Tours › 2008 › Mårma › Day 3

Monday 25/8

Stage map 3

Lake 1066 – Mårma cabin (including peak 1810)

Horizontal distance:13.5 km
Vertical distance:+280 m, -60 m, +520 m, -640 m
Time:5 h 45 min
Food breaks: 30 min, 30 min
Dinner:Pasta bolognese
Night accommodation:Shelter
Stage classification:Medium
Map point:Mårma

The night was actually not fully as cold as anticipated, but just before first light the chill struck; it was still sufferable, though. At the rise of the sun around 7 I got up and looked upon a sky partially covered in veils, and so the incoming rays only slowly warmed the new day. Over Bealžžáčorru low clouds were pouring, creating a nice-looking effect – although one I had no desire to experience first-hand during the day. There was no wind, and there was therefore nothing that had done away with the dampness on the tent, which was now wet indeed. The growing sunlight did, however, have some effect on the east-facing side, and I made no hurry at all during breakfast to grant as much time as possible to this process. As I later broke camp the Bealžžáčorru clouds were still at it and now some light ones were appearing around the peaks to the northwest. Off in the other direction the sun was passing out of the veils that hung there, and it had gotten rather warm already, so it was in light clothing that I started walking at 09:15.

Clouds 1
Morning 1

The first thing I did was to cross Leavášjohka once more, with great ease, and then followed a stretch of rocks before more grass appeared. It was still rather stony, however, and soon it was the rocks that dominated the ground, with patches of grass here and there; at least one of these that I passed looked large enough for a tent. Then came a portion I can only describe as a "dirt labyrinth" – a field of rocks where it was possible to find a winding way through on dirt streaks. The sun was shining unobstructed and walking was warm but comfortable in the still air, and ahead of me the peak-clouds were dissolving. Crossing a small brook I noted a spot a bit upstream that at least from a distance looked promising for camping, and even though the ground where I walked was not very suitable for such activities it did improve markedly for a while.

At the smaller of the two tarns marked on the map (there was actually a third, even smaller pool off to the left) there were more possible sites, and along the upper course of the stream which I was distancing myself from there were more of those. Where I was the ground was getting much stonier, but by keeping to the left I managed to go around the worst bits. As I got higher a chilling wind picked up, and when I was passing south of peak 1468 (a popular guide book which mentions this route recommends going north of it, but this should be ignored as that way is very difficult and, I would say, outright perilous) I no longer had any choice but to walk on rocks – and the peakophilic clouds had returned as well. When the slope levelled out the wind died down and the ground immediately got much better, but the next short slope saw more wind again.

Leavášvággi 8
Stonier terrain ahead
Vierročohkka 2
Passing Vierročohkka
Tarn 1
Passing a tarn
Tarns 1
Having passed the tarn(s)
Leavášbahta 1
Leavášvággi 9
Looking out over the valley
Leavášbahta 2
Last bit up
Stone ring 1
It's a sign!

Soon I found some cairns marking the route between Mårma and Vistas, which goes over what is generally referred to as the Mårma pass. This is actually somewhat of a misnomer, as the passage is more a straightforward ridge climb than it is a pass, and standing at the foot of this ridge I felt very thankful that I was not going that way – it looked if not impossible then at least very taxing from that angle.

Here the wind came in strong gusts, but I pressed on without the jacket, going down to the glacier stream coming from Moarhmmáglaciären through a virtual maze of cairns on the stony land. I found this stream to have quite a bit of water in it even this close to its source, and it took some time before I had located a place where I could cross. This was still not an easy matter, as the stones in the water were both slippery, loose, and resting on an unstable bottom, but I managed to get across safely in my boots. Immediately after I put my rucksack up against a large rock and started digging out the lunch pack around 11:15.

Panorama 4
Panorama from west to north from the highest point, centered upon peaks 1810 and 1892
Báhkkabahokčohkka 1
Mårma pass 1
The so-called "Mårma pass"
Clouds 2
Cloud caps
Vierročohkka 3
Vierročohkka from the other side

The sky was clear to the north, but more clouds were drifting over the "pass". Still, the summit of peak 1810 at the foot of which I was sitting enjoyed periods of cloudlessness, and it was only the actual top that was affected anyway, so after eating half of my lunch I embarked upon an ascent. I carried no pack except for the water flask and a shirt tied around my waist (plus the map and some candy, but that's a given), but I had put on the jacket and gloves against the wind.

This wind was considerable but no more than that as I crossed the first field of large rocks to the start of the slope, and in this slope the ground was easier to walk upon. Further up it turned into gravel set with larger stones, and I had no difficulty going directly towards an extensive snowfield along the southern edge of the eastern outrunner I was walking on. When this snowfield narrowed down past an area of small cliffs I turned right instead, and after passing some of the cliffs I found some other, larger snowfields which facilitated progress. Upon one of these I saw some marks that looked reasonably fresh, and they were definitely those of human boots, but they soon took a different route than the one I wanted to follow. I drifted back towards the southern edge, coming to another cliff batch with more loose stones, and after that started the last rise to the summit; just then the sun was clouded but down in the valley(s) the light remained.

The first bit of this rise was easy enough, but then the nature of the stones underneath my feet required a bit more care. Eventually the ground flattened out and suddenly the extremely sharp profiles of Höktopparna (Hawk Peaks) appeared beyond the top plateau. The top cairn is situated at the western edge of this plateau, and that is where I headed.

Moarhmmáglaciären 1
Ascending beside...
Moarhmmáglaciären 2
Moarhmmáčahca 1
The pass called Moarhmmáčahca
Glacier lake 1
Glacier lake and high fjelds
Fjelds 1
Looking northeast over the tops of Vierročohkka
Fjelds 2
Peak 1468 blocking the view of Leavášvággi
Moarhmmáglaciären 3
Steep mountainside down to the glacier
Leavášvággi 10
Peak 1468 not blocking the view of Leavášvággi
Fjelds 3
Far-reaching view towards Bessešvággi
Vierročohkka 4
The Vierročohkka massif
Fjelds 4
Hoŋgá to the north
Höktopparna 1
Höktopparna appearing

This perspective on Höktopparna is very striking, and the sheer walls down to the glaciers on either side of the narrow ridge add to the impression. There was a bit of mist in the air at times, but it seemed to be lifting, and the north was still clear. To the west and south, however, the drifting clouds blocked most sights but the near ones, even though at times I could see the Nikkaluokta area. It therefore came as no surprise that my mobile phone could get a full signal, but due to the large distance only SMS worked.

The wind continued unabated and at one time the summit was enveloped in fog, but it quickly passed, and in its wake the other clouds seemed to lift a bit further as well. It was a terrific experience standing there, and I heartily recommend this peak as an easy climb with great rewards. I remained up there for about a quarter of an hour before starting down again, receiving an SMS response a short bit down before switching off the phone as the "pass" ridge rose to sever the connection.

Moarhmmáglaciären 4
Uppermost Moarhmmáglaciären
Höktopparna 2
Panorama 5
Panorama over uppermost Moarhmmábáktiglaciären,
with Godučohkka and Moarhmmáčahca in the center
Fjelds 5
Godučohkka 1
Godučohkka itself
Clouds 3
Clouds to the west...
Höktopparna 3
...but no longer over Höktopparna
Nikkaluokta 1
Nikkaluokta in sight
Fjelds 7
Far-away fjelds to the north-northwest
Fjelds 8
Far-away fjelds to the west-northwest
Moarhmmáglaciären 5
Moarhmmáglaciären and peak 1938
Höktopparna 4
Last look at Höktopparna
Clouds 4
Somewhat less clouds to the west

Now the clouds seemed to be lifting all around, and I got a good glimpse of Pyramiden (Pyramid). It was also back to sunny, and the wind had shrunk back a bit, so the descent was a pleasant one and I made good speed. I passed a bit north of my way up, coming onto a small snowfield which bore more of the bootprints I had seen earlier, and now I saw that like myself these were going down rather than up. I could see the Mårma cabin perfectly well, and it felt kind of silly going all the way back almost to the base of Moarhmmáglaciären, but even had I not left my pack there I had no way of knowing if Vierrojohka was passable further down – and indeed I expected it not to be.

Among the cliffs I drifted southwards again, crossed my own tracks on the lower snowfields, and then went straight through the next cliff area. The keen wind had now returned, and my passage out onto another snowfield below the cliffs posed a problem in the form of a miniature bergschrund, but with some caution this too went well. I passed some more cliffs, which involved a little bit of simple climbing, and then I followed the large lower snowfield around the narrow passage this time. At the end of the snow I took a more direct route towards my things, which I could not yet make out among the rocks, but I had my bearings set. Safely back down I had the rest of my lunch around 13:45, and then prepared to walk the remaining bit to the cabin.

Clouds 5
Less clouds also to the southwest
Leavášvággi 11
Another view of Leavášvággi
Pyramiden 1
Pyramiden showing
Mårma pass 2
Mårma pass
Snowfield 1
Snowfield passage
Moarhmmáglaciären 6
Moarhmmáglaciären in full

As I had half feared the warm day had resulted in increased water levels in the glacier stream due to increased melting, but even though the effect was noticeable it was fairly slight, and I actually got across quicker this time. Once on the right side of the milky water I walked over to a cairn, but since everything consisted of stones anyway I could not make out a route. In any event I aimed for the other, non-glacial source arm of Vierrojohka, which was little more than a shallow snow-filled crevice, since I thought it best cross this before it joined forces with its considerably more powerful silty comrade. This was accomplished with ease, and now there were cairns in such distribution that they could almost be called a trail; indeed, in places where the ground was not rock-hard (literally) there were the faint marks of a footpath.

The wind was much lessened and the sun had returned in full force as I picked my way over a more cumbersome patch of mini-cliffs, after which I descended a bit to what looked like a rather fine gravel path. Here I met a trio going the other way – they had originally planned on staying at the cabin, but with the weather as good as it was they felt that they might just as well attack the pass while it lasted. The trail – for here that label is justified – then passed by a cleared spot where at least two tents can fit (otherwise the ground is so rocky that camping is mostly out of the question), and then suddenly the roof of the cabin appeared, and I walked up (as in down) to the little building(s) just before 15.

Vierrojohka 1
Growing Vierrojohka
Trail 1
On the trail
Cleared campsite
Moarhmmáčahca 2
Mårma cabin 1

Outside was a group of three Germans who according to the other three (Swedes) I had just met were about to leave, and inside the cabin there were two more people. I dumped my things against a rock outside and went round looking over the premises, finding a number of cleared campsites of varying size and comfort level. One of the Germans then asked me a few questions about their continued route, which as planned would take them up to peak 1938, down through Moskkumoarhmá and then to either Alesjaure or Vistas.

After a while they all left – it was their intention to camp just below the pass/ridge, but I do wonder how much sleep they got that night given the nature of the terrain there. It was nice and sunny outside, but a southerly wind necessitated some protective garments. The pair inside the cabin were still present, and I finally entered to introduce myself; these were Swedes and would also be staying for the night. As for the cabin itself, I found it to be in very good shape, especially when compared to its counterpart in Unna Reaiddávággi. That is to say, save for the fact that it is missing a window; the pane has been lost at some point and a number of layers of different materials have been fixed in its place, and while the result is fully adequate when it comes to keeping wind and rain out, it also keeps light out, so the inside is pitch dark when the door is closed.

I spoke some with my newfound comrades, offering some advice on their continued journey, and then I went down to Vierrojohka where I found a perfectly situated little hollow in the rocks where the water was calm, and after waiting for the sun to reappear from behind a cloud I washed myself as best I could and put on a clean change of clothes. Having done so I moved the rest of my stuff inside and just relaxed for a while, and the others did the same. Some more discussions regarding routes and cottages followed, and then it was time for dinner, which I prepared outside.

Vierrojohka 2
Roaring Vierrojohka and peak 1810
Mårma cabin 2
Mårma cabin 3
The windowless Mårma cabin
Vierrojohka 3
Silty Vierrojohka...
Vierrojohka 4 its rocky course...
Vierrojohka 5
...continuing downwards
Fjelds 9
A look northeast
Mårma cabin 4
Cabin in shadow
Mårma cabin 5
Cabin in sun

While waiting for the freeze-dried globs to unglobify themselves I cut some firewood – there was a bit inside the combined wood/garbage shed, and lying outside were several longer logs – and then I sat down on another log beside the cabin and ate in the sun (and wind). Back inside the others were just starting a fire, and since the cabin is not a large one the indoor temperature soon got comfortable indeed. We all took it very easy in there in the dark, speaking about this and that (but mostly relating to fjelds and STF), and I also read in the guestbook and other papers present. I went out for a little bit just as the sun was setting, and the combined effect of this and the continued wind was that I soon felt a desire to return to the indoor coziness, and I acted accordingly. The other guys were just starting their own dinner, for which they used the heater to conserve fuel, while I buried myself in the sudoku/crossword booklet.

Later my companions seemed to have drifted off to sleep – they had elected to share one of the two wide bunks – and I too rested for a while in the dark, and then read some in my book. I went on to have a snack and then went out for "evening procedures"; by then fairly low clouds had taken up position in front of all peaks in sight, but other than that the sky was still mostly clear, and the wind had subsided as well. Quite a bit of warmth still lingered in the cabin – especially compared to the outside chill – and I therefore lay down with no extra clothes at 21:45.

Mårma cabin 6
Mårma pass 3
Mårma cabin 7
Evening 1


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