Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

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Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 30 May, 2014 1:29 pm

Hi everyone :)

I know this is probably a stretch, but does anyone have any info or experience bushwalking in the Scandinavian Arctic?

I'm heading to Finland for family time in August, and it looks like I'll have a few weeks free afterwards. At the moment I'm eyeing off a route along the Kungsleden/Nordkalotten from Abisko to Akka, and then about 100km of off-track through Sarek National Park to Kvikkjokk.

The main reasons I'm looking at this route are that the northern section of the Kungsleden is quite popular (think Overland Track) and should make a nice, straightforward way to get me familiar with the region, before getting properly stuck in to the off-track stuff through Sarek. There's also easy enough access at each end from Stockholm via overnight trains and a local bus or two.

I've bushwalked in Norway before, but it was much further south in Rondane Nasjonalpark, so I'm not quite sure what to expect up above the Arctic Circle...

Can anyone offer any words of wisdom? Much of what's available on the net is in Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish :/

Cheers, Nick
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Fri 30 May, 2014 1:53 pm

Hey Nick, might see you there! :)

We have a start on the Fjallraven Classic that runs on the Kungsleden from Nikaluokta and up to Abisko, about 110km. Actually, if you are headed north to south it might be a good idea to avoid that week, there will be a lot of oncoming traffic!

There doesn't seem to be a lot of detailed info on the trail in English about, but I did find a handy book that has been translated from Swedish into English. The notes and description runs north to south and has a lot of info on the trail and side trips:

Kungsleden: The Royal Trail Through Arctic Sweden

There are a few trip reports about of previous entrants and everytrail has a route online.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 30 May, 2014 2:49 pm

photohiker wrote:Hey Nick, might see you there! :)

We have a start on the Fjallraven Classic that runs on the Kungsleden from Nikaluokta and up to Abisko, about 110km. Actually, if you are headed north to south it might be a good idea to avoid that week, there will be a lot of oncoming traffic!


That looks like fun! I hadn't heard about it. Have you been up north before? I've got the Helsinki Marathon on Aug 17 so I'll be a couple of weeks behind you guys I think... I'll be looking forward to comparing photos on return :)

Thanks for the link to the translated guide :)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Fri 30 May, 2014 5:10 pm

I've been up above the Arctic circle before, but not on an overnight hike. We went from North to South on the Hurtigruten down the coast of Norway in late August. The ship stops along the way to pick up and drop off freight and passengers and you have the opportunity to get off and do a bit of exploration between 20 minutes and an hour or so at each stop. Best not be late back because the ship will leave. 8)

Anyway, I took off at every opportunity, sometimes at night, so I can confirm that things get quite cool up there in late summer evenings in still conditions. We didn't see any snow, but several hail storms and occasional rain. Daytime was very pleasant walking conditions, cool but not cold and often sunny. According to Fjallraven, we are likely to see 20C or even a bit higher during the day and below 10C at night. Should be a bit cooler than that a few weeks later, and as expected temperatures are variable. Hoping there isn't a polar vortex! :shock:

Sounds a lot like Tasmania, doesn't it?

Weather Statistics for Abisko: http://www.yr.no/place/Sweden/Norrbotte ... stics.html
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 30 May, 2014 5:54 pm

photohiker wrote:According to Fjallraven, we are likely to see 20C or even a bit higher during the day and below 10C at night. Should be a bit cooler than that a few weeks later, and as expected temperatures are variable. Hoping there isn't a polar vortex! :shock:

Sounds a lot like Tasmania, doesn't it?


A lot like shoulder season Tassie was very much my impression of the Rondane trip: day time temps between 10-20, night time between 0-10, and some beautiful clear days interspaced by wet and windy, and the constant possibility of change :)

Over 12 days I had one really average day of walking in sleet, and one really cold night camped at 1500m on frozen ground.

20hr daylight makes sleeping in a tent a challenge though, I'd take a eye-mask next time!
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Fri 30 May, 2014 6:05 pm

nickthetasmaniac wrote:20hr daylight makes sleeping in a tent a challenge though, I'd take a eye-mask next time!


I found that in Scotland too. Too much light!

I've tried the eye masks like the ones they hand out on the plane - too irritating for me - the eyebrows and eye lashes go hyper stimulated. I did think of a solution though, just haven't tested it yet: hang some LW dark nylon at one end of the inner to darken the area around my head.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 30 May, 2014 7:58 pm

photohiker wrote:
nickthetasmaniac wrote:20hr daylight makes sleeping in a tent a challenge though, I'd take a eye-mask next time!


I found that in Scotland too. Too much light!

I've tried the eye masks like the ones they hand out on the plane - too irritating for me - the eyebrows and eye lashes go hyper stimulated. I did think of a solution though, just haven't tested it yet: hang some LW dark nylon at one end of the inner to darken the area around my head.


Yeah I'm not a fan. I have a huge head so they never fit anyway :?

I reckon if you have the dark nylon only at one end you'll still get a lot of glow from the other end (tent inners seem to glow). My Soulo has exterior clips to attach the poles to the outer which could (in desperation) be used to attach something similar to completely cover the outside of the tent. It'd add a 100g or so but if it guarantees 8hrs sleep it might be worth it...
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby wazzawalkin » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 10:05 am

Hi Nick,

There is a Nordic based facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/nordiclightpacking
There is an ex-pat Aussie in Denmark, http://www.nielsenbrownoutdoors.com he may have some comments to help.

Good luck,
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 11:59 am

wazzawalkin wrote:Hi Nick,

There is a Nordic based facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/nordiclightpacking
There is an ex-pat Aussie in Denmark, http://www.nielsenbrownoutdoors.com he may have some comments to help.

Good luck,
Wazza


Hi Wazza, thanks for the links :)

I've been reading through the Nielsen Brown website, some great info there (although I didn't realise he was an Aussie...)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby wazzawalkin » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 10:03 pm

The give away is the refrence to Vegemite on one of his trips.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 2:03 pm

wazzawalkin wrote:The give away is the refrence to Vegemite on one of his trips.


I did see that, I thought he said something about Australian friends introducing him to it!
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby hightower » Sat 07 Jun, 2014 10:22 pm

A few years ago I hiked from Vakkotavare to Abisko including side trips to Kebnekaise / Tarfala area. I was there late August / early September for about 2 weeks. Day time probably averaged about 5 degrees, at times windy / chilly but comfortable hiking in long sleeve shirt a lot of the time due to body heat from hiking, great for not getting sweaty. Hut system is great and wasn't super packed, can buy supplies at most huts, I think the main summer period had ended so plenty of room, at least half. No bug problems. The Sami had retired back to main cities / towns it seemed as none around.
I found the south end great and would love to go back one day and continue from there and check out the more remote sarek.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Sun 08 Jun, 2014 5:12 pm

hightower wrote:A few years ago I hiked from Vakkotavare to Abisko including side trips to Kebnekaise / Tarfala area. I was there late August / early September for about 2 weeks. Day time probably averaged about 5 degrees, at times windy / chilly but comfortable hiking in long sleeve shirt a lot of the time due to body heat from hiking, great for not getting sweaty. Hut system is great and wasn't super packed, can buy supplies at most huts, I think the main summer period had ended so plenty of room, at least half. No bug problems. The Sami had retired back to main cities / towns it seemed as none around.
I found the south end great and would love to go back one day and continue from there and check out the more remote sarek.


Thanks for the info. Out of interest, how many daylight hours did you experience at that time of year?
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby hightower » Tue 10 Jun, 2014 12:08 am

When I was there day light was good. No idea on sunrise but was light when up around 7 - 8 am and sun set was something like 8pm.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Thu 14 Aug, 2014 7:01 am

And we finished the Fjallraven Classic yesterday. The trail was pretty wearing between very rocky ground and kms of boardwalks. That said, the scenery made up for it and I would be happy to do a longer walk up there at a slower pace.

Will post a trip report and photos when we return. Currently recovering in Norway. That's another place I love to visit!

Cheers,
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Thu 14 Aug, 2014 7:26 am

From our hotel room in Narvik:

(Don't know if this will work, never tried posting a pic from the phone before)

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 05 Sep, 2014 10:32 am

photohiker wrote:And we finished the Fjallraven Classic yesterday. The trail was pretty wearing between very rocky ground and kms of boardwalks. That said, the scenery made up for it and I would be happy to do a longer walk up there at a slower pace.

Will post a trip report and photos when we return. Currently recovering in Norway. That's another place I love to visit!



Looking forward to hearing about the Kungsleden!

I just got back from Sweden yesterday, after a 48hr transit from Gallivare to Sydney... Due to work/uni commitments I didn't have as much time in the Arctic as I'd hoped, so in the end the trip was limited to an 8 day circuit of Sarek out from STF Saltoluokta. It was a pretty magic trip, perfect weather for the whole thing, a full-sky Aurora Borealis on the last night, and practically no one else around :)

I'll post a proper trip report on my blog when I get through the photos, but in the meantime, here's a long-exposure of my third campsite, with the Skierfe in the distance.

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Wed 15 Apr, 2015 7:00 pm

Would anyone here happen to have a copy of that book: Kungsleden: The Royal Trail Through Arctic Sweden, that they might like to sell? Also the BD10 map too. Would like to attempt the Abisko to Kvikkjock section of the trail this Summer…maybe further down if it is not too remote.

I nearly ordered it on Amazon for $13:18USD but then with the shipping added in it was $41AUD :(
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 12:05 am

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 8:45 pm

Thanks :)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Mon 20 Apr, 2015 7:32 pm

Suz wrote:Would anyone here happen to have a copy of that book: Kungsleden: The Royal Trail Through Arctic Sweden, that they might like to sell? Also the BD10 map too. Would like to attempt the Abisko to Kvikkjock section of the trail this Summer…maybe further down if it is not too remote.

I nearly ordered it on Amazon for $13:18USD but then with the shipping added in it was $41AUD :(


I'm keeping my BD10, but you should be able to pick it up fairly easily. I'd send an email to STF Abisko and see if they can hold a copy for your arrival.

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Tue 21 Apr, 2015 10:50 am

Thanks Nick. My physio has told me not to do the hike but I think I might do it anyway. I will email them if I decide to go for it! :)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby photohiker » Tue 21 Apr, 2015 1:04 pm

If the physio had personal physical reasons for you not to do the hike, then I'd listen and perhaps get a second opinion. If the reasons were about the hike, not your condition, then personally I'd go for it. Great country to walk through, especially once you get away from Abisko IMO.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Tue 19 May, 2015 8:56 pm

Saw the surgeon today and he said it's okay to hike then! YAY. Just ordered a copy of the book through ebay ($24 coming from a reputable UK seller). Those other links like book depository apparently have a lot of unsatisfied customers. Anyhow, hopefully this company has my book in stock :)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby whynotwalk » Wed 20 May, 2015 1:33 pm

Probably too late for you now Suz ... but in general, I get a lot of books through Wordery, a UK website that (a) isn't owned by Amazon (as I believe Book Depository is) and (b) delivers free to Australia. They've given this bibliophile :roll: excellent service over the last year or so.

As an example here's a link to the Kungsleden book https://wordery.com/kungsleden-claes-grundsten-9780953863198

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Tue 26 May, 2015 11:22 am

ah too late yes but thanks :) might need it in future one day :)
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Mon 01 Jun, 2015 11:12 am

Hey Nick,

I am thinking about heading into Sarek from Aktse and across to Staloluokta. What route did you take in Sarek and what cautions and recommendations do you have?

Thx,
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Wed 03 Jun, 2015 8:04 pm

Suz wrote:Hey Nick,

I am thinking about heading into Sarek from Aktse and across to Staloluokta. What route did you take in Sarek and what cautions and recommendations do you have?

Thx,
Suz


Hi Suz, What time of the year are you going and what route are you thinking of? If you go direct from Aktse - Saltoluokta (along the Kungsleden) you don't actually go into Sarek.

The route that I took (6 nights/7 days on track):

Start: flew into Gallivare, bus to Kebnats, ferry to STF Saltoluokta.

- Saltoluokta - Aktse - along the Kungsleden - easy, mostly flat and well tracked walking. You will need to catch the ferry at Sitojaure, which is operated several times a day by a local bloke. He also has fresh flat-bread and smoked salmon and reindeer. You will need cash for this.

- Aktse - Skårkistugan - up the Rapadalen. Flat walking, but quite scrubby and mostly poor track quality and marking. I lost it a few times. This bit felt most like Tassie :)

- Skårkistugan - Snávvájávvre, then around the Skårki massif to Rinim (Sámi settlement), via the Basstavágge. This bit has a faint pad to follow. It's mostly above the tree-line and open, easy walking.

From Rinim you can catch a ferry back to the Kungsleden at Sitojaure, or continue on foot to Pietsaure, which is near Saltoluokta. The latter option was what I did. It's entirely off track for a day and a bit, and involves two significant river-crossings (chest deep in glacial melt) and a few small ones.

In all honesty there's a dozen similar itineraries you could do if you have the experience and time.

Some general tips:
- All the servo's in Gallivare carry butane canisters.
- Don't worry too much about bears in the Rapadalen, they just aren't an issue. Do worry about mosquitoes, I avoided camping in the valley due to these. Camp above the tree-line and you should be fine.
- Take an eye-mask, especially if you go mid-summer. It's very difficult to sleep in a tent when it never gets dark.
- Depending on the time of year, birch 'dust' will get in everything in the Rapadalen. Make sure it can't get in your camera.
- Carry cash, the locals won't accept cards.
- Prepare for the weather much like you would going to the Tasmanian mountains - it might be great, it might be terrible. It's very likely to be wet, but probably not as cold as you expect from the Arctic (assuming you're not going in winter).
- Make sure you go up the Skierffe (near Aktse) at sunset. Camp up there if you can. It is honestly one of the best views in Europe.
- Make sure your travel insurance covers medical evacs. Sarek is mostly remote wilderness and if something goes wrong it's going to be costly.
- Carry an EPIRB.

Here's my gallery from the trip if you're interested: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicktheta ... 7245570265

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Yellow birch dust.

Image
The Laitaurdelta below Skierffe

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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby Suz » Thu 04 Jun, 2015 7:38 pm

Yo! thanks :) OMG i do not think I'm ready to wade chest deep through rivers. I will not follow that exact route ARGH! Ha ha sounds exciting tho.

If I go from Aktse across to Staloluokta (note, not Saltoluokta) it should take me right through Sarek I think. Just wondering whether it is feasible to do so (what with rivers etc). Staloluokta is on the western side of Sarek, bordering Padjalanta.

Ok I will get an eye mask and mozzie head net then! I will carry cash - not sure how much to carry yet. Do you remember roughly how many SEK you spent per day on boat transport and food supplies from the cabins? (I will stock up at Saltoluokta for the Sarek section). I bought an EPIRB yesterday. I am bringing as much wet weather and warm clothing gear as I can. Hopefully won't freeze.

"Make sure your travel insurance covers medical evacs." Do you have any recommendations on a provider to go with?

I will camp on Skierffe if the weather permits yes! Every site on Sarek mentions this place :)

I have read about the base of the Rapadalen being crappy walking, although of course, walking the valley is a big part of a first Sarek experience - I'm trying to find a way where you can walk in sight of the valley but not right down in it - if you know of a route like this, pass it on!

Your pics are sweeto and I hope to get some similar of my own YAY! I will 'try' not to be afraid of the bears but this may be beyond my fear control abilities lol.
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Re: Nordkalotten/Kungsleden/Sarek info

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Fri 05 Jun, 2015 2:33 pm

Suz wrote:If I go from Aktse across to Staloluokta (note, not Saltoluokta) it should take me right through Sarek I think. Just wondering whether it is feasible to do so (what with rivers etc). Staloluokta is on the western side of Sarek, bordering Padjalanta.


At ok, I thought it was a typo! Looking at the BD10 map, it seems you could go up the Rapadalen from Aktse, past Snávvájávvre Lake (great camping here above the Rapadalen), cross the Sommarbro Bridge, then follow the trail up the Guohpervágge and Álggavágge valleys. It looks like you'll have to ford a couple of creeks/rivers here. This will bring you out at Álggajávvre Lake, on the western edge of Sarek. There's another bridge here, from which the marked trail ends and it's about 15km off-track to Staloluokta. If you go south a bit there's another trail you will pick up.

It looks feasible, but I would be counting on crossing some rivers, although it's hard to tell from the 1:100,000 how significant they'll be. Perhaps email STF Saltoluokta? I've found them very helpful in the past.

I will carry cash - not sure how much to carry yet. Do you remember roughly how many SEK you spent per day on boat transport and food supplies from the cabins? (I will stock up at Saltoluokta for the Sarek section).


Off the top of my head I was carrying about 1500SEK (about $220AUD). I carried all my own food and camped every night, so I didn't use it all. From memory Saltoluokta had EFTPOS.

What are you doing prior to this section? If you can stock up in a normal supermarket (Gallivare) rather than at Saltoluokta it will be much cheaper and have better range.

"Make sure your travel insurance covers medical evacs." Do you have any recommendations on a provider to go with?


I used TIP but never made a claim, so can't really comment on them :roll: It will be pretty obvious in the fine print if they will cover medical evacs.

I have read about the base of the Rapadalen being crappy walking, although of course, walking the valley is a big part of a first Sarek experience - I'm trying to find a way where you can walk in sight of the valley but not right down in it - if you know of a route like this, pass it on!.


My impression was that looking down on the valley was fantastic, walking through it kinda sucked :D The only track is the one that runs along the valley floor.

From my camp site at Skierffe I stayed high and made my own path to Suorkitjåkkå (about 5km) before dropping down into the valley. This was all open country and easy enough if you're comfortable route-finding.
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