When a mountain is named after any god, you know it’s likely to be a pretty hardcore peak. When a mountain is named after a Norse god associated with thunder, strength, and the protection of mankind, it better blow you away.
Mount Thor is one of Baffin Island’s mountains, located within the Auyuittuq National Park in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Seeing just a picture of this mountain is likely enough to strike you with awe. Mount Thor’s west face is the longest vertical drop on Earth, reaching around 1250 meters (4,400 feet). According to NASA, if you were to drop a bowling ball from the peak of this monstrous cliff, it would fall uninterrupted for nearly 20 whole seconds.
There are larger near vertical cliffs in the world (see the Trango Towers in northern Pakistan), but the Mount Thor cliff face sits at an astonishing average grade of 105°. Any climbers who head to this face would spend a majority of their attempt on an overhang. There’s no wall hugging on this climb.
The mountain was first climbed by a team with the Arctic Institute of North America in 1953, but the western face wouldn’t be conquered for several decades. There have been well over 30 failed summit attempts, some leading to deaths, but a 33 day climb brought an American team to the summit in 1985. John Bagley, Tom Bepler, Eric Brand, and Earl Redfern began the 36 pitch climb on May 19, reaching the summit on June 21, 1985 (Eric Brand’s recount of the climb is a highly recommended read).
Those who are interested in visiting this incredible face can look into tour options, most of which taking around 15 days and costing around $5000 CND.
Featured Image Credit: Swampgoth, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons