Baffin Island Guidebook Author Salutes Summer of Baffin Island Big Wall Free
Mark Synnott, author of Baffin Island: climbing, Trekking and Skiing, commends one of the
biggest climbing seasons ever in Auyuittuq National Park. Three separate teams comprising
climbers from Canada, Belgium, and Spain completed a host of first ascents and the first free
ascent of the South Tower of Mt. Asgard, one of the world’s most iconic cliffs.
Jackson, NH (Vocus) October 3, 2009 -- Canadians Chris Brazeau and Jon Walsh enjoyed a productive summer
trip to Auyuittuq National Park, completing seven Baffin Island climbs or attempts in ultra-light style, including a
couple of possible new routes or first free ascents. Also in Baffin this summer was the all-star Belgian team of
Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Olivier Favresse, and Stéphane Hanssens.
Sivia Vidal, perhaps the world’s most accomplished female big wall climber, was also in the village of
Pangnirtung, and quickly decided to join the Belgians. Over the course of 45 days, the team established three new
routes, nearly free-climbed a big-wall route on Mt. Asgard, and repeated another big-wall climb.
“The major difference between the first ascents established this season, and routes that have been completed in
previous years,” comments Baffin big wall pioneer Mark Synnnott, “is that all of these routes were done in free
climbing style, with little or no aid.” In the case of the South Tower of Mt. Asgard, it is likely that the Canadian
team of Brazeau and Walsh were the very first to climb the peak without any artificial aid. When Synnott’s first
ever guidebook to Baffin Island was published in 2007, he predicted that future Baffin climbers would begin
exploring this realm. “Everyone knew this was the next step,” says Synnott. “When you have climbers that are
this talented, there’s almost no limit to what they can accomplish.” Indeed, Baffin Island is one of the world’s last
frontiers for big wall climbing.
Baffin Island is quickly becoming known as a pre