Wednesday 22 August 2012

Alpine Ridge Climbing In The Kebnekaise Massif

After our stay in Lofoten we drove south towards Luleå, but on the way I did a small divagation to Kebnekaise, Sweden´s highest mountain, for some alpine climbing. Part of the Swedish guides program is a certain list of easy alpine climbs on different locations everyone has to do before the final exams. The reason is to practice one´s short-roping skills (rope skills) as well as getting to know new mountain areas. Most of the climbs on the list are situated in France, Italy and Switzerland, but we have a few qualified climbs in the Kebnekaise massif that are perfect for short roping.
The South Peak of Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden with its circa 2103 meters. 

So, on our way down south I left Ale at the train station in Kiruna and continued to Nikkaloukta. From there I walked in to Kebnekaise mountain station where I were to stay two nights, hang out with old friends and relive old memories (I used to work there back in 2007). 
On the next day I went out climbing the Crater Ridge with Emma Wahlberg on Toulpagourni in rainy conditions. In the evening I got invited to join the working crew on their annual party, which was a really warm gathering.
Early Monday morning I took of with Isaac Doude Van Troostwijk for the East Ridge on the North Summit of Kebnekaise, the second highest point in Sweden with its 2097 meters. From the summit of the north peak we did the ridge walk over to the higher south peak, and then back again traversing Kebnepakte and the Wolf Ridge down to the Tarfala hut.
This last winter a Norwegian military Hercules plane crashed straight in to the ridge between the two highest peaks in Sweden and it was unreal to see all the scrap metal that is lying around on the peak and the sharp smell of jet fuel that’s still there, a few months after the accident.
In Tarfala we met friend and great hut keeper Lars who welcomed us in to his home for the night. Lars is 70 years old, filled with warm energy and gentleness similar to that of a Tibetan monk or a Zen master. Lars know nothing of these things, but he have through experience attained an wisdom of life that is shining out through his person. If you read this Lars (he got an Ipad in the hut), know you are a role model for many of us out there!
Yesterday we continued with a climb of the South West Ridge of Kaskasepakte, Sweden´s Matterhorn, followed by a traverse over to Liljetoppen and a descent down to the hut via Liljetoppsrännan. At the hut we had a short lunch before we took the trail back down the valley. At the bridge Isaac went back to the station for a few more weeks of guiding and I walked back to Nikkaloukta and then, to finish up a long day - I drove back to Luleå. Now I got two days here before we will continue south!

Boat ride on the way to Kebnekaise mountain station

The station can be seen in the far distance

Kebnekaise Mountain Station

Emma on our way up to Toulpagorni 

On the south ridge of Toulpagorni 

A beautiful landscape down the valley 

Isaac at the start of our walk to the east ridge of Kebnekaise. Toulpagourni in the background. 

Kebnekaise south and north summits. 

Isaac, always happy! 

The East Ridge of Kebnekaises north summit. 

Topping out 

Airplane metal 

The Swedish military cleaning the mountain 

Myself and Isaac on the highest point in Sweden 

The East Ridge 

Isaac with the Wolf Ridge in the background 
Kaskasepakte, Sweden´s sixth highest mountain 




A magic sunrise at 5 o'clock in the morning 


Isaac on the South West ridge of Kaskasepakte 

High up among the clouds 

Isaac and myself on the summit of Kaskasepakte 

Rappelling down 

Isaac on the famous gap 

The North Face os Kaskasepakte, probably the most difficult north face in Sweden 

Tarfala from Liljetoppen 

Lars and friends at the Tarfala hut