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Sarek National Park, Sweden

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 Arbu 25 Jul 2020

I'm thinking of making a solo backpacking trip to Sarek at the end of August/beginning of September. It seems that the flying from London to Stockholm is quite doable now and I'd get a train to Gallivare and bus from there. It doesn't seem as if there is much food available in the park so I'd be limited by what I could carry - maybe 8-9 days worth. I like to hike slowly, looking for wildlife and sketching. I'd take a SPOT locator device with me. Of course I'd have to self-isolate on getting back to the UK.

Should work, shouldn't it?

Post edited at 11:03
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 Arbu 25 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

Thanks. Those shops are not quite as off the beaten track as I would need as I really want to go to the centre of the park. I think maybe a start at Saltoluokta, hiking through the centre for about a week and ending up with a nice meal at Kvikjokk would be the plan. Climbing a mountain en route would be good too, though I'm not sure which one. It seems that glacier traverses are needed for Sarek mountain so that's out if I'm by myself.

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 OwenM 25 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

Sarek, absolutely love that place. I would have been travelling back form there this weekend if it wasn't for this Covid 19 nonsense.

Yes your plan is very do-able, from Gallivare you can get the bus to Ritsem on the north side of the park. There are several stops before Ritsem you could also use as a start point. The other option is to get off the train at Murjek and get a bus Jokkmokk and on to Kvikkjokk on the southern side of the park. 

There's are supermarkets at Gallivare and Jokkmokk, the Fellstations at Ritsem and Kvikkjokk sell a limited amount of dried food, gas, meths etc. There are no huts inside the park, you will need to carry everything. There are some paths but no waymarked routes. The couple of bridges are there for the Sami reindeer herders so they aren't necessarily where you'd want them. They take them away for the winter so they might be gone by the time you're there. It's worth having a plan for river crossings, you'll be doing a lot of them.   

There is a new guidebook if you're interested in such things 

https://sareknationalpark.wordpress.com/order/ 

It's not until you visit places like Sarek that you realize just how much the landscape of the UK has been altered.  

  

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 Mike Peacock 25 Jul 2020
In reply to OwenM:

This is amazing - there's an English language guidebook! I moved to Sweden a few years back and posted here asking about whether they existed. Apart from for the Kungsleden it seemed like they didn't. I'll be ordering this today, thanks.

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 Arbu 25 Jul 2020

This is interesting - you can go on a special wildlife viewing trip to Sarek https://www.wildsweden.com/tours/wildlife-expedition-in-sarek-national-park-lapland

and they say August and September are the best times of year to go and Rapadalen the place. I'd join them except that it would cost ten times as much as doing it by myself. I hope the bears aren't too much of a risk.

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 OwenM 25 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

There are Bears in Sarek along with wolf, wolverine and Lynx. However their population density is so low and they are so shy that the chance of seeing any of them is almost zero. The family that farms at Aktse will do boat trips up the Rapa delta. The last time I was there in August the water level was to low. You can contact them here https://www.swedishtouristassociation.com/facilities/stf-aktse-mountain-cabin/

Bjorn the boatman at Kvikkjokk also does wildlife trips, his knowledge is very extensive. https://www.swedishtouristassociation.com/facilities/stf-kvikkjokk-fjallstation/

There are a few peaks that you can do without going on the glaciers, just study the map. The rock is very loose, all that freeze-thaw has left it very shattered. 

Another book worth looking out for is https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarek-Mountain-1970-2016-Sune-Karlsson/dp/9198188941/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Sune+Karlsson&qid=1595693356&sr=8-1

Not really a guidebook, it's a collection of photo essays of his trip going back many years. 

Here's some of my photo's https://www.flickr.com/photos/owenmerricksphotos/albums/72157673536925606

and

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/owenmerricksphotos/albums/72157689932732975 

  

   

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 Arbu 28 Jul 2020
In reply to OwenM:

Thanks. So maybe my plan should be to head in from the north, make my way slowly down Rapadalen, restock on food at Aktse, then walk to Kvikkjokk. 

I don't know if anyone knows when the foliage changes colour there? Some of the autumnal photos I've seen of the area are beautiful.

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 Red Rover 28 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

I have always wanted to go to Sarek it looks amazing! I would love to walk accross it, or, if I can find partners, climb the main mountain right in the middle (forgot it's name but it's the one which is sacred to the Sami). Please let us know how you get on! 

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 Arbu 28 Jul 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

The main mountain is Sarektjåkkå, although it's not really in the middle, more in the north. The only mention I can find of a sacred mountain is to Nammatj which is also not central and doesn't look like a climb that you would need partners for. So not sure which mountain you're thinking of. But, assuming I go, I will post a link to a report here.

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 Red Rover 28 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

OK I meant Sarektjåkkå. Must have got my wires crossed about it being sacred and central.  I have climbed one mountain sacred to the Sami, Stetind, and it's an absolute belter!

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 Arbu 30 Jul 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

I too wouldn't mind climbing Sarektjåkkå if I can find partners. But the trouble is to do so would require adding a rope, harness and crampons which combined with a tent and a week's food is starting to get a bit of a weight.

Also, I went hiking around Kebnekaise at the end of June last year. I tried to climb three mountains and each time I got close to the top only for the cloud to roll in. It would have been better to have stayed in the valleys.

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 Red Rover 30 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

It does seem like any mountain in the Sarek that needs a rope and gear is a major undertaking, especially when you need a week's worth of food in case the rivers come up and cut you off! It looks like the easiest route is Facile, but it involves a glacier crossing so you'd need rope/axes/crampons anyway, or a non-glaciated rock ridge at grade II/III which might be serious to do without a rope given how remote it is and the fact that it's presumably a harder grade if you go off-route. 

I wonder if the best approach would be to try the rock route with a skinny short rope (unicore would be tough enough maybe), a few slings and some krabs, so you can have some kind of protection for tricky rock steps, and some ability to abb off if you have to, and just accept that you will back off if the gear isn't enough or the climb turns out to be harder? Just getting a small part of the route done would be a great adventure I think. With the mindset of just going for a look and you'll do the route if it turns out to be straightforward, you should hopefully be safe enough. 

https://www.summitpost.org/sarektj-kk/364781

Post edited at 11:00
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 OwenM 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Arbu:

As far as I know, the sacred mountains are Skierfe, it's a day walk from Aktse. You pass a sacrificial rock (Aktsekallo) on the way. There is also a sacrificial ground below the main cliff. 

I think Akka is also a sacred mountain, it's across the lake from Ritsem. Not technical but quite difficult to get to. 

I was quite surprised by how extensive and crevassed the glaciers in Sarek were, far more so then I was expecting. If you want to do some peaks then ice axes, crampons, ropes and crevasse rescue gear would be needed. I'm Billy no mates so I'm always solo. I can get my pack weight for a two week trip down to around 20-23kg, the addition of climbing kit might be a backbreaker.   

Post edited at 11:20
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 Red Rover 31 Jul 2020
In reply to OwenM:

I've been trying to read about the whole concept of sacred mountains for the Sami, what makes them sacred and what the beliefs are etc. but I've not found much info, do you know where I can find out? Do the Sami mind if we climb the sacred mountains? It can be sensitive to some religions. 

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In reply to Arbu:

The rules are fluid at present, but have you factored in 2 weeks isolation in either direction. Borders rules to Denmark and Norway were relaxed two days ago, but beyond hasn't changed. 

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 OwenM 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

All I know is what's in Sune Karlsson's book, which isn't much. As far as I know they don't seem to mind people climbing their sacred mountains. Skierfe is near Aktse, Aktse is on the Kungleden. Skierfe is a very popular side trip, no one seems to mind.  

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 Arbu 31 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

I mentioned it in my original post for coming back to the UK. For Sweden the FCO website says "

Entry to Sweden

Like other EU countries, Sweden has banned entry to non-EU and non-EEA citizens arriving from outside of the EU until at least 31 August 2020. British nationals are not affected by this ban.

There is no general quarantine obligation for travellers entering Sweden."

Of course if they changed it, it would be a problem, but it seems fairly unlikely. And maybe I could persuade them that I was going to self-isolate in Sarek National Park.

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In reply to Arbu:

Strange, but if that's what it says follow the advice. It's certainly different to the perception and considering they've only just opened up fully with Norway and Denmark. 

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 Arbu 31 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

Surely the issue was with Norway and Denmark not letting people in from Sweden, not the other way round?

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In reply to Arbu:

> Surely the issue was with Norway and Denmark not letting people in from Sweden, not the other way round?

Technically I'm not sure if it's officially ok for danes and Norwegians to travel here according to their own countries rules, but on the 29th July non essential travel to Denmark, Norway and others was permitted by Sweden's foreign affairs dept. There was a lot of pressure because all the border shops the Norwegians love were closed. 

There are masses of cars from all over Europe kicking around though. Shame it would be better if everyone just holidayed local for a year, as it makes it much easy for individual nations to control or monitor the spread of the virus. Cases and deaths are still declining, but a surge of European tourists isn't likely to help. 

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 Johnhi 01 Aug 2020
In reply to Arbu:

Interesting to see people interested in Sarek, had been considering a solo trip this summer prior to covid.  

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 Red Rover 02 Aug 2020
In reply to Johnhi:

I'm interested in the Sarek but none of my friends are! They go sport climbing in Sardinia

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