Tours › 2008 › Nallo › 7/4–13/4

Monday 7/4 – Sunday 13/4


Monday 7/4

Nallo cottage 15

The clouds had come down a bit further during the night, and were now discharging minor amounts of snow as well. Some of the guests would be leaving, but the warden couple would go for a forenoon tour first, the new trio had their minds set on Unna Räita, and the pair with Nallo would go in search of good runs for their telemark skis. I shovelled the water path in improving weather and shifting wind, while the foreigners dried their tent inside, before they finally packed up and left after 11:30, going up the slope towards Tjäktja. Then the first new guests of the day came from Vistas, shortly followed by the returning wardens, and we all sat down for lunch.

In partially clearing weather another two people came from Sälka; by virtue of being Australians they were eligible to snag the title of most far-away guests from the American at Easter, but since they were living in Germany such a claim could be challenged. I spoke some with them before the telemarkers returned, having found lots of great snow, and then the wardens left for Vistas. More arrivals followed in the form of two Germans from Tjäktja and four Norwegian women from Vistas. Later in the afternoon it started clearing for real, but it was still quite windy. I talked for a long time with the Norwegians and then I set about preparing dinner, at the end of which the Unna Räita people came back. In the evening the weather declined once more, and I spent most of it speaking to the present parties.

Tuesday 8/4

Nallo cottage 16
Nallo cottage 17

In connection with a nightly run outside I found that the inside of my room was more than enough warm, so I turned off the heater before going back to bed. When I went up "for real" it was mostly clear and sunny, and the wind had abated as well; the air temperature was also quite low. The Australians and Nallo and his masters left as early as 8, and after breakfast I went out to dig out the water path again. The remaining guests were packing, save for the Norwegians who were in no hurry. I prepared to go on a day tour myself – another visit to Tjäktja to say hello to the new warden there – and since the trio would also be going that way I made a "deal" with them: if I left first and made good tracks in the fresh snow, they would see to it that the cottage was appropriately cleaned. I chatted a bit more with the Norwegians and then stepped out at 09:30.

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Outside I found two people, one of whom was the forgetful man. There were now a total of 13 overnight guests, and I was also told by those who had arrived early that one of the caretakers (Jesper, as I later learnt) had come by with the clean laundry I had been waiting for all season, so I went out to the storage building to check. There had also passed four Belgians and an STF group of ten, and one member of the latter had repeated the stunt from the early days and left money in exchange for the sample cloth badge. The people who were out and about started dropping in, and I found myself in a long map-based discussion about downhill runs in the area.

Then I was invited for a glass of champagne to celebrate the engagement of two of the guests in the western room (yes, they knew each other beforehand), and quite a bit of talking followed before I could make my escape and start dinner. Later I talked with one of the quintet who actually worked as a wolverine tracker, and since wolverine tracks were in abundance all around the topic of conversation was given. The clouds still hung low and the wind remained totally absent. I listened to the end of a hockey game some of the guests had expressed a vested interest in and reported the final results, after which it was straight to bed.

Wednesday 9/4

I slept like a log until the call siren blared at 06:30 – the police was trying to get hold of a group of "4-6 older ladies from Stockholm", who had left Abisko "with unknown heading". As I had no such people in the cottage at present I said so and hung up, but then one of the other guests asked what the noise was all about (the siren is loud), and after I had explained the situation he thought that they had spent the previous night with them in Tjäktja. Upon hearing this I remembered the four older women about to depart for Sälka when I myself got there the day before, so I called the police again and told them where to concentrate their communications efforts.

Outside the clouds rested on a low level and there was snow in the air, and the wind was increasing as well. Most of the guests departed one after another, but while there were still some left a single man came from Vistas, having started rather early in the morning. Immediately he asked if I had found a wooden shovel handle that a friend of his had forgotten during Easter – which I had, so he got to carry it home and surprise the forgetful one. When the last of the overnight guests had departed I discovered that not only had some of them forgotten various items of clothing etc., but there was also an unfamiliar bag with food in it hanging in the vestibule. That must have been a downer when its former owners discovered its non-presence themselves later...

I then went out to the storage building to go through the newly arrived laundry for the inventory, but I had only just started when I spotted a pair of skiers approaching from the east. They brought "mail" from Vistas, which was mostly of the edible kind; having fulfilled that duty they would not linger for long, so I went back to the inventory. When I was almost done a group of four also came, but they would not be staying either, and as I was having lunch I found myself alone again. A bit later a new trio came from Vistas, and they planned on spending the night. The wind was now getting lighter, but as if to compensate it was also getting whiter all around. Towards the end of my dinner another group of three arrived after having been carried by snowmobile up Visttasvággi. I saw them in and then went to the previous trio for monetary and verbal transactions. Outside the wind had grown back but again as if to compensate the clouds had parted, and soon enough a new moon rose over the mountaintops.

Moon 3
Evening 1

Thursday 10/4

The next day dawned with largely clear skies, but some clouds hung around the surrounding summits and ridges, and a non-insignificant wind was blowing. The others were departing or preparing to do so, and I went out to clear the water path once more. There were less clouds on the whole now, but Čeakčačohkka was completely hidden, and the wind was decreasing. I went through the guest rooms and then took off without any food pack or suchlike at 10:00, with no particular plan in mind.

Light 1
Angelic light
Icicles 1

I proceeded up to the usual crest by the usual means, followed by the usual run down. Conditions were pretty good, so I immediately had another go, making an 8 shape on my own tracks. I then put the climbing skins on again and went further up just south of the moraine ridge bordering the main Čeakčačohkka glacier, from where I could just make out two people coming "my way" from Sälka. All around me the clouds had dissipated, but further off to the south they still held position. I continued up beside the ridge to the crest just below the main rise of Čeakčačohkka major; the fresh snow glittered in the sun and was a wonder to ski upon. I stood there for a while before going pretty much straight down, finding the top layer of this slope to be rather excellent, but underneath it was a bit more uneven, which caused a fall or two. I came down just above the start of the ravine, partly following the main track back to the cottage, which I determined to be empty by 12:15.

Šielmmáčohkka & Nállu 1
Šielmmáčohkka behind Nállu
Vaktposten 5
Snow pattern before Vaktposten
Snow 1
Šielmmáčohkka 6
Šielmmáčohkka looking high
Panorama 9
Panorama over Stuor Reaiddávággi and Unna Reaiddávággi
Čeakčahjälmen 1
Closeup of Čeakčahjälmen...
Reaiddáčohkka 9
...and Reaiddáčohkka
Panorama 10
Mini-panorama southwards
Peaks 7
Northwest peaks
Tracks 1
Traces of descent
Tracks 2
Going around
Slope 1

I sat down on the bench by the southern wall and had lunch in the sun, expecting the people I had seen in southern Stuor Reaiddávággi to appear at any time, but there was no movement whatsoever in that direction. Instead a woman with a dog came from the east, and as it turned out she and her companion had come by a couple of weeks ago as well, then riding a dogsled. She also had lunch in the greatly warming sunlight, and as there was still no sign of any other arrivals I soon went up the slope again, and at the same time the woman went on towards Sälka. From the crest I took a slightly more northerly approach to the slope, which entailed somewhat tricker snow at first, but then it got really good. I went up again, and now at last I spotted the pair again on an approach vector. The next run took place between the previous ones, but there the snow was very uneven, so I drifted towards the other track halfway down, making another 8. I then saw that the approaching people were no longer approaching, but had veered off on a direct heading to Vistas, so there were still no confirmed overnight visitors.

Nallo cottage 18
Cottage and water path
Vaktposten 6
Gear and Vaktposten
Cliff face 2
Peaks and cliff
Nallo cottage 19
Cottage and woodshed

Soon after my second return another pair closed in from the southwest, covering the distance at great speed, and I at once noticed that they carried little or no burden. When they stopped outside the door their identities were revealed to be those of two of the people I had led down from Šielmmávággi two days ago; they had been on a day tour to Unna Räita from Sälka, and had taken the opportunity of returning to Nallo to retrieve a forgotten sleep mat – and the stark contrast in weather conditions compared to their last visit was not an unimportant factor either. When dinnertime was getting near three people came from the south – they were to stay, and their group consisted of four people, but the last one had gone off on an ascent of Vaktposten and the others had tired of waiting for him. While I prepared food they went off themselves, wanting to try out the nearby slopes while the nice weather lasted; they ascended at a steep angle north of the northwest ravine, continuing up the ridge above it before I lost sight of them.

Slope 2
Skiers 1
The trio ascending
Sun 1
The sun setting behind Čeakčačohkka

It was not until well after dinner that their missing comrade arrived – he had indeed reached the highest summit of Vaktposten, but he said that it had not in any way been an easy affair. Now that the sun had passed behind Čeakčačohkka it quickly got rather cold, and an increasing wind enhanced the feeling, but it was a very fair evening. After talking to him for a while the others appeared at the top of the slope, and once they were down they told of fantastic snow conditions on higher ground.

I returned to my room to continue with the crossword, and shortly thereafter a small bustle in the vestibule made me stick my head out – only to come face to face with Sören, a warden whom I've run into a number of times in various places in the fjelds. His present assignment was together with Hillevi in Alesjaure as usual, but right now he was on a short tour of his own, having passed by Vistas earlier in the day. Naturally we had quite a few things to talk about, and we did just that before I went over to the others with the money box. I had recognized one of them when they arrived, and now my memory was confirmed: we had met here in Nallo at Easter two years ago, but then he and his (different) companions had come from Tjäktja. I then returned to Sören with the last of the chocolate cake, and we talked right up until the late weather forecast.

Evening 2
Evening 3
Evening 4
Evening 5
Moon 4
Moon 5

Friday 11/4

Morning 1
Looming Reaiddáčohkka
Slope 3
Tracks standing out

It was cold and clear in the morning, and I saw no reason not to go on a day tour. The Four would remain for another day, going to Unna Räita like everyone else, and Sören would return to Alesjaure via Šielmmávággi. He and I went out around 09:15, after saying goodbye to the rest.

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There was one new arrival outside the cottage, and one inside. The quartet was back as well, but almost at once the same three went up the same tracks as the day before for another late run. The dogsleds arrived before 17, tightly followed by the cloud front. Shortly thereafter a man came down the slope, taking his time photographing. I prepared dinner as the trio came down the same slope, and afterwards two people and a dogsled came from Nikkaluokta – they wanted to tent nearby, but would keep to themselves. I talked for a bit with the other dogsledders while a light snowfall started, and then the Finns came back from Unna Räita. The weather deteriorated somewhat during the evening, but it was still and not very cold.

Dogsled 1
Sun 2

Saturday 12/4

Dogsled 2

I slept soundly to the early weather report, and during the night most of the clouds had passed away. Everyone else seemed to be asleep still, but I later noticed that one of the single people had already left; apparently he had made a very early start from Alesjaure the day before too. The other single decided to stay for another night, but everyone else was leaving, which they did over the course of several hours. During this time the sky cleared entirely, only to suffer another intrusion of cloud from the south at once. The quartet would break up, with the Gang of The Three heading down to Vistas, and the last one going back to Sälka, but before that he and I went out for a pre-lunch tour.

We followed the others' tracks up the northwestern ridge; it was somewhat chilly at first but then it quickly got warmer, and off to the south more clouds were rolling in at a lower level. We had some weak sunlight for a while, and it was clear that it was clear "off to the sides". We kept in or just beside the tracks until we reached the appropriate crest, where we took a break and talked for a bit before setting off downhill.

Now we kept more to the side of the old tracks, finding the snow excellent and the inclination favorable. We tried our best to produce another 8, coming down to the start of the ravine just in time to see the remaining man going up in our tracks, heading for Šielmmáčohkka. We proceeded to cross the ravine and headed for the main crest of The Slope, in which we then made more turns; here it was a bit more uneven at first, but the snow on top was generally good, and further down it was not bad at all – even though the low contrast made judging the fall of the slope difficult.

Companion 1
Šielmmávággi 4
Šielmmávággi beside us
Companion 2
Stuor Reaiddávággi behind us
Šielmmávággi 5
Clouds settling over Čeakčačohkka and Šielmmávággi
Peaks 8
Sharp-looking peaks
Reaiddáčohkka 10
Clouds atop Reaiddáčohkka as well
Kalle 1
The author
Companion 3
The author's companion
Stuor Reaiddávággi 11
The start of the ravine
Tracks 3
How we came down
Clouds 1
Vaktposten also clouded
Sun 3

For some reason we started talking about LPG systems when we got back, which prompted me to go check on my own – the gauge was red again, so a new canister went into place before we both had lunch. My temporary companion took off at 13:15, and I busied myself with fixing things inside; I also went through the forgotten food bag, discarding some things and saving some. Now the weather had improved again, and I sat out on the bench with a crossword for a while. When the clouds started to pull in again, together with some wind, I returned inside and lay down to rest. I then completed my crossword, upon which the man returned – he had been up to about 1400 meters, but as the clouds lay dense he saw no point in continuing. Said clouds now included a few holes through which the sun penetrated with a nice light, which lasted up until dinner.

The other man then volunteered to produce thin sticks with which to start fires – visitors may be good at replacing the firewood that they consume, but few stop to think that perhaps they ought to facilitate lighting as well. When he was done I went over for a talk, and we quickly found out that we actually knew each other somewhat already – we frequent the same outdoor forum, so now we had a chance to know the IRL counterparts to our online presences. Outside it had started snowing from fairly high clouds, and this face of matters was still in effect when I went to bed just before 22.

Sunday 13/4

I went out to the privy sometime during the night, and just as I rounded the cottage I was sorely startled by the sudden appearance of a very yellow half moon in a very temporary hole in the clouds. When I got up next time there were a few centimeters of fresh snow on the ground and more was falling; the air temperature was mild and a light wind was blowing. After breakfast I started a three-stage baking project, lighting the stove in the eastern room – this time I was making bread rolls, scones and cinnamon buns. My only guest left for Sälka in the middle of everything, taking on pretty depressing weather conditions. As for my baking, everything turned out very fine indeed – I've really gotten the hang of these firewood stoves. I went out to clear the paths and cut some more firewood and then I had lunch.

Skiers 2

As it was not getting any better outside I took it easy in my room, listening to the radio. Then two skiers with two dogs came from Sälka, and they said that it had actually been pretty good most of the way – they had even had tailwind, and it was only the last bit that had been somewhat bad. They brought their dogs inside for a break, but they would then press on to Vistas – back in civilization they were actually the next-door neighbors to Anna and Per, and so would be spending a few days with them.

As we sat talking I suddenly caught sight of some specks that did not belong in the westward vista: quite a large group was descending the steepest part of the slope, obviously coming from Tjäktja. They arrived in small bursts, and I soon learnt that they came from a southern high school and were 14 all in all. From what I heard of their shouts, complaints and discussions they had not seen much in transit, and the perception of the stage varied between "great fun" and "what a nightmare". Once they had all come inside and received a bed a group of six came from Vistas, two of whom had randonnée skis and would be tenting outside. As some of the remaining four were allergic to dogs I had to rearrange a bit inside – the youngsters had filled up the dog-free room. The dog owners then departed, and not much else happened before it was time for dinner.

Shortly thereafter there were two more arrivals, which prompted another rearrangement, but in the end it turned out alright – and once again the cottage was filled to capacity. I talked a bit with various parts of the present parties, going over the map with the six. Outside the wind shifted between nonexistent and strong, but it was not very cold – especially not in my room, so I decided to shut off the heater for the night. When I eased myself into bed after 22 it was still windy – and the larger group was still "at it".



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