Tours › 2007 › Kebnekaise Tour 3: Tjäktja › Day 4

Friday 30/3

Stage map 4

Sälka – Kebnekaise (via lake 980)

Horizontal distance:23.5 km
Vertical distance:+60 m, -100 m, +220 m, -400 m, +120 m
Time:4 h 30 min
Lunch break: 30 min
Dinner:
Night accommodation:
Stage classification:Medium
Map points:Sälka, Kuoperjĺkka, Kebnekaise

Despite the chilly room I was warm and snug in my sleeping bag, slumbering all the way until 7, by which time the group was already having breakfast. Outside it was all white with a steady snowfall, and it was mostly calm with some gusts. I went to fetch some water before my own breakfast; it felt rather nice outside, especially with the lack of snow we had been experiencing recently. The group left at 08:15, intending to break for lunch in Singi and then continue straight to Kebnekaise. Since the weather showed no signs of changing, I made no haste in my own preparations.

My departure time was noted at 09:00, and although it was still white all around the limit of vision was several hundred meters away. After not too long a distance a westerly wind picked up, and the snowfall kept at it, but the line of skiers ahead of me had made a good track for me to utilize. I met two guys who for some reason were wearing identical clothes and pulling identical sleds filled to the brim, and after that the wind turned hard. As I was passing Gaskkasvággi the clouds started to lift, and the sun paid the earth a brief visit, but the tracks were now only sporadic, having already been much worn down by the wind. However, as I was approaching the Kuoperjĺkka shelter the wind died down, but as if to compensate the sky covered up again.

Sälka cottages 4
Leaving...
Trail 1
...in whiteness
Sun 5
Sun-hint
Sealggá 3
Sealggá coming out
Sun 6
A bit of sun
Trail 2
Better vision
Čeakčavággi 10
Guessing at Stuor-Jiertá
Čeakčavággi 11
Nearing...
Kuoperjĺkka 1
...Kuoperjĺkka

Just as I came up to the small building the group was coming out of it, having taken a short break; they were duly impressed by my having overtaken them already. Cloudiness was shifting all the time, but even at its worst I could make out the route atop an outrunner from Siŋŋičohkka where there is a summer-marked shortcut, so I decided to try for that. In a northwesterly wind I continued along the trail at first, soon breaking off towards the weakly defined pass, cutting across the hilly land. The map shows a reindeer fence that has to be crossed, and around the position in question I found two long lines of poles, but there was no mesh in place so no worries. Shortly thereafter I caught sight of some marking cairns, and I skied on what must have been the summer trail for some time before the snow covered all signs of it.

The improvement/worsening cycle was now reaching a new low, and the clouds descended over the crest; visibility was pretty bad, but not nonexistent, and I trudged along up a slope which felt more tiring than it was. Near the top of this slope I observed some cairns again, and having reached the crest I paused briefly. As expected things then started to clear, and I could just make out Liddubákti ahead and to the left. I followed the trail where it was in evidence, and this time it was not long before the cycle bounced back, but by then I was already on my way down the other side. This was somewhat tricky in the beginning, but after I traversed the initial steeper part I could glide without much effort. I passed below the cairns, and when I spotted a large cloven rock at 11:30 I decided to employ it as a lunch shelter.

Mádir 1
Good view of Mádir
Unna Avrrik 2
Unna Avrrik also visible
Sky 3
My route
Stuor-Jiertá 2
The looming shape of Stuor-Jiertá
Mádir 2
Not so good view of Mádir
Liddubákti 3
Catching sight of Liddubákti
Liddubákti 4
Better view of Liddubákti
Liddubákti 5
Into the valley
Liddunjunnji 1
Light over Liddunjunnji

I had no more sat down and started to eat before the wind picked up, and whirling snow was getting everywhere, so I finished up quickly. Once on the move again I maintained my altitude for a bit longer, descending at a shallow angle to gain some distance. It was now clearing again, and down in the valley I had a substantial tailwind for assistance. As I was about to come out into the broader part after the bend this wind actually decreased, but when I was well out in the whiteness it came back in force. At the Šiellajohka/Láddjujohka join it was still little snow, and rather than walking across the heath I skied on the existent ice of the latter stream, as well as on soft ice that lay across the surrounding ground, going to and fro.

Around Lillberget I returned to the trail – the snow cover was better there, but instead the wind intensified further, bringing conditions up to (or even above) the level of my first return journey. This time, however, I had the advantage of a fresh set of snowmobile tracks that the wind had not yet had time to erase, so whenever a power gale hit and airborne snow removed all shapes, all I had to do was look down to see where I should be going. In the flat region before Kaipak there were more bare areas which prompted more curving navigation, and when I started ascending towards the station the wind, which now struck me laterally, nearly had me toppling. I took the same shortcut I had used on the way down, coming up to the main building before 13:30, immediately entering it for an invigorating snack.

Liddubákti 6
Cloud-clutched...
Liddubákti 7
...Liddubákti
Trail 3
Bad conditions behind...
Trail 4
...as well as ahead
Láddjuvággi 3
Low visibility in Láddjuvággi...
Snow 1
...due to drifting snow
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