Traverse of the Kebnekaise Massif – A Swedish Haute Route

In the Swedish Lapland, or the land of the midnight Sun, also known as Europe’s last wilderness, many of the mountains do not even have a name on the maps of today. This great arctic landscape is more alpine like than one would think, with glaciers, long and steep slopes and sharp ridges, it provides us with great variety of fantastic skiing. With more then hundred peaks, all covered in snow, and the home of Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise (2106 m), it is a perfect place to join us on a ski touring week discovering unknown wild and remote valleys that only the locals know about. In other words a great ski adventure that few people have heard about and done.

The nights we spend in between typical Swedish mountain huts, we have to bring and cook our own evening food, to more traditional continental mountain lodges, where you are offered hearty and simple meals that satisfy most visitors. The emphasis is to enjoy both the skiing and the panoramic arctic landscape as only light traveling can. It is a ski journey with a small pack containing only clothing and personal effects and for most people it is truly a first encounter to a pure ski expedition adventure.

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We will use an alpine ski touring setup, skins and binding that allow you to hike with a free-heel upwards. A normal day on the tour is intense, you start quite early and continue by hiking up and skiing down for 6-10 hours, so you should have a good level of fitness. However, there will be plenty of time every afternoon to enjoy the mountain scenery, dry the wet clothes and to take care of yourself by having a rest.

Prerequisite skills
You need to have a good level of cardiovascular fitness since it is an intense week with many meters up and down to cover every day. It is suitable for skiers who have previous experience of backcountry and multi-day ski touring skiing, in order to be able to cope with variable off-piste snow conditions. Of course if you feel you lack some of those experiences or uncertain of your own level, please feel free to contact us. We will do our best to give you the best experience possible.

This ski tour is suitable for the later part of the season due to longer days and milder temperatures. From the beginning of April until the beginning of May is the best time of the year. This is a wonderful time in the Scandinavian mountains where the very cold and dark winter has left and the Sun slowly returns. It is not uncommon that we often enjoy powder skiing the whole April and as we come into May it starts to transform to spring snow on south facing aspects together with the arrival of the Midnight Sun.

Program for the week
The following program is a typical week. There might be changes due to weather or snow conditions with alternative routes and huts to be used.

Day 1 Saturday : Arrival day in Kiruna – Meeting
Arrival day in Kiruna. The hotel will be available for check in the afternoon and in the evening we have a gathering to discuss the plan for the week. If you want to spend additional days before or after the tour please let us know.

Day 2 Sunday : Kiruna – Nikkaluokta – Fjällstuga Sälka
We set off in the morning by taxi or bus towards Nikkaluokta (1.5 h) until the roads ends. From that point we continue by snowmobile to the Sälka Fjällstation (835 m) where we will spend the first night (3 h). It gives us the opportunity to repeat the usage of the climbing skins, “kick-turns”, avalanche transceiver and we try to do some practical exercises in the afternoon. We might even do a shorter ski ascent or just enjoy the untouched wildnerness and endless land round us.

Day 3 Monday : Fjällstuga Sälka
Today we have our first longer ski tour on one of the mountains surrounding the cabin. We can choose from Sälka (1865 m), a beautiful peak with a breath-taking view of large parts of both the Swedish and Norwegian mountains, Gaskkasnjunni (1721 m) or Ceakcahjälmen (1906 m) that offers some more technical ski descents. If this is your first time here you will be stunned to find a stillness that can be very hard to find in other places and we finish the day with a run back down to the Sälka Fjällstation and a rewarding sauna.

Day 4 Tuesday : Fjällstuga Sälka – Fjällstuga Nallo
The goal for today is Fjällstugan Nallo (915 m) that lies in the valley Stuor Räitavagge, connecting the impressive valleys Tjäktjavagge and Vistasvagge. This mountain cabin has always appealed to those searching for challenges and demanding climbing, still it is a paradise for skiers because of its regular noticeable snow amount. However, we first skin up to one of the nameless peaks searching for the best snow at the moment and get some great skiing down to the cabin.

Day 5 Wednesday : Fjällstuga Nallo
Around the mountain cabin there are several peaks that hosts excellent skiing and most of them are only referred to as 1706 m, 1773 m, 1997 m and so on. As we make a day tour around the hut we can travel light and enjoy the arctic landscape to its fullest, it is if time stood still and there was no tomorrow. We finish the day with a run back down to the Nallo Fjällstuga to share the days adventure among us.

Day 6 Thursday : Fjällstuga Nallo – Fjällstuga Tarfala
Today we have long day ahead where we climb and ski for 7-8 h. We start early in the morning south towards the massif of Kebnekaise. We follow the classical Jojoleden to get there; passing first the col between Pyramiden (1900 m) and Knivkammen (1878 m); skiing its south aspect before we again put the skins on and head up towards the col of Kaskasavagge; a short ski descent takes us below Drakryggen (1821 m) and the final slopes up to Kuopervagge. The last thing on the schedule for the day is skiing down to Tarfala Fjällstation (1170 m).

Day 7 Friday : Fjällstuga Tarfala – Fjällstation Kebnekaise
With our last reserves we head for the Kebnekaise Fjällstation (690 m) using one of the four glaciers located in the Tarfala valley, of which Storglaciären is the most well known and one of the best studied glaciers in the world, and there are different routes to choose from. If the weather is on our side we will climb the south peak of Kebnekaise (2106 m). In good weather and snow conditions it can for sure be one of the weeks many highlights. After having enjoyed the stunning views we head down again and a nice ski run takes us down to Kebnekaise Fjällstation. A week of hard physical work with stunning views, new experiences and excellent skiing has come to an end. We find ourselves back in civilization and can enjoy a well-deserved shower, sauna and an excellent dinner in the restaurant.

Day 8 Saturday : Fjällstation Kebnekaise – Kiruna
After a good nights sleep and a well-deserved breakfast we get transportation back to the road in Nikkaloukta by snowmobile and on to Kiruna with taxi and bus. Time-wise we might even have time for a short ski tour for those who still have not had enough.

Day 9 Sunday : Kiruna
Day of departure back home.

Small groups
We recommend to be at most 4 skiers/guide during these weeks (depending on the experience of the memebers we might even agree to go with 6 skiers/guide). Some weeks there are two guides with independent groups working together. However, we travel independently so that the groups can ski different lines.

Personal equipment
The following is an equipment list. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Equipment marked with * can be provided by your guide when needed.

• Skis with AT bindings (Dynafit or Diamir type) that should be light but stable for the downhill skiing.
• Climbing skins adapted to your skis.
• Poles, adjustable with big baskets that can be mounted on a backpack.
• Ski crampons
• Ski touring boots
• Backpack, 35-45 liters, with straps for skis and poles.
• Ice axe, straight classic model 40-50 cm.*
• Crampons, light but durable. We do not recommend aluminum crampons.*
• Avalanche transceiver*
• Shovel*
• Probe*
• Harness, light with adjustable leg loops.*
• Ski goggles, “orange/yellow” lenses to be used at bad weather.
• Sunglasses, category 3-4.
• Gortex jacket or similar.
• Gortex pants or similar with ventilation possibilities.
• Down jacket lightweight.
• 2 pairs of base layer, synthetic or wool.
• 2 pairs of ski socks.
• Mid layer
• Thin gloves
• Insulated gloves
• Hat and balaclava to protect your face in bad weather.
• Sun hat to protect you against the Sun.
• Head torch with spare batteries.
• Sun block
• Water bottle (1-2 liters), since we do not recommend Camelback systems.
• Travel sheets to sleep in at the huts.
• Small repair kit.
• Small medical kit.

• Professional Mountain Guide authorized by UIAGM/IFMGA.
• All transport during the week including return to Kiruna.
• Hotel accommodation in twin double rooms including breakfast before and after the week (a single room can, where possible be arranged at additional cost).
• Nights at mountain huts including breakfast and dinner (lunch at the non-staffed huts).
• Fantastic views and excellent skiing in the arctic landscape of the Kebnekaise massif.

Not included
• Lunch and drinks in the staffed mountain lodges.
• Personal ski touring equipment (see list above).
• Travel to/from Kiruna.
• Mandatory insurance to cover mountain rescue costs.

Number of days: 7 days ski tour, 8 nights accommodation.
Price: Please contact us.

Please use the form if you have any questions or want us to contact you.

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