29 July 2016

To summit Kebnekaise


It was not planned, it just happened. One Monday in July a colleague of my husband phoned and wanted to change shifts, and suddenly he had the rest of the week free. What shall we do? Wild idea: summit Kebnekaise on Friday. 

Yes it's a short notice, but we have been skiing around it so many times, it would be crazy if we never tried to go to the top, if we are given a chance. Since we had to cancel our skiing trip in March, I have been sad thinking I didn't see the mountains this year - What a perfect compensation this would be! 

It was possible to pack and to get ready in two days. We have all the gear for trekking in winter, and in summer you don't need that much. I have studied the map and been reading about the Kebne area since 2013, when we went skiing there for the first time. I even had some dried meals in the cupboard, that were originally meant for this years winter holiday.
A quick way to reach Mountain Station 

The weather forecast promised a sunny Friday morning, but rain and thunder storms after that. It helped us to decide the timetable and logistics: we had to hurry. On Thursday we drove to Nikkaluokta. From there we took a helicopter to Kebnekaise Fjällstation.  Instead of walking all day, it only takes ten minutes. In July the copter flies every morning and every evening. One person one way costs 89 €. A baggage max 20 kg is included.
Leaving behind the Fjällstation in Laddjuvaggi 

On the Station we asked do we need crampons. The answer was no; this time of the year the snow on the top is soft enough for shoes. You just have to be careful in last  few meters. So we hired only poles, which proved to be very useful. I really want to recommend them. One pair for one day costs 15 €.
Hiking up towards Kitteldalen

For my mind it was hard to follow so fast, but walking with my backpack up the hill slowly I realised we really are here. On Thursday evening we carried our backpacks up to Kitteldalen, which, to me, was like heaven.
Kebne-shoulder on the background

After a very stony and difficult path we came to a valley with ice-cold brooks, green mosh, stunning view  and Kebnekaise herself in front of you. It felt like luxury to camp there with no any other people. We cooked risotto and slept very well for eight hours. 
Our camp in Kitteldalen

And then it was Friday, the big day. Woke up at six, had a big breakfast and started to climb at seven. We left most of our stuff in the tent. We only took jackets, merino wool underwear,  2 l drinking water each and snacks like sandwiches, nuts and dried fruits in our packs.
On Vierranvarri

The weather was very hot. I counted it would take me at least 4 hours to reach the top in that heat, and I was right. First you have to go up and down Vierranvarri, which is a  1711 m high mountain. Then you are down in Kaffedalen, and can start climb Kebnekaise.

There is the Top!

We reached the top at 11.30, before most of the people, who had started from Fjällstation in the morning. There was no queue, no wind, just sunshine and a clear view to every direction. I think it must be very rare to stand on the top of Kebnekaise wearing a t-shirt and enjoying silence. I felt blessed.
On the top


They say when you are on the top, you are only half way. In Kebne it surely is true: Going "down" means going up and  down Vierranvarri again. There is not a clear path on these hills. All the time you have to try and find a place for you foot between sharp or rolling stones. It is really tirying for your leg muscles.
Scenery to Laddju-lake and Nikkaluokta

Luckily we had the poles to take off some of the weight. You can adjust the poles shorter for uphills and longer for downhills. Their support helps you not to fall down or hurt your feet. 
Going down from Kebnekaise

At three o clock we were back in Kitteldalen. Eight ours of walking made me really tired. I dipped my feet in the ice-cold water and lied down in the tent. My husband made food. After eating we slept for half an hour. 
Having a rest

At five we packed the whole camp and started carrying our gear down. Finding my way across the big stones, I really felt the baggage heavy in my back. I had to stop often to rest, but a little after seven we made it to the Fjällstation. After sweating all day,  I was so happy to go to shower!
Coming to Mountain Station after a 14 hour day

We slept in our tent near to the Station. On Saturday morning we had the loveliest breakfast in the Hotel and then there was only the long walk back to Nikkaluokta in front of us. No helicopter-ride this way, but the boat-ride on Laddju lake gave us a very nice an hours break in the middle of walking. 
Waiting for the boat in Laddju lake

We started walking from the Fjällstation at about eight and came to Nikkaluokta at two. It was still somehow difficult to believe we did it. My legs were hurting, but it was nothing a little rest would not cure. Markku went to get the car from helicopter-place. I took my shoes off. 

Back in Nikkaluokta, once again!

Sitting in the car, my main wish was - again - to get clean. Where to wash? We started slowly driving our car. About 20 km from Nikkaluokta we found a perfect place to wash and to relax our musckes, a natures own jacuzzi. What a perfect ending to a perfect trip. 

Nature's own jacuzzi

Markku drove our car to Finland. On the way found a nice place for overnight with geocatche. It was a beautiful beach. As the sun went down, I started slowly thinking about tomorrow, going home and then... future adventures.

 Here is a film with some of the feelings: To summit Kebnekaise


  1. Congrats! Seems liek you had great weather! And good trip in general.

    A bit of coinsidense that I did also summit Kebnekaise. Though it was Thursday and not nearly as nice weather. Little story about it here: https://korpijaakko.com/2016/07/28/kebnekaise-traverses-the-one-with-crampons/

    1. Thank you, Jaakko! It's a small world, isn't it. I really wait for your story from the river, because Markku had a similar idea.


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