I woke up just before 7, but stayed in bed for another hour, since the stage of the day would be comparatively short – and I was tired from the long walk of the day before anyway. The wind had not diminished, but it was blowing due east, so I would have it in my back all the way. The ground was mostly white and the morning mist blanked out the more distant features, but there was no snow in the air. It was rather cold, though; probably a few degrees below freezing.
As the morning went on, the mist gradually cleared, and clouds drifted to and fro. The two men were up and about, while my three roommates stayed in bed reading. The men departed for the Kaitumjaure cottages in the south at 09:30, at which time the remaining three started their breakfast. The weather had cleared further, giving the sun a few chances to spill its colored light onto the otherwise fairly monochromatic world.
I spent a while considering how many layers of clothing to wear, but I eventually judged that the coldness would warrant having both the thermal underwear and the micro fleece suit underneath. So, I dressed up, fastened the hat on the rucksack and put on the cap instead, said good-bye to the guys (who also intended to go to Kebnekaise), and left at 10:00, aided by the tailwind. It was now all but clear to the south and west, but there was a distinct whiteness parked in the valley ahead. The sun gleamed intermittently on the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow, and the world was a curious mix of the seasons, with everything from green plants and flowers to frozen ground and ice. It made me yearn for the true winter season – well, only six months or so to go...
As I approached the valley, I could see that the sky was mostly clear also beyond it, and that it was only "inside" that the clouds held position. Sure enough, it soon started snowing lightly, which was of no concern as, due to the constant wind, most of it was blocked by the rucksack. It was clear that I had made the correct choice regarding my clothing – I wasn't cold, and the various zippers allowed me to dispense enough internal heat during the uphill portions so as not to perspire overly.
I saw a helicopter coming from the east, and a while later it returned – some kind of delivery between Kebnekaise and Singi, I suppose. The snow continued as I penetrated into the valley proper, but both that and the wind all but died down in the central parts. I could still see that both the place I came from and the place I was headed for had clearer weather than what was directly overhead, and it wasn't long before the snow resumed. Just before noon, I sat down on the lee side of a cliff slope to have lunch.
After lunch (which again was not cold), the snow ceased anew and Láddjuvággi opened up before me. But just as before, the clouds then descended yet again, bringing more snow and obscuring the landscape ahead. Once I had cleared the narrow part of the valley – between Liddubákti and Skárttoaivi in the south and Siŋŋičohkka in the north – the wind returned to its previous strength and pretty much everything was white.
I was surprised to see that Giebmejohka, which caused me such trouble before, now seemed all but drained; there were mostly bare rocks in its various courses down from Kitteldalen. It had picked up some speed down where this trail crossed it, though, and at least the bridge there was still in place. On "this side of the mountains", the ground was not frozen, and the vegetation is less sparse in the first place. After several days of near-sterility, it was nice seeing birch and osier again. I passed a couple a few hundred meters before Kebnekaise fjeld station, where I arrived at 14:30, at about the same time the snow stopped once more. That it was the end of the tourist season was in clear evidence, as there were only a few backpacks outside.
I went inside and took it easy for a while, looking at the information boards and weather forecasts. I also made a couple of calls to supposedly worried relatives, considering the weather conditions over the last few days. My suspicion was very much justified, as I soon learnt that the outside world had gotten reports of temperatures of –5°C and wind strengths of 18 m/s – not exactly preferable tenting conditions, but due to my (most wise, as it turned out) change of plans, I was perfectly safe in a warm cottage when the worst part hit. After putting some minds at ease, I checked in at the reception and was allotted a bed right above the small shop and/or the kitchen, in a room of 16 beds in four compartments. There were a few persons there, but I got a compartment of my own.
The view east was more or less clear, but the mountains to the west remained wrapped in clouds. Just like before, snow came and went. I played solitaire for a while, and then went to the service building to have a shower and sauna. That shower was rather relieving, and I especially appreciated the ability to rinse my hair properly. I had bought an ice-cream which I brought into the sauna, to contrast with the heat; I had to eat quickly, for obvious reasons. While I was sitting there, four other persons came, and from their conversation I surmised that they were STF employees.
After the sauna, I asked the guy in the sports shop about the conditions at and around the South Peak. He said that he hadn't been up there for several days and hadn't received any recent reports either, but the last time he tried it was very snowy, slippery and primarily cold; he had turned back after Vierranvárri. That put another ascent of mine pretty much out of the question, so I looked through the booklet of shorter tours in the vicinity of the station that they keep on the front desk; I intended to stay for a day extra, seeing as how my trip had been cut so much shorter.
The menu for the dinner buffet in the restaurant said "gorgonzola salmon", and I am not a fan of such cheese. For the next day, however, it said "reindeer steak", which was much more to my liking. Consequently, I passed up the buffet this day and instead prepared a freeze-dried package with tea in the service building at 17:45. There were two Germans there, but the kitchen was otherwise empty. Off-season indeed.
There is an age-long rivalry between Northern and Southern Sweden (the latter often represented by Stockholm), with lots of prejudice on both sides. Sadly enough, "mine" were verified many times over in reading the guest book – I've never seen such outstanding examples of ego-centered, spoiled, whiny, life-is-a-misery-without-my-Gucci-shoes sissy big-city brats. That is not to say that all Stockholmers necessarily are that way, however, as evidenced by subsequent entries (some of which even sincerely apologized for the disgraceful tirades of their "comrades"). And while I'm on the subject of complaints, the station seemed like a kindergarten that day; small children running around screaming – gaping, yelling, shouting, shrieking – MOOOMMYYYYY!!! all the time, which irked me no end.
In the evening there was some very light snow that later turned into light rain, and the clouds lowered themselves further. The common room was calm and quiet, especially since there weren't that many people present to begin with. Each night at 20:15, the staff organizes some kind of event in the common room, and this time there was a slide show of the winter at and around the station, and the activities they offer then. After that, I sat reading for some time, and then went to the service building – which was empty and dark – to prepare my evening snack. I read some more, and turned in at 22:15.