach, however, could be to bring a light rubber-canoe to Sandnæs, paddle in the times of low tide to the south and enter the land west of that river. Then hike the last 15 km to the CP and look around, as some places (indicated on the Saga Map) in this area were inhabited in former centuries by Norsemen.

 All pictures
#1: View S to the CP
#2: View S, the area of the CP hidden
#3: View S to Nansen's campground (teltplads)
#4: View SE: Kussuaq’s bed and glacier river S->N
#5: The GPS measurement
ALL: All pictures on one page