The Ironism

The Ironism

The lair of Lars J. Nilsson. Contains random musings on beer, writing and this thing we call life.

August 2010


Backpost: Abisko -> Kebnekaise 2009


I was about to set down this years trekking memories when I realized I have not documented all of last years trips. Oh my… So I’d better do that then eh? My memory being what it is, this is the trip me, V+R did between Abisko and Kebnekaise last year.

We’d decided to Kungsleden one bit after another and also that we go south, hence Abisko first. We also decided to follow the trail and possible camp close to the Huts.

Any new gear? Well of course… 🙂 My old trusted Haglöfs boots where finally starting to give in, so I decided to give them an early retirement. And started looking, and looking for something new. It turned exhaustive; there didn’t seem to be any boots that could get a proper grip on my heel. In the end the salesman at Kängspecialisten pointed off to a window saying “oh, you could try those, there quite new but people seems to like them and I’m getting a pair myself soon”.  “Those” turned out to be a shiny pair of Kayland Apex Trek, and hell yes, they fit!

Day one; To Abisko and Abiskojaure
I met R+V at Arlanda in Stockhom to fly up to Kiruna from which we’d take the train to Abisko and immediatey set out to Abiskojaure. The flight was unspectacular. Except for the bagage retreival. Kiruna is a small arport and this flight was mainly made up of hunters, fisher-folks and trekkers. All crowing the small bagage pickup belt in their outdoor clothes. The bagage started to arrive, and immediately there was a wave of sniggers: someones coffee mug came out first… “Someones”, eh? I sniggered with the rest of them until, between two backpack, my Kåsa came out, with my watch and Spork neatly tucked inside. Oh… It turned out the zipper to the top lid had broken, nut a huge loss, but I never got back my toiletries, and for a while I was afraid my glasses had been in there as well.

So arriving to Abisko I had to attack the small shop at the station first to buy things like toothbrush, etc. But hell, it could have been worse!

The walk to Abiskojaure was without any big adventurers though. It was heavily overcast as we walked the rather beautiful part through the wildlife preserve. And as we got nearer it looked like it was going to rain for earnest. It did start raining as we reached the Abiskojaure hut, so we camped right at it and used their facilities for the dinner.

Day two; Onwards
We started out in the nice sunshine south through Gardenvaggi, ascending 300 meters fairly quickly and then turning south west on a long and slightly booring trek. The view over Ahppajavri is excellent to the south east, but for some reason it didn’t hook me.

We stopped a few kilometers before Alesjaure and had an un-eventful evening. Nothing much to add here, but we did shift loads a bit in the beginning: V had a few kilos too much which I and R managed to talk off her before lunch 🙂

Day three; toward Tjäkta
The day started heavily overcast and stayed that way most of the day until the evening.

The Alesjaure hut lies splendidly on a small rise in the middle of the long valley, and we couldn’t resist stopping for a second breakfast with coffee and a cookie on our way forward. As you pass Alesjaure the view turns a bit more dramatic as well as you continue south west.

Kjäkta lies in the south west end of the valley and some 100 meters above the valley floor, giving it a magnificent view. And as the weather cleared up you couldn’t help feeling envious on those lucky bastards working there. What a place!We arrived fairly early and spent the evening washing up and relaxing in the nice evening sun.

Day four; Over the top
The mountain pass south of the Kjäkta hut is the actually the highest point on Kungsleden at 1100 meters above the sea level. After the stony bit leading up to the pass, it quickly opens up south giving you a splendid entrance to the magical valley Tjäktavaggi, which runs almost straight southwards and in which the next one and a half days will be spent.

Tjäktavaggi is unusual in that it is fairly long and wide and very straight, but also sports a flat fairly wide valley floor. It is easy walking, especially in the sunshine we had. And every step brings you closer to the might Kebne area where Sweden highest peak lies. A lovely day indeed, although we started to feel we had walked for four days, well trained as we were… We camped at Sälka and decided to take the next day off.

Day five; Magical stillness
This was the first time we had ever just stopped anywhere on our treks and relaxed. The weather was with us and we proceeded to make the least of the day. Basically just sleeping, relaxing, talking and embracing the calm.

At the afternoon at decided to brave Tjäktajåkka and wade to the west side, on a small detour. The wade was long but not hard, and I proceeded up Sälka to have a look at Dalsjön, a small lake nestled in the mountains. The hike not as easy as I had hoped, and involved traversing some fairly steep snow fields. But coming back made it worth the while as I got a stunning view of Kjäktavaggi in the evening sunshine.

And yes, we baked some bread in the evening. When I say we, I mean R+V. Lovely! I can’t recommend it enough, freshly baked bread in the middle of a trek! Lovely indeed!

Day five; And a short-cut
This day we continued south and a had a few choices to make. The trail goes straight south to Singi, but there is also an option to head into the Kebne mountains in the east, taking a rather bold short-cut to Kebnekaise with an option to camp on the way up from Sinnivaggi, greatly short cutting an attempt on top if the weather allowed.

But it would mean quite a bit of ascending with full packs, and also the weather was not it’s best with rain, wind and mist. So we decided to continue south but to strike south east, bypassing Singi and possible camp at lake 980 which apparently has a very good view south west. But we had made very good speed, and when we arrived at the lake some hours after lunch the weather was worse again so we decided to simply press on to the station at Kebne. This would mean a spare day, but we though we could use it to gamble the weather for an extra chance at climbing Kebnekaise.

Day six; Yet more rest
And so we did. We stayed some kilometer from Kebne station and again just enjoyed the luxury of doing nothing for a while. All hoping for good weather the day after to brave Swedens highest peak…

Day seven; Mighty Keb
The weather seemed to play nice with us. As we started up in the morning it wasn’t still certain if the high clouds would lift and permit access to the top, but we decided to chance.

You can walk up Kebnekaise without any tools, but you should be aware of a few facts. The west route up, which is the walking-friendly one, is fairly long and involves crossing a small middle-top adding 500 meters hight-meters to your climb. Also, it is going to be steep and stony and you’ll be at it the whole day. And you might have to wade a bit as well if it has been raining. It is also a tourist attraction, so don’t expect to be alone…

The climb went alright. We met a few people who clearly didn’t know the above compressed facts though. Like the very nice couple we met just under Vierranvarri. They had sports shoes and no clue. For example, they seemed amazed that I knew exactly far it was left and asked me if I had been there before, when I said no, the man seemed perplexed and then asked, “so you know how to read a map then?”

We were indeed lucky in the end. The weather cleared up and as we approached the south top, which is actually a glacier, there weren’t many people around giving us a few special moments at the roof of Sweden. A special call-out to R at this point, as he is actually afraid of heights and made his last meters crawling. But he did make it, which is bloody strong!

Even though Kebnekaise isn’t very high internationally, for a Swede to stand there is special, it is the highest peak in Sweden which you have been taught about in school, and standing there you feel, for a short moment, like you’re king of the world.

The descent also went alright although V started to get tired and R and me had our bad knees to content with. But we took it easy, we had food with us and no real hurry, it was worse for those who hadn’t prepared and started getting really tired and sore without anything to eat.

Was it worth the aching knees? Oh hell yes! 😀

Day eight; Just end it will you…
Not much to add here. We went straight east to Nikkaloukta on a very well kept train. Boring though. We had a hotel in Kiruna booked for the night and flew home the day after.

A very good trip. We had two resting days, which wasn’t in the plan exactly but did give us a higher chance on good weather at Kebne, which we took.

And my new boots? Excellent! Truly excellent. There are only three rather small, things I’d like to change on them: 1) they look like super-hero boots: come on, red and silver?! 2) they are made for tougher mountains than this, and the sole is actually almost *too* stiff, if that is possible; and 3) the sole is turned quite a bit upwards at the toes giving you a nice rolling step, however, my big toes would like to have them more straight, which gives me some pressure ache under the soles. Other than that, brilliant stuff, do try Kayland of you’re after new boots. Their new Zephyr seems like a really good choice for the Swedish mountains.

And yes we had whisky.

And yes, we have pretty pictures!

The proprietor of this blog. Lunchtime poet, former opera singer, computer programmer. But not always in that order. Ask me again tomorrow.

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