For some time now, SFK has held a more-or-less-yearly fjeld weather course, which I have been interested in attending. Last year it was in Litnok, which is not entirely straightforward to reach, but this year it returned to its usual location in Pårek, and I decided that this would be the time. Since Pårek lies in the southeastern corner of Sarek National Park I came up with the idea of starting on the opposite side and walking through the park, visiting areas I had not yet seen (other than from afar). The course also coincided with the 100-year anniversary of the building of Axel Hamberg's Pårtetjåkkå observatory – a milestone in mountain meteorology – and I drew up the tour with a visit up there in mind. This would also involve crossing Luohttoláhko, which was something I had wanted to do ever since not going that way in 2006. I decided on Ritsem as the starting point, and kept several alternatives in mind as to the middle sections, depending on weather, physical condition, etc.
As usual, I dare say, the weather had been good or even great leading up to my departure, but then the forecasts showed worse conditions coming into play just when I was to start. This is not the first time that has been the case, and I felt reassured in the high probability that things would, by and large, turn out better than expected. So, I cursed my luck – and hoped for the best.
As for the journey to Ritsem, I needed to jump through some hoops. My original plan was to take the night train to Gällivare and the connecting bus westwards, but as it turned out, the exact weekend I was to go there was construction work going on along the line, which meant that the regular night trains were cancelled. Also, no matter which combination of transports I came up with, it was simply impossible to make it to Ritsem during Saturday if I left on Friday, so it looked like I would have to spend the night in Gällivare in any case – and therefore I settled on the bus leaving Östersund on Saturday morning.
However, just a day before leaving I discovered that the boat between Ritsem and Änonjálmme did not depart when I thought it did – apparently its timetable had changed since last I travelled with it, which meant that even though I was to take the morning bus from Gällivare, I would not be able to start walking until in the evening. After some frantic time with the map – one alternative wilder than the other – I came up with the solution of preparing an early dinner in Ritsem, and then just walking as far as I could in the evening, thereby preserving the timetable of the original plan more or less in full. It also had the added benefit of removing the weight of one dinner from the rucksack, so all turned out well.
Since I would be in the field for a fortnight without possibility of restocking and the size and weight of the food pack would be substantial, I did my very best to make the rest of the equipment as light as possible. To this end I had bought a new, much lighter down sleeping bag at the start of summer, and also a canister-mounted stove which I was to use in a somewhat improvised configuration. I also carefully considered every other piece of gear, not taking risks but also not being overly allowing. The result can be seen below, and like before it should be noted that the weight of the actual rucksack is lower than the total amount, since I also carry some stuff in the belt, pockets, etc. All in all, the rucksack weighed just over 20kg at the start, which I was satisfied with.
My packing list was as follows:
|thermal underwear||Craft Zero||300g|
|hiking boots||Meindl Performance||1860g|
|hat||Haglöfs felt hat||185g|
|knife||personally handmade + belt||210g|
|rucksack||McKinley Crestone 70||2655g|
|shirt||large, warm cotton shirt||530g|
|rain clothes||mixed set||755g|
|spare underpants||(see above)||225g|
|spare socks||(see above)||130g|
|leisure clothes||Touch9 micro fleece suit + T-shirt||570g|
|extra underwear shirt||wool||210g|
|drinking vessel, tableware||spork, foldable cup, mini whisk, water flask||185g|
|camping stove||Optimus Crux Lite + canister rest + Trangia pot||305g|
|fuel||2 Primus Power Gas canisters||760g|
|food and drink||
7 DryTech REAL freeze-dried packages
2 Blå Band Expedition Meals freeze-dried packages
1 Travellunch freeze-dried package
1 Mountain House freeze-dried package
~150g of couscous
18 dl oatmeal
29 Varma Koppen/Cup-a-Soup instant soup packages
14 Ögonblink instant chocolate packages
20 tea bags
3 packages of hard bread
1 package of soft bread
250g of butter
2 packages of sliced cheese
2 packages of salami/dried ham
1 tube of cream cheese
2 packages of biscuits
2 large chocolate bars
2 slabs of dried reindeer meat
1 package of blueberry soup powder
2 packages of Dextro Energy tablets
salt and pepper
|tent||Fjällräven Skule R/S 2||2615g|
|sleeping bag||Cumulus Lite Line 400||775g|
|Other required stuff|
|medical stuff||bandage, anti-chafe adhesive, sun protection||145g|
|hygiene stuff||toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, ointment, toilet paper||345g|
|map||fjeld map (BD10: Sarek National Park)||105g|
|map case||Haglöfs Watatait||100g|
|mosquito repellant||US622 stick||35g|
|payment, recording||cards, bills, paper, pencil||55g|
|book||The Overlook (Michael Connelly)||195g|
|deck of cards||–||90g|
|camera and accessories||Canon PowerShot S3 IS, batteries, memory cards, mini tripod||845g|
|camera pouch||Lowepro Apex 100 AW||175g|
|mobile phone||Nokia 1600||80g|
Plus my well-used 350-g birch walking stick.
The hostel I had booked in Gällivare had mysteriously shifted location since my previous visit, and I wasn't the only one so fooled, but everything worked out alright in the end. I also met Fredrik, another participant in the coming course, at the hostel; he had been walking through Sarek for several weeks already this summer, researching a guide book, and would now be taking some "time off" before going off to the course. I watched the latest forecasts, and prepared to face whatever was to come.
Here, then, is the full account of what transpired during the subsequent weeks. Each section has a header consisting of a short overview of the stage in question, complete with a map showing the route travelled. A ring marks the starting point, a square the lunch break location (if any), and a star the destination. Vertical distances have been calculated from the map and have an accuracy of 20 m. All breakfasts consisted of oatmeal porridge, tea and a sandwich, and all lunches of two cups of instant soup, a sandwich and water.