Tours › 2006 › Northern Kungsleden › Day 10

Thursday 20/4

Stage map 10

Abiskojaure – Kĺrsavagge

Horizontal distance:14 km
Vertical distance:+260 m, -100 m, +40 m
Time:4 h 30 min
Lunch break:1 h 15 min
Dinner:Beef and potato casserole
Night accommodation:Cottage
Stage classification:Medium
Map points:Abiskojaure, Kĺrsavagge

Once again I slept well, and I exited bed at 07:30. There was a very light wind and a bit cloudy, but pretty fair nonetheless, and the thermometer gave the temperature as just below freezing. The sun made itself known more and more during breakfast, and I started preparing for departure. One of the other guests had overheard my plans for the day, and she advised me to go around Njunesgeahči as far as possible; she had taken a more direct route to Kĺrsavagge once, and she said that that was the worst thing she had ever done. This was pretty much what I had decided upon already, so no worries.

Gárddenvággi 2
Morning 1

There were some clouds over Giron and the wind had increased somewhat, but things looked very good otherwise. I spoke a bit with one of the wardens and the Norwegian, who was about to leave as well, before putting one foot in front of the other at around 09:15. I crossed Ábeskojávri in the approximate direction of a reindeer-watching hut between Njunesgeahči and a hill just above the tree line, which was easy enough. As I approached the far shore, I took off the cap and gloves; it was fairly mild, and the ascent through the forest was sure to be taxing, but the sun was thankfully clouded at the moment.

After just a little bit of skiing at the base of the slope, I came upon some rather old ski tracks heading in the right direction, which I was just able to follow. The crust of the snow cover wavered around the edge of tenability, and it broke now and then, but not often or deeply enough to be a real hassle. After another short bit the tracks joined a similarly old snowmobile track, which I then followed for a while, but it wasn't long before it grew too deteriorated, and I lost it.

From there on, things got worse – the snow was deeper and the crust gave way more frequently, and the incline had started to be appreciable. Proceeding was difficult, and warm; one densely forested slope in particular was troublesome indeed, but once I had managed to scale it the trees grew sparser apart, and the strength of the snow increased somewhat, albeit at the price of increased stickiness as well. There were quite a few animal tracks around, and where possible I followed those, since they indicated paths where the snow had carried at least some weight before. The crust continued to collapse, but it happened more and more seldom and I progressed upwards, and the arrival of the sun was matched by a breeze, so things weren't too bad.

It was soon apparent that the easiest was to proceed was straight up, since the forest was much denser along the line to the hut, so I did just that, and it wasn't long at all until I had cleared the trees. I then turned northeast and skirted the edge of the woodland, heading for the little buidling which was now in sight. I also considered going over Njunesgeahči, now that the snow was alright, but decided against it; the descent on the other side might be difficult, and I wanted to see the view from the end of the outrunner anyway.

Thus, I glided down a bit to the small plain where the hut is located, and passed west of it. The snow was rather sticky there, but I found a snowmobile track where it was somewhat better, and the sun felt very hot in the complete absence of wind. However, that was just temporary, as the breeze picked up again just as I approached the edge of the plain, from where I had fantastic views all around. Having looked around thoroughly, I skied up the slope to yet another of those boulders I like, and used it as a wind stopper for my lunch break, which started at 11:00.

Gárddenvággi 3
Cloud cover breaking up
Njunesgeahči 1
Crossing Ábeskojávri
Fjelds 1
Rear view...
Fjelds 2
...and a front one
Fjelds 3
Up the slope, looking east...
Gárddenvárri 2
...and back south
Reindeer-watching hut 4
The reindeer-watching hut on the small plain below
Fjelds 4
My tracks
Reindeer-watching hut 5
Passing close by the hut
Fjelds 5
Crest view: southwest, ...
Fjelds 6
...around east...
Torneträsk 1
...and northeast
Panorama 5
Full panorama view from the crest (sorry about the color mismatch)

For the first time since leaving Stora Sjöfallet, my mobile phone could get a signal, so I started by making a reservation with the railway company for the next day. It was windy up there, but the rock performed the function I had intended for it well, and the sun shone intermittently. In that sheltered location of mine it was fairly warm, and after eating I just leaned back and did nothing. The only other disturbance was a snowmobile which came up the Kĺrsavagge trail from Abisko, but it turned back just as it reached the entrance to the valley.

Skis 1
My parked skis
Ballinvággi 1
Close-ups of Ballinvággi...
Lapp Gate 1
...and the Lapp Gate (Čuonjávággi)
Torneträsk 2
Clearing over Torneträsk

When I got going again, I went over the crest where I was. The snow was continually sticky, and soon the slant grew substantial; suddenly conscious of the risk for avalanches, I opted to take a more circumventive route. The gradual descent into Gorsavággi that followed was fairly easy, and the snow was soft. I cut across the low hills that make up the eastern end of the valley, and as I rounded the last one blocking the view to the west I skied right into a cloud, and snow and wind followed. That was rather surprising, since the weather had been nothing but fair everywhere else up until then.

I saw one other skier going west on the trail, and when I reached it myself I almost stumbled upon a group of twelve with sleds, who had been hidden by a hill (and the snow). The trail had the appearance of a prepared ski track from there, so I wondered whether that group had been some kind of maintenance patrol, with weights in their sleds to indent the tracks. The snow cloud soon passed, and just as soon the tracks turned back, so I continued on in the single tracks made by the other skier, who was still ahead of me. The snow was sticky there as well, but proceeding wasn't difficult.

Just when the cottage came into view, the other person – a middle-aged lady – stopped and then turned around, backtracking past me. I followed some older tracks, which after a while veered off from the trail markings – it soon became apparent that they would exit Gorsavággi through a crevice in the northern wall, climbing into Latnjavággi and, presumably, landing at the Lĺktatjĺkka mountain lodge, so I returned to the trail. When I reached Gaskkamus Gorsajávri, I went out on the ice and approached the cottage at an angle, to get a good shot of it against the backdrop of the continuation of the valley to the northwest. I was there at around 13:45, and was immediately welcomed by a warden.

Gorsavággi 1
Looking down into Gorsavággi
Sun 14
Sunny – at first...
Gorsavággi 2
Further in
Kĺrsavagge cottage 1
A sequence of shots...
Kĺrsavagge cottage 2
...approaching the small Kĺrsavagge cottage...
Kĺrsavagge cottage 3
...with the objective of getting this photo...
Kĺrsavagge cottage 4
...deciding the approach angle

The cottage is rather old, and thereby different from most of the other ones; it has two rooms with six and four beds, respectively. Since I was the only guest, I got to choose which room to stay in – there had been a few dog-including occupants the night before, and there was still some residual warmth in the smaller room, where dogs are allowed, so I chose that one; I also considered the fact that a smaller space is easier to heat. Having laid down the pack, I went to fetch water; there was some left inside when I came, but after that run the supply would be full, so I wouldn't have to make another one.

There was a bit of snow and wind, and before long this had developed into a contiuous snowfall that came drifting in from the west. I started a fire in the heater and changed clothes, and then had some afternoon tea. By then the snow had passed and the surroundings were mostly clear again. I went on to munch some reindeer meat, and started reading a scrapbook containing old articles about the area, wrapping my feet (which felt pretty cold) in several layers of blankets.

Another warden (two here as well?) then came in to check on me, and left right away. As he did so, the snow restarted, and the room felt fairly chilly despite the fire, so I set about augmenting its heat output. While doing this I read some comics I found in the other room, and I also thought of putting the large spare gloves on my feet, which alleviated the coldness. Soon the fire was burning like it had never burnt before, and the room started feeling warmer, and I finished reading in front of the heater before making dinner.

Kĺrsavagge cottage 5
The inside of the cottage
Gorsavággi 3
Gorsavággi 4
...and westwards, a bit later
Kĺrsavagge cottage 6
The wardens' hut

Short bursts of snow kept passing during the early evening, which I spent playing solitaire. Then the warden came back to charge me for my stay, and we talked a little. I studied the map some and read in my book, hearing the sound of a far-off helicopter at one point, and later on the sky was clearing anew. My thicker socks had dried then, so I could exchange the gloves for them. I continued reading and playing solitaire, until it was time for my evening snack. As I was preparing to go to bed, at 21:45, another cloud was approaching from the west – the region around the Gorsa glacier, with Gorsačohkka, Vássečohkka and Geargečorru, seemed to be an unwavering source of those – and a wind was blowing.

Gorsavággi 5
Overcast in the early evening...
Eve 11
...but then the sun returned...
Eve 12
...casting light on the clouds
Eve 13
Eve 14
Eve 15
Eve 16

(It was only later that it occurred to me that I had actually visited Rivendell! See, that word is a translation of the Elvish name Imladris, which means "[deep] valley of the cleft", and it just so happens that the North Sámi word Gorsavággi carries the meaning "cleft valley". Furthermore, the Kĺrsavagge cottage is, for all intents and purposes, The Last Homely House. Elrond Half-elven was not around this time, though...)



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