Greenland 2009 part IV: Mellem Landet

Mellem Landet (The middle Land) is a narrow mountainous and rugged piece of land close to the ice cap. South Greenland’s airport Narsarsuaq is located on Mellem Landet just next to Tunulliarfik fjord. The land is enclosed by two big glaciers which gently slide from the interior ice cap to the ocean. One of the two glaciers doesn’t reach the fjord anymore nowadays. The Kuusuaq river which drains Kuussuup Sermia glacier (kuussuup sermia means the glacier of the big river) is so big that there is no possibility to ford the river. So the hiking opportunities on Mellem Landet are only limited to a few days, ideal to end my long stay on Greenland.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
The view back over Blomsterdalen and the Kuusuaq river.

It was late afternoon when I arrived at Narsarsuaq airport. A small Inuit settlement with a grocery store is located next to the airport. All the inhabitants are employed at the airport or in tourism services. After a resupply at the grocery store, I started the long hike through Blomsterdalen while the landscape slowly became more interesting. At the valley head where the Kuusuaq river runs out of a canyon, a steep climb followed to reach the mountain plateau of Mellem Landet. The climb was partly secured with ropes. A few steps along some small mountain lakes on the plateau and I reached a nice bivouac place with view over the tongue of Kuussuup Sermia.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
Bivouac above Kuussuup Sermia.

The next day I searched my way further north on Mellem Landet while the terrain became more rugged the further I approached the northern point of the peninsula. The viewpoint north of point 1102m where the two glaciers separate would be my destination for the day. Only rock and snowfields remained when I reached point 1102m but the views over the surroundings were amazing. Both Kuussuup Sermia and Qooqqup Sermia were mostly visible further north along the top of the central mountain ridge and spectacular mountains arose in the northeast on the opposite side of the glacier. In the northwest Valhaltinden demanded all attention. A big lake with drifting icebergs was lying at the feet of the mountain.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
An arctic hare on Mellem Landet. I saw many of them but they al ran away like a rocket. This one was probably ill since I could approach him up to a few meters.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
My SPOT messenger at work.

It was difficult to find a place to pitch my tarp at the northern edge of Mellem Landet. After a lot of searching I found a small flat piece of moss on the rocks, just large enough to ditch the stakes. I enjoyed the views over the ice cap while the sun made its way to the horizon. There even was a constant abrasive sound to hear. The noise came from the ice below, slowly sliding its way to the ocean. Despite the sound it was quiet and peaceful there. I felt completely alone on earth, a perfect evening!

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
Bivouac along Qooqqup Sermia glacier north of Point 1102m.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
The ice cap and Qooqqup Sermia.

The next morning I awoke in a fog and got lost on my way back to the south. There is absolutely no possibility to orientate in dense fog on Mellem Landet since recognizable points in the landscape are completely absent. I tried to stay on route by orientating with my map and compass the best I could, but after a while I noticed Kuussuup Sermia glacier below when I arrived at the edge of an abyss on the west side of the plateau. Oh no! This was completely wrong! I wanted to stay heading for the mouth of Qooqqup Sermia in the fjord at the east side of Mellem Landet. I then tried to go southeast in search for the “Glacier of the valley”. Luckily the clouds slowly began to lift and gradually visibility improved drastically so it was not that difficult anymore at the end to find the viewpoint above the glacier front. The fjord was all white, completely covered with crumbled ice.

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
The glacier front of Qooqqup Sermia in Qooqqut fjord (the ice fjord). Every ten minutes some ice fell of producing loud noises.

I stayed admiring the crumbling ice of the glacier front for an hour and finally returned to the valley head of Blomsterdalen. The next day I walked back to the airport through the valley and waited for my plane to leave. On the plane I could admire the ice cap and the east coast from 30.000ft. Greenland is so amazing and beautifully rugged. Next time I definitely should bring my packraft!

Greenland 2009: Mellem Landet
The last bivouac on Greenland, at the head of Blomsterdalen.

Greenland 2009: The Icecap
The ice cap from the plane.

5 thoughts on “Greenland 2009 part IV: Mellem Landet

  1. Again – pure beauty, you captured very well the roughness and crudity of this island!
    And how exposed it feels when hiking there …
    Thanks for sharing – you nearly changed my mind that I don’t want to go there a second time 😉

  2. I have enjoyed reading all your reports. A landscape of incredible views, and scale. Your photos captured it superbly, and thanks for the effort in writing, and sharing your trip. Of all the posts and views the wild camp on top of the mountain ridge above Aappilattup Avanna was the most amazing one, I think. The Ice cap views in this post are breathtaking.

  3. Thank you for your fantastic reports of your greenland trip and wonderful photos. I just came across your site 2 days before I head there for 12 days solo trekking ! I hope I have such a good experience and get some great photos. Nearly Half my pack weight is food and a good chunk is camera gear lol! I have the loan of a gun when out there and will be caching and cooking food away from camp, so I’ll be trying keep the foxes off it with rocks. Now to read some more of your ventures…

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