© Martin Kull

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Nordic summits I

It all started back in 2011 as a discussion around the dinner table, with the "soup-team" : four Vaxholm families inviting each other for dinner (preferably soup) on a weekly basis. We had been doing this since the nineteen nineties, and we were discussing new challenges and adventures. One bold suggestion was to climb Mt Blanc (4 810 m) and the enthusiasm was high!

Swedens highest peak Kebnekaise

After some reconsideration we realized that training was probably a good thing and in 2012 we went for the somewhat easier task to climb Swedens highest mountain Kebnekaise (2 104 m). The hike was done end of July 2012 and we used Kebnekaise mountain lodge (fjällstation) as base camp. The first attempt taking the eastern route over Björlings glacier was aborted due to heavy rain and winds just a couple of hundred meters below the summit. The next day the weather was better and instead we took the longer western route over Vierremvare (1 711 m) and Kaffedalen. The summit was reached after six hours. Unfortunately the peak was all covered in low clouds, but the team was happy. Another five hours later we were back at the base camp celebrating with Champagne. Photos from the Keb tour to be seen here

View from Vierremvare (1 711 m) down towards the lake Singijavrrit (953 m)

Norways highest peaks Galdhöpiggen and Glittertind

Next on our list was to conquer Norway, or at least to reach Galdhöpiggen (2 469 m), tNorways highest mountain in beautiful Jotunheimen. In august 2013, we traveled by air and by car to reach the mountain lodge Spiterstulen at 4 pm , prepared for immediate ascent knowing that dusk would set in only five hours later. We met many Norwegians on their way down as we hurried up the steep mountain. A short snow and ice passage close to the top was difficult without crampons, but finally we made it to the peak at 7.30 pm. The descent was done initially at dusk and the last couple of hours in complete darkness. We were prepared with headlights and the now traditional Champagne tasted fantastic back in Spiterstulen.

After a day of recovery and as a bonus we were also able to reach the neighboring peak Glittertind, Norways second highest mountain 2 465 m including the glacier ice that covers the top. Here crampons were really ncessary for the last few hundred meters on the peak. Luckily we could borrow simple ones from the guides at Spiterstulen. Photos from the two hikes are found here.

Descent from Galdhöpiggen

Finlands highest peak Halti

Finland's Halti (1 324 m) or Halde Fjell (1 361 m) in Norway is a modest peak on the border between the two countries. It is easier reached from the Norwegian side and in July 2014 we flew in to Tromsö to what we believed would be a simpler task than our previous adventures. Halti is very far north on latitude 70 degrees and we knew that we would hit snow during our ascent, but not already at ~600 m above sea level. The gravel road was not cleared so we had to abandon the car, the long approach had to be taken by foot instead and suddenly this turned out to be our longest walk so far.

There is no path or trail to the peak and the closer we got the wether turned more and more gray with hard wind and some rain. The first goal was the Norwegian peak and without GPS it would have been difficult to find the actual summit. From there it was downhill a few kms to Finlands highest point. We hurried down from the windswept peak, but this time celebration could not wait and we cheered with style: Champagne and canapes on the mountain!

The descent was over large fields of snow that most of the time would carry our weight, but snow shoes would have been preferred. All-in-all with the long approach back and forth we returned to the Norwegian Fjord Lyngen after 13 hours and 40 kms walking distance.

On the other side of the Fjord is a magic landscape: The Lyngen Alps with many peaks around 2 000 m. Here we got a great hiking day as we walked up to the closest glacier from Lyngseidet, under warm and sunny skies. The contrast to the photos on Halti the day before could not be larger. See the adventure here

Crossing a glacier creek

Swedens highest vertikal drop Akka

Akka (or Áhkká in Samian) is with its double peaks 2010 and 2016 m only the 8th highest in Sweden, but from the start of the climb at lake Akkajaure to the top the vertical drop is 1563 m, which is the highest in the country. A new challenge! In addition there is a very narrow and steep part "haket" between the lower northwest peak and the main peak, that requires belaying to be passed securely.

The approach in August 2014 was by flight to Gällivare, bus to Ritsem and a small boat on Akkajaure to Änonjalme, close to the Akka mountain cabins. The goal was then to set a base camp east of the creek Njirrandjhokka. The 8 km walk seemed easy, but a shortcut through the dense underbrush, instead of taking the longer path along the lake, turned out to be both hard and wet. The ford over the creek was also adventureous as the rapid water was knee-deep. We were rewarded by a great dinner and a fantastic sunset over Akkajaure.

The climb the day after was done in mainly good weather but dark clouds gathered on the horizon, which made us keep a good pace. We passed under a couple of glaciers and up the stone fields to the first Northwest peak, with the cloud base still above us.

After a short photo session at the cairn and overlooking the great views we took courage and tied us in to pass "haket" to the main peak. Sharp and very airy. The last climb to the main peak was short and steep but finally we made it! The descent was without complications and we were back to the base camp at the lake after all-in-all 12 hours. Here Champagne was served before dinner. Some of us even took a dip in the freezing cold creek. Photos from the Akka climb are found here

The team, excited for tomorrows climb

The Nordic summits story continues...

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