Tours › 2008 › Nallo › 24/3–30/3

Monday 24/3 – Sunday 30/3

Fair Week, take two

Monday 24/3

Sun 1
Unexpected solar visit
Privy 1
The privy and swill disposal

No clouds and no wind. Almost tedious, eh? The campers would be staying for a day tour, and they planned on striking the tent upon getting back and then spending the night inside, to get a proper chance to dry everthing before the last night down in Visttasvággi on their way back to Nikkaluokta. Suddenly the sun burst forth in the gash between Reaiddáčohkka west and major – a clear sign of lighter times to come (equinox was four days past). While the Germans packed up I went to check on the gas gauge, finding a red color looking back at me, so I had to pull a switch-a-roo. At 10 everyone was gone or going, and after going through the guest rooms I went too.

Go to day tour report »

I returned to an empty house, but there was some money in the day fee can telling of daytime visitors. I changed out of the skiing attire and for no particular reason made some popcorn, during which a lone woman came from Vistas. Shortly before dinner the trio also returned, and some time after the meal there was another arrival from Vistas; he had ordered snowmobile transport up the valley and then gone on to Nallo at once. I had a rather calm and quiet evening mostly spent in my room, and outside it was now calmer as well, not to mention starry in the extreme. I stayed up to the late forecast and then went straight to bed.

Tuesday 25/3

Morning 1

In the morning in was still clear (no!?) but rather windy, and also somewhat less cold than it had been for some time. The dog-trio left in the direction of Lisa's cabin before 08:30, while I started removing the Easter decorations. The single people were debating which way to go, and in the end both decided upon Sälka, but by different routes: the woman was to visit Unna Räita first, and the man would be taking the longer detour via the Tjäktja Pass.

Some high clouds had now come in and were in the process of blanketing the sky, but the wind had decreased. I continued with my crossword and upon looking out the window I spotted two people on the crest beside the ravine, and as I watched they were joined by two more. In the meantime four people with three dogs came in from Vistas, telling of more visitors behind, and then the Tjäktja people had successfully mastered the dreaded slope, carrying a greeting from Carina and Per-Erik in the other cottage. As it happened these two groups had already run into each other earlier during their respective tours, but had then chosen different routes in getting to Nallo.

After lunch two more came from Vistas, and they wanted to think about the immediate future for a while. It was now getting whiter outside, and before we knew it it had started snowing lightly. This seemed to decide matters for the latest arrivals, as they elected to stay. Then a Norwegian man came all the way from Hukejaure, saying that he had been alone for five days before that, having travelled through Padjelanta. Late in the afternoon more people started dropping in from the east; they were seven in total, and the group mostly consisted of children. Some creative rearrangement inside enabled them to get joint accommodation, and as I got to talk to them for real I realized that one of the adults was Göran, who had been one of the rescue crew that had carried down the man with the injured knee a few days before.

For a while the snowfall had abated, but after dinner it came back. I finished the crossword and then talked with my guests and relieved them of some money, and when I came to the latest group I even got to sell a 6-person family membership; I hardly expected to get rid of any membership cards at all, so that felt kind of good. Later in the evening the clouds packed up and went, leaving calm and stars-revealing weather in their wake. Everyone else went to bed early, but I held out until after the weather forecast as usual.

Wednesday 26/3

View 7

The early morning was cloudy, but around breakfast it started to clear. Before they left one of the quartets bestowed quite a sizeable amount of smoked roe deer upon me, as well as some other stuff they no longer wanted to carry. Thanks! The ample snowfall of the previous day necessitated some shovel use to clear the water hole, which I did under shifting clouds in a somewhat keen easterly wind. When everyone had left – also leaving behind some stuff that was supposed to be carried – I took it easy for a while before making a food pack and going out myself at 11:30.

I went up the slope, and when I had gained some altitude I observed something which I recognized as one person with two dogs en route from Vistas. I continued up onto the top crest, where I sat down at another rock for lunch, seeking shelter from the undiminished wind. At times the thick clouds that had parked themselves around the peaks obscured the sun, but while I was sitting there these started to dissipate.

After the break I kept my warm sweater on and started cutting across the slope down to the Sälka-track that went on the northwestern side of the ravine gouged out by the stream from Reaiddájávri, and when I reached the other, larger track above said ravine I took off the sweater and put on the climbing skins instead, as there it was both warm and mostly still. I followed the old track towards Unna Räita for a while, and then I broke off aiming for the peak of 1333, but I went no further than the level where rocks started appearing en masse. The sky had now banished all clouds, and two people whom I had observed out on Reaiddájávri had obviously decided to make the most of it, as they had stopped and from what I could see were digging something for breaking purposes.

After admiring the grand view for a while – especially the perspective on the peaks around Šielmmávággi was terrific – I turned my skis downhill and set off. At first the snow was a tad too deep for comfort, but then it got better – much better, and I had a great run down to the track which I then followed back to the cottage, meeting a dogsled with two people just behind the woodshed around 13:30. I spoke some with the dog-person inside, whom I soon realized was the same woman – with the same dogs – as I had met in that very room last winter. I then went for another run in the slope before going in for real.

Panorama 6
Mini-panorama of southwestern Stuor Reaiddávággi
Fjelds 1
Zoomed in
Vaktposten 2
Vaktposten appearing
Nállu 5
Nállu with its spire
Sun 2
Clouds lifting close by...
Fjelds 2
...but amassing far away
Fjelds 3
Extreme zoom southwards
Peaks 6
Love this skiing backdrop
Wind 1
Wind in the valley
Vaktposten 3
My tracks beneath Vaktposten
Nallo cottage 11
Back again

The two people I had seen up on Reaiddájávri took their sweet time coming down to the cottage from the moment I spotted them, and the reason turned out to be randonnée equipment. The persons themselves were Belgian and were going to stay for two nights before continuing towards Nikkaluokta. Then two Swedes came from the direction of Vistas, and one of them turned out to be the cousin of the dog-woman; they had gone by snowmobile up to the border of the restricted area down in Visttasvággi and continued on ski from there. They were not staying, however, but just wanted to rest for a while inside before returning to their vehicle. After they had left two others came from the other direction, and they would not be staying either; they had started from Vistas in the morning, gone up Unna Reaiddávággi past Unna Räita, and were now on their way back. Another two people came down – warily – in the northwestern slope, and once the breaking ones had left the nocturnal number was fixed.

The evening was exceptionally beautiful, and entirely calm. After the advent of darkness there was a tenuous aurora to be seen at first, but after a few hours it exploded into a full-blown display of more colors than the usual green. Apparently solar activity had reached a minor peak, for the dancing bands were now descending almost to the mountaintops – or at least that was how it felt. Truly spectacular, it was.

Evening 1
Evening 2
Evening 3
Evening 4
Evening 5
Evening 6
Evening 7
Aurora borealis 6
Aurora borealis 7
Aurora borealis 8
Aurora borealis 9
Aurora borealis 10
Aurora borealis 11
Aurora borealis 12

Thursday 27/3

Nallo cottage 12
Snow wall 1

Yes: clear. At breakfast one of the last pair to arrive the day before came in to talk about Jojoleden (Yo-yo Trail), which he and his companion wanted to take a crack at, going over the mountains directly to Tarfala. This quest they embarked upon shortly, and before 9 the lady and her dogs departed along the much easier route to Sälka. As for the Belgians they took it very easy; they expressed a wish to circumvent Nállu later on, but for now they would just relax. Circumventing Nállu was, however, just what I had in mind myself, so I set out on yet another day tour at 09:15.

Go to day tour report »

I got back after 13:30, finding two guys with sleds outside. They were planning on going to Tjäktja the next day and were a bit worried if they would make it with those sleds, so I provided as much insight as I had. Now some light clouds were coming in, and soon enough the group also came. Then I spotted a lone figure approaching from the direction of Sälka, and upon reaching our location he revealed his identity as Erik from Kebnekaise, whom I had actually spoken with briefly online before either of us departed for our respective winter adventures. A Norwegian woman also appeared in the northwestern slope, and behind her I saw two others, but then they curiously disappeared.

I spoke some with Erik while the sled guys went out to reconnoiter the route, being greeted by a significant haze that grew out of the west together with a cold wind. Finally the two figures I had seen earlier showed up again, and as they came down the western slope I identified them as the Belgians. They had had a great day ascending and descending Nállu, never making the full circuit as I had done. The Norwegian decided to press on to Sälka, which she had to do in pretty bad weather, but this soon passed.

While I was preparing dinner the two scouts came back with the conclusion that it would be tough but doable, and after I had eaten they started loading me up with a whole lot of things (mostly food and candy) they felt would make their burden lighter not to retain. I talked for quite a bit with both the group and Erik – we of course had a lot of shared experiences to, well, share – while outside it had started to snow lightly. At one point the clouds broke apart right above and some weak aurora could be seen, but nothing much came of it. By the time most of us were preparing to go to bed, however, the sky had cleared completely, and now the northern lights could do their thing unhindered, even if it was nowhere near as intense as the previous night.

Friday 28/3

Morning 2

The group was up early, having decided to make a day tour to Unna Räita, possibly including Reaiddáglaciären as well. Conditions for such endeavors seemed favorable, even though there were extensive cloud formations around all the peaks. When everyone had left I cleaned the eastern room and then took it easy outside, not feeling like going out today. A French couple then came from Vistas; they wanted to spend the night, but first they too would make a visit to Unna Räita. Just after lunch a Swedish couple came by way of dogsled, and having parked the canine-powered carrier at the woodshed they came in to eat themselves. When they were ready to leave again a group of six arrived from Sälka, and after seeing them in – and learning that I had encountered two of them at Tärnasjö in 2006 – I decided to go out after all, starting along the same route as yesterday.

The peak-clouds were growing thinner, but to the southwest they refused to yield. I mostly followed the Belgians' tracks at first, then going straight up the lower reaches of Nállu until I found myself among the rocks. Going down there were partly some tracks from previous turns I could strengthen or cross, but the snow was not too good for the first bit. Further down it got better, and the portion down towards the lake was definitely good. I crossed the ravine just at its beginning and skied over to the start of The Slope, the run down in which was surprisingly good too.

Stuor Reaiddávággi 7
Clouds over southern Stuor Reaiddávággi, ...
Reaiddáčohkka 7
...Reaiddáčohkka, ...
Čeakčačohkka 6
Clouds 1
...and... heck, everywhere
Evening 8

I came back at 15:00, finding all but two of the six-group absent; I had observed three of them going up towards Čeakčačohkka proper while I was out. Before long two of the Friluftsfrämjandet group returned, having elected not to join the others in traversing the glacier, and shortly thereafter the missing four also came back, having been almost to the summit of the 1500-odd-meter rise beside the high tarn just beneath the top ridge of Čeakčačohkka; the persistent cloud there was now finally lifting. The French also dropped in, and then a single Norwegian (who was in origin Scotch) arrived from Alesjaure.

When dinner had passed so had all clouds, and it now looked rather fair – and cold – again. The remainder of the Glacier Group came in well after 18, feeling immensely content with their day, even though it had been rather long and taxing. I read for a while and then spoke for quite some time with four-of-the-six before it was time for bed. Outside it was still clear and a cold wind was blowing.

Saturday 29/3

Morning 3
Morning 4

I awoke to the warm light of dawn, but already high veils were on their way in, and when I got around to breakfast the overcasting process was well underway. The sextet had decided to remain for another night, and before I knew it two of them had gone off towards Vistas, with the other four heading towards Unna Räita. The veil had passed but another front was approaching from the south; the radio forecast had promised snow before the end of the day. Before long the two who had left for Vistas came back, having had second thoughts and were now instead planning on going up and beyond The Slope. By the time the Norwegian-Scot left also the new front had passed, but a westerly wind remained. I went out to have lunch on the bench by the southern wall, but almost immediately after I had seated myself a rather large cloud bank rolled in from the southwest with surprising speed, stealing the warmth from the sun. It was still not too bad, so I remained outside reading for a bit, and later on also this bank gave way.

Evening 9

The two-of-the-six were now back again – and yet another front was approaching, but the wind had gone. I relaxed inside while the inevitable clearing routine begun anew, and after having put out a whole lot of cans to catch the drops from the re-leaking ceiling I lay down on my bed, taking a long nap. When I came to again the four were back; they had also done the Unna Räita/Reaiddáglaciären tour, and like the previous party they had enjoyed it in full. Another of those fronts was now covering the sky from the southwest, and this time it looked like it. That was, however, but an illusion; soon it started to clear behind it once more.

I started making dinner, in the middle of which another four came from Vistas, having gone by snowmobile to the cottages earlier in the day. Now at last a real haze came out of the southwest, bringing a wee bit of snow, and soon the sky was entirely overcast. The wind had returned as well, but it was no longer particularly cold. As the coming night would mark the start of daylight saving time I adjusted my clock and then went to bed at the usual time – which was still the usual time.

Sunday 30/3

Dogsleds 2

Now the long period of fair'n'cold weather was definitely over, for the morning came with low clouds, snowfall and mild temperatures. The sextet left quietly for Tjäktja and Alesjaure before 9, and I talked a bit with the quartet before they followed in their tracks about half an hour later. Later on three dogsleds came from Sälka – it was a Jukkasjärvi guided group consisting of two Britons, and they stepped inside for lunch'n'convo before returning the way they came. I had lunch myself and then did nothing much of consequence, noting that it had become rather warm outside.

A new quartet then arrived from Vistas, and rather than going inside straight away they sat themselves down on the bench along the wall for a snack. As for the weather it had grown a bit lighter, but no sky was visible and the nearby peaks only showed parts of themselves occasionally. Towards dinnertime things had deteriorated again, and more snow was falling, and this state of affairs was intensified as the evening progressed. I spent large parts of said evening chatting with my guests, from whom I received a sizeable slice of cake, and the rest of the time to the late forecast I passed by listening to the radio and solving crosswords.



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