In the morning the thermometer showed 1.7°C, but I had slept well, and did so again until the rising sun started warming the tent around 7. Said sun was, however, weakened by high veils, so it was not as clear as the prognosis had indicated, and soon clouds started to drift around Bårddetjåhkkå. There was hardly any wind, however, but when there was it came from the opposite direction as the previous day. The sun was being covered up, and the wind increased a bit; the fresh forecast promised better conditions as the day progressed, so I waited a bit and then set out on a day tour before 09:45.
I went straight up, going over small wet grassy ledges and then stony grass where it was flatter. At first the wind was weak and it was a bit warm despite the lack of direct sunlight. I passed over small rocks, and then larger rocks, going up a bit on the slope of the "nose" in order to avoid even larger ones. Once on higher ground the wind returned, and the condition of the rocks improved. I continued mostly straight upwards, observing that the cloud base was situated just at the observatory plateau.
Looking off to my left I suddenly caught sight of a single person making his way down the steeper parts, utilizing snowfields where he could. I maintained my course at first, but then also veered off to the left, passing over some extended mounds of loose rocks, and then turned back up the slope. Looking through the 1425 pass I saw that things were better over and especially beyond Badjelánnda, but I myself was passing into the lower reaches of the clouds, where it got colder. Soon I came to the line of cairns marking the way to the observatory, and between them was something which can be almost be called a path over the rocks. The last part was a wee bit tricky, and then the red structure suddenly appeared behind the crest.
It was 11:15 when I tried the door – and found it open. Inside was David, one of the participants in the coming course, and the one I had seen going down had been Fredrik, who had spent two nights in the hut. Said hut, while seemingly pristine on the outside, was anything but on the inside, which is a darned shame. Sometime in 1993 a "renovation" effort did away with all the original interior equipment and furniture, and left the historically valuable building in a sorry state. Built in 1911, the observatory was a landmark achievement in several respects, and it was manned during several years, producing unique observational data from the extreme conditions found upon the peaks of Sarek – which for natural reasons were otherwise inaccessible.
Back in the present I chatted with David, and when the shifting clouds revealed parts of the mighty Bårddejiegŋa on the other side I went out to the edge to have a look. Up there the wind was very cold, going through to the bone, and I returned inside for lunch. As we stood outside in the shelter of the building (brrr!) a weasel suddenly appeared, and we both chased it through the rubble to get a shot of it. Now visibility appeared to be getting better, and soon another course participant in the form of Kerstin arrived, having walked all the way from Pårek in the morning.
We talked a bit while the clouds continued to dissipate slowly, leaving most of the views stretching from the north to the southeast/south visible, but it was still cold indeed. The summit of Bårddetjåhkkå, however, remained hidden in cloud; a shame, that, since it is a very easy walk up there from the observatory, and the outlook offered is almost unparallelled for such low effort. Before too long Kerstin started the return journey – she would be going back to Pårek – and I thought about starting my own descent; David was to spend the night in the observatory building. The sky was almost clear save for the persistent clouds hovering above the peaks as I did so, keeping the shirt I had put on earlier against the wind.
I followed the path at first, breaking off at my earliest convenience and then went straight down. I ended up going a bit west of my upward route, but it worked out fine. Looking east I saw both Kerstin and another person upon the next outrunner, going down a short distance from one another, so I guessed that yet another course participant was out and about. It was now sunny and warm, and the wind was appreciably weaker, so I stopped to remove the shirt and the gloves – and as I turned around to look back I saw that now the summit was in the clear. Of course. From there I followed much the same course as I had going up, but then I went higher up on the nose, where the rocks were better. I wound myself down and kept to the western side of the brook, where I finally reestablished contact with the familiar stony grass. Further down I started cutting across the land, passing another great campsite I had not seen before, and in an increasing wind I hit my tent squarely before 16:00.
This wind had indeed turned 180°, so the tent was still perfectly aligned. I sat down outside and had some reindeer meat, enjoying the beautiful afternoon, but later there were some more clouds again. I prepared dinner and ate it outside, sitting on the lee side of the tent in on-and-off sun, and then just lay down to rest. I spotted movement in a nearby rock field, and identified it as another weasel – or perhaps the same one as earlier. I sat down to look at it as it darted to and fro between the rocks, and then went to get the camera; it was still doing its thing, and I managed to get both some pictures and videos of it (here is an edited file; 4M XviD).
Back inside the tent I solved crosswords, rested and read in my book, and now the wind had abated again. There were more clouds, and the Bårddetjåhkkå summit was hidden again, but it remained clearer over the lowlands. The summit clouds sank a bit and the wind was no more, and I now perceived the onset of dusk more clearly than before. I was rather tired from the day's excursion, and was thankful to lie down to sleep at 22:30, betting on a less cold night.