Mountaineer Nelson conquers a hitherto unexplored face in the North Atlantic Sea

Former Nelsonian Jack Grinsted climbs the Faroe Islands

Jason blair

Former Nelsonian Jack Grinsted climbs the Faroe Islands

A trio of New Zealand mountaineers, including Nelson Jack Grinsted, have successfully conquered a previously un-climbed rock face known as Witch’s Finger in the subarctic Faroe Islands.

New Zealand mountaineer Dave McKinney climbing the iconic Trollkonufingur in the Faroe Islands.

Jason blair

New Zealand mountaineer Dave McKinney climbing the iconic Trollkonufingur in the Faroe Islands.

The team reached the summit of Trollkonufingur, also known as Witch’s Finger, a rock pillar that dominates the North Atlantic Sea on the Vagar coast near Scotland.

For five days, they shared tiny rock ledges with hundreds of puffins and other seabirds as they climbed to the top.

Grinsted said the expedition had been planned for two years and it seemed “incredible” to him that he achieved what they planned to do.

“It was harder than any of us expected, and it took every ounce of strength and will we could muster,” he said.

The notorious rock face is extremely steep, with the summit 300m directly above the ocean.

The trio of Grinsted, Dave McKinney and Jase Blair were completely self-sufficient during the climb with food, water and equipment.

The attempt involved free climbing, with equipment used only for fall safety and assisted climbing, where the equipment was used to climb the boulder. The ascent was demanding with rocky and difficult weather conditions.

The difficult nature of the climb meant the team was on the wall longer than expected and ran out of food after day three. The team reached the summit just after midnight on the fifth day.

“It has really been a team effort,” said Grinsted. “We all gave everything we had for the ascension, and we could not have done it without the help and support of everyone who supported us.”

The climb was made possible by a grant from Sport New Zealand Hillary Expedition. Hillary Expeditions help New Zealanders embark on exciting and never-before-seen adventures in the great outdoors.


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