Mt. Breidablik-Baldr is located in Auyuittuq National Park, along with its brother peaks Asgard and Thor. Both Peaks rise from the same saddle and are separated by no more than 5-600 meters. Mt. Breidablik is the lower of the two (1760m or 5773 ft.) and like most of the major peaks in the park takes its name from Norse mythology. Breidablik was the palace of the God Baldr (or Baldur). It had a silver roof and golden pillars and was known as 'the wide gleaming' and the place where nothing impure could be. Breidablik is the rocky ridge that runs behind the pinnacle of Baldr and is easily the more accessible of the two peaks.
Baldr (the higher peak at 1830m and the much trickier climb) which looks like the point of a sundial (to me) also takes its name from Norse mythology and is of course inter-related with Breidablik.
Breidablik-Baldr is located due north of Mt. Thor and can be found on the same side of the Akshayuk Pass as Thor. Like all of the peaks in the park it has a very unique shape. It has been compared to a 'rocky fortress' with a snowy ramp that snakes up to the saddle providing the only straightforward means of accessing the two peaks. From the north Breidablick-Baldr looks almost circular with steep smooth walls that rise up to a wide saddle where the citadel would be located.
While not climbed as often as its brother peaks Thor and Asgard, Breidablik-Baldr is still one of the most beautiful peaks in the park and still has its share of precipitous walls. To the NW Breidablik has a steep 500meter smooth, vertical face that offers many challenging routes to climbers. Also the NE wall is also a nearly vertical 800m wall that provides rock climbers with a plethora of very challenging routes to the top of one (or two) of Auyuittuq's most rugged and beautiful peaks.
Unlike Thor or Asgard the snowy tongue or ramp on Breidablik's southern slopes provides visitor's with relatively easy access to the saddle and then access to far shorter and simpler routes to the summits.
Breidablik-Baldr is still one of the most beloved peaks in the park it simply pales in the eyes of some visitors because it isn't as precipitous or imposing as some of its neighbours... at least on first inspection. But if one looks a little closer and really starts to see the unique shape and the variety of challenges it offers you will find yourself mesmerised by this peak like you would instantly be mesmerised by Asgard or Thor.
For more information on Auyuittuq please see the Mt. Thor and Mt. Asgard pages.
****All photos were used with permission from Neil Monteith and Colin Salias.
This is most assuredly the most difficult part , the costs involved can be somewhat prohibitive. Tour groups offer 15 day packages which can run in excess of $5000 CDN easily (especially in the winter). The trick is to arrange a flight into Pangnirtung, quite often by way of Churchill Manitoba.
To say that Auyuittuq is off the beaten path is more than an understatement. It is incredibly remote. From Pangnirtung one must take a 30km boat ride (or if the fjord is frozen one must use a snowmobile) to the park entrance at the head of the Akshayuk Pass (which was once known as the Pangnirtung Pass). The route cuts across the Cumberland Peninsula and is the main travel route year round, though most especially in winter.
The park entrance is located here at the head of the valley and here is located the one and only Ranger Station in the entire park. The Weasel And Owl rivers flow through the valley, and one has to ford the river as well as several runoff streams as you make your way along the valley floor.
The trail is marked by ‘Inukshuks’ which are man shaped cairns that are placed at distant but regular intervals so one doesn’t lose their way… though that is kind of hard to do. As the route only follows the valley to its terminus.
Mt. Breidablik-Baldr is Thor's neighbour to the north and is located about a five to six hour walk from Windy Lake. It is located on the same side of the Akshayuk Pass as Thor and much like Thor and Asgard its shape is unmistakeable. While not as precipitous as Thor or Asgard it still has 2 distinct steep faces that beckon climbers. It has been compared by many visitors to the park as a rocky fortress with a vertical NW face that runs about 500 meters and a steep NE face that is about 800m high.
There is a snowy ramp that snakes up to the summit plateau from which both peaks can be accessed. Like many of the peaks in Auyuittuq it is prone to rockfalls... and by rockfalls I mean car-sized boulders are known to come careening down off the faces of most major peaks so be sure to enquire with park officials about conditions and what faces to avoid.
Also the tongue of the ramp is prone to avalanches so it is suggested that you check with park officials with regards to conditions on the peak and whether it is supposed to be safe. If they say conditions are OK then perhaps the best way up the tongue is under starlight before the sun has a chance to loosen the snows above.
Yes permits are required, they can be purchased for either $15 a day or an annual permist can be purchased for $100 at the Parks Visitor Information Center in Pangnirtung. For more info. you can call 1 867 473 8828 or try [email protected] There are no real seasonal closures to speak of... though very few would want to visit the area in the dead of winter as temperatures hover for weeks on end around -40 degrees celsius or colder. Winter expeditions head up usually in late March or April when winter begins to loosen its icy grip just a little.
Its asked that you stick to walking across rock, sand or snow especially if wildflowers and other rare Arctic plants are out and that you leave the local animals alone. Please also be sure to pack in what you pack out... this is raw unspoiled wilderness at its finest... please respect that.
When To Climb
The best time for climbing is the summer months between mid June to mid August though one can stretch the season earlier in June or later into the first week of September if the weather holds.
The greatest obstacle to overcome in any other season is winter itself and of course the usual logistical difficulties.. such as arranging transportation, local guides etc. this can all be compunded infinitely by the return of storms to the area. I haven't heard whether there have been early spring climbs or not though I believe it is possible though the costs and logistics would be more than a little prohibitive.
Camping is allowed. The only official site is near the entrance to the Akshayuk Valley near Overlord Mountain. The other sites are officially termed random sites which means camp where you find a good spot. Preferably not too close to the Weasel or Owl rivers and somewhere sheltered as the wind is known to really whip down through the valley. There is a small hut locted near the base of the mountain which can sleep 2-4 people. There are huts located near Mt. Thor and at the park entrance near Mt. Overlord.
For this peak and for Mt. Thor it is possible to use the hut loacted nearby (relatively) at Summit Lake.
The only phone number to call for up to date conditions is the one already provided in the red tape section, and the web address provided should also yield relatively accurate weather conditions. The other web site you could try is the Parks Canada website which is www.pc.gc.ca/auyuittuq. The phone number provided is for the Park superintendent so it should be relatively easy to discover the weather conditions from there.
Failing all of this you could try www.theweathernetwork.com and type in Iqaluit it will give you up to the hour weather conditions.
Baldr was the martyred God of youth and beauty. After his birth Baldr's mother Frigga (consort of Odin) asked Odin that their son become impervious to harm from any objects of the world. The trickster Loki had her ear however and convinced her that there was no need for mistletoe to be on the list because it was harmless... and she thoughtlessly agreed. Later Loki fashioned a dart from mistletoe and enjoined his fellow gods to join in a game of sport. They took turns hurling objects at Baldr which were turned away by his father's blessing. Loki was now at the ear of Baldr's blind brother Hodr. With his guile he convinced Hodr to join in, excpet the dart he would cast was the one Loki had fashioned earlier from mistletoe. Loki helped him aim the dart and his aim was true... with this act Baldr passed from the realm of the gods and with him it was said all of the 'righteousness' passed from the earth.
Loki (for his actions) was later chained in the center of the earth where poison was continually dripped onto him. It was said when he thrashed violently in agony this was what caused earthquakes.