Today was the day when some of the people didn’t even bother to hike, well it was the day to conquer the highest mountain in Sweden. Kebnekaise is the most popular destination in swedish mountains and the aim of most of the people coming here is to make it to the peak. It might be nothing much compared with many other places in the world, but with it’s 2111 meters it is the highest peak in Sweden and therefore entitled to some extra attention. But because we had already walked over 100km in the last 3 days, some of us were absolutely knackered. It was going to take 6 hrs to go to the top and 5 hours back…oh yes it was going to be a very long day.So the plan was to leave as early as possible in the morning. I spoke to some of the people while in sauna the night before and at the information center. According to them there was some snow at the top but it was walkable. there was no need of using crampons or ice axe. However due to harsh weather at the top, very few people went all the way up to the summit. The night before I was also a bit worried as my right calf was totally stiff and my left knee was in pain. However when you are with like minded people who are determined to do the the same thing as you then it automatically boost your confidence. I had dinner with Elman and although his knees were in pain he was determined. We talked about climbing mountains and he had climbed lots of mountains up to 5000m including Mont Blanc, for him Kebnekaise was a piece of cake. So if he was going up there, I was too :).
The weather forecast wasn’t looking that good and when we woke up it was raining, it was probably the worst day to go up to the summit. But today was our only chance. We didn’t have the luxury to chill for a day and climb mountain the next day. In the morning I also realized I forgot to bring my water proof trousers. Until then I didn’t need it as it only drizzled few times here and there. I borrowed water proof trouser from Sera and her poles too as she decided to spend the day chilling at the lodge (not a bad idea) along with Stephanie and few others. I also decided not to take camera to keep my pack light and use my iphone instead.
There were 3 routes to the summit, western, eastern and some other difficult route. I think we took the western route that leads over scree slopes and the intermediate peak Vierranvárri to the glaciated summit. Most of this route to the top is pure hiking, but there is a short exposed part that I will count as scrambling.
After walking for about a couple of hours we reached the base, where we finally start climbing up.
After walking for about an hour up hill we reached flat ground and came across a stream.
Crossing this stream was a bit challenging. Nobody wanted to take risk of hiking with wet feet for the next 7-8 hours. Somehow we manage to cross it
After crossing the stream, it was an everlasting steep ascend with some scrambling.
When we reach the top until this point i didn’t knew there were two peaks South and North, nearly the same height. According to everyone we were on the North peak but i am sure it was some other intermediate peak. At this point most of the people in our group decided to head back as it was cold, there was snow and they were tired. I also met some swedish people along the way and most of them turned back from this point. I am still not sure why. As we were more than half way through. I guess they didn’t have Elman. I was wondering where Elman was, probably very close to the summit as he was way ahead of us. I felt a bit nervous as I didn’t wanted to carry on alone. But then Sean and Lissette decided to come along. It was like a blessing, I was so glad. From there on Sean was leading me and Lissette. We had to go 600m down from the top and then back up to the Southern peak. It was like a saddle.
About 300 altitude meters below the top, we reached the peak cabins. I actually thought we reached the summit 🙂
We had some rest but when we come out of the cabin we were amazed that it was all sunny. The views were getting clearer, the mist was moving away and I felt so blessed.
After the cabins, the trail continues through a rocky landscape and the slope progressively ceases
we came across another deserted cabin
We were so excited that we decided to take lot of pictures as we didn’t know how long these views will last. But then we saw Elman coming back and he told us that it was another half an hour. We decided not to waste any time and hiked up quickly to get the best views of the summit before the weather changes. That half an hour went by quickly in our excitement. When we reached the top, it was all flat and we could see the peak glacier. It is a small top, merely tens of meters high yet it was majestic.
We got to the glacier peak around 13:15 and after spending 15 minutes, we decided to head back.
On the way back to the base we had clear views of the mountains and the valley as oppose to in the morning when it was foggy.
We were so hungry and made just in time for the last order at the restaurant. I ate so much that I felt sick in the end. The food was pretty good though. Lots of seafood.
By this time all the pain had disappeared and there was a feeling of awesomeness 🙂
I am so thankful to Sean and Lissette for helping me get to the summit. Without them I don’t know if I would have made it at all.