Tours › 2008 › Nallo › 4/5

Sunday 4/5

Stage map 4/5

Kebnekaise – Nikkaluokta (via Darfálláhku)

Horizontal distance:21 km
Vertical distance:+400 m, -620 m
Time:5 h
Lunch break: 30 min
Dinner:Elk mincemeat steak with potatoes and lingonberries
Night accommodation:Train
Stage classification:Medium
Map points:Kebnekaise, Nikkaluokta
Morning 1

I kept the window open throughout the night because of the warmth, with the effect that when it started to rain sometime during the wee hours I awoke briefly to note the fact. The earliest helicopter run was scheduled to 06:30, so some people were bustling about before 6, but I stayed in bed until my habitual time of rousing. I looked out the window and saw clouds but also some rays of the sun, and it looked as though it might get better later. I went down to the staff canteen to have breakfast, during which Eva whom I also had worked with last winter came in, having arrived with one of the return flights. After talking a bit more with the assembled people I went up to pack up, and then took a little round to bid my farewell to various acquaintances – new and old. The weather now seemed to be somewhat fairer, so I set off in a good mood after 08:30, having decided upon one last ski trip.

I went straight up past the service building and then turned east, passing above the other auxiliary buildings, partially following a somewhat fresh snowshoe track. I maintained a high course, coming onto a few patches of soft undergrowth here and there but the snow was mostly enough for easy skiing. It was pretty warm in the air, so the breeze that was blowing was a nice alleviating factor. I arrived at the well-known snowdrift at the start of Darfálvággi, finding it still hanging on to its overhang, so I descended past it to the bridge over Darfáljohka, which I proceeded to walk over. Already the wet snow/slush had started to penetrate my ski boots, and even though I would not have to endure Láddjujávri I knew that my feet would be soaking wet by the time I arrived at my destination.

On the other side I went straight into the forest, and to my relief I found that the snow carried nicely – it was actually slightly easier to make progress than it had been last time I passed through these very parts with Linnéa, and I recognized a few locations from that tour. When the space between the trees started expanding I altered my trajectory to a more altitude-gaining one, soon emerging from the woodland. Behind me there were dense clouds apparently centered somewhere around Singi, with offshoots over the western peaks, but ahead and above it was lighter. I made good progress upwards, only needing to make fine adjustments to my heading to avoid the bare patches – and then suddenly I caught sight of an elk some hundred meters in front of me. This actually turned out to be three elks on a line, and they climbed out of sight at a safe distance.

Kaipak 2
Bare patches
Guodekvárri 2
Going up between the trees
Láddjuvággi 4
A look back
Savubákti 1
Savubákti on the other side
Giebmečohkka 1
Giebmečohkka etc.
Kebnekaise fjeld station 6
The station far away
Giebmegáisi 1
Clouds holding on to Giebmegáisi
Elks 1
The elks

When I found myself upon Darfálláhku proper I realized that I had come up a bit further west than necessary, so I turned eastwards, aiming for the peaks of Čievrračohkka. The snow was still good and going was easy up on the flat terrain, and off to the west the peaks had now started emerging from the clouds. As I was approaching the eastern end of the plateau, however, the snow started giving way beneath my skis, and when it didn't I could hear the deep rumble of its settling over quite a large area around the point of pressure. I kept a somewhat elevated course rounding the northwestern Čievrračohkka summit, during which a light headwind brought a few drops of rain; it was now growing more overcast all around, and particularly in front of me.

I found a rigid-looking cairn on one of the frequent bare patches which I thought would do for a lunch site, and I sat down there to eat around 11:15. I had not been seated for long before the drops in the air started coming more frequently, and I saw fit to put on the rain cover on the rucksack; it was perhaps not strictly necessary yet, but there was no point in pushing it. It was now very hazy to the east and the western clouds had descended quite noticeably, so I saw no point in remaining where I was for much longer either.

Darfálláhku 1
White Darfálláhku
Darfálláhku 2
Looking back at the peaks
Fjelds 1
Southwards through Savuvággi
Várdu 1
Várdu to the northwest
Darfálláhku 3
Leaving Darfálláhku behind

The following portion was very strenuous, with large quantities of slush and snow that yielded with almost every step – and the drizzle sure did not help either. After a while I found a fresh-looking ski track which I skied in for while, but that only improved things marginally. Things did, in fact, get even worse later on, but when the land started slanting lightly downwards the snow recovered its ability to carry, and now I saw that there were several ski tracks and that they were going up, not down. I found my own way at first, and then when it started going downhill for real I found a broad snowmobile track that led into a shallow ravine, and from there on it was a cakewalk; the experience reminded me of the multitude of ski tours I made with my family in Oviksfjällen in my childhood, going back and forth between the meres beneath the mountains themselves.

The track aimed straight for Stállegorsa on the other side of the valley before making a turn to the east, coming out on the main Kebnekaise trail a kilometer or two east of the lake. Now the drizzle had turned into actual rain, but somewhat paradoxically down here in the forest on the valley floor there was a lot of snow, and following the trail was a very easy affair. I managed to cross Čievrrajohka on a snowbridge, but only barely, and then there was a mire which was had turned rather wet, but other than that I had no problems at all; I could even keep my skis on to within 20 meters or so of the visitors' center, where I finally took them off after 13:30.

Báittasjávri 1
Catching sight of Báittasjávri
Báittasjávri 2
Starting the descent
Gármasbákti 1
Gármasbákti from the trail
Nikkaluokta 2

I left my stuff outside and went in to relax after a somewhat demanding finale of the winter, at length bringing the rucksack(s) inside to dig out a dry change of clothes. The rain was now pretty much pouring down outside, and it really felt like the winter was truly over. I continued my tranquil indoor existence, noting that a few of the other Kebnekaise guests were also present or arriving, and I had a brief run-in with Danne as well. I went on to read through the guestbook, noting a few familiar names and/or descriptions I could tie to visits in Nallo, and then made an entry of my own. A fine dinner in the restaurant later I packed up all my things – some drier than others – and went out to the evening bus, which marked yet another silent farewell to the Kebnekaise area.

Nikkaluokta 3


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