/ Kungsleden and Kebnekaise, Sweden

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Arbu 17 Jun 2019

I'm going hiking next week around the Kungsleden in Sweden. I intend to do it from south to north. A few questions:

1. Do I need ice axe and crampons for Kebnekaise? 

2. Can I get fuel at the Fjallstation at Kebnekaise? Maybe since most people walk north to south there will be lots left over that I can pick up.

3. The mountains north of Kebnekaise look interesting to explore. Would it be crazy to follow the ridge north of Kebnekaise to get to them? Will there still be lots of snow at higher elevations such that it's difficult to hike there?

4. I'm going early in the season to hopefully avoid mosquitoes but I'll take repellent anyway. Are midges likely to be a problem?

I'll be by myself but am experienced in the mountains and will have a SPOT device with me in case of emergencies.


HeMa 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Arbu:

1. Yes

2. Yes, they have a shop. But not all kinds are available. 

3. They are. And perhaps, it will be mountaineering though. Not hiking. Oh and it’s still skiMo season at higher elevations  

4. If it is warm, there will be mossies and midges in the lower elevations. Not so much higher up. 

OwenM 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Arbu:

1, Quite likely this early.

2, You can normally buy gas, meths etc but don't expect to pick up left overs, their very quick at clearing it out.

3, Only you can answer that, but generally the rock is just mounds of loose scree.

4, Midgies aren't much of a problem, mosquito's are but their at their worst in July. Early/late in the season is better.

I also go solo and I'm still alive.

Mike Peacock 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Arbu:

If you don't have it, it's worth picking up the Calazo Kungsleden book. It has suggested routes for detours off the Kungsleden and onto some of the other summits in the area, if you're aiming to hit some other tops.

Arbu 17 Jun 2019

Thanks. It says "förbjudet område för terrängfordon" on my map just above Kebnekaise so I don't think I'll be running into snow mobiles.

Mike, I can't find any Calazo book. There's one published by Cicerone and one by Plan and Go. Maybe you know where to find it?

Mike Peacock 17 Jun 2019
JStearn 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Arbu:

Here's a trip report southbound in late May: http://www.spektakl.co.uk/kebnekaise/

Are you starting from Hemavan or Nikkaluokta? If Hemavan, there probably won't be much snow by the time you make it to Kebnekaise. The summit is always glaciated though, you need an axe and crampons for it. You can get fuel in most of the larger fjallstations. If you mean the ridge to Nordtoppen on Kebnekaise, that would depend on the conditions. There's a picture in my report of it, I wouldn't go unroped if it still has snow. I didn't have trouble with bugs until early July, further south.

Arbu 17 Jun 2019

Thanks Mike. Doesn't look as if they ship it to the UK, so I'll look for it when I'm in Kiruna.

JStearn, I'm starting from Nikkaluokta. That ridge in your photo looks a bit exposed for my liking - bit of a cornice on the right and very steep in parts on the left. If I don't do it then I'll go back to the Fjallstation afterwards and I can just hire crampons and an ice axe for the climb there and won't need to carry them for the rest of the trip.

Post edited at 19:12
Arbu 20 Jun 2019

After watching this video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV4hftDlFOg I'm thinking that perhaps I should consider taking via ferrata kit too. It seems that they use it at the top, not just on the East Route. And if I take it I could consider doing the East Route. Not sure I want to join such a big group as in the video though. Anyone know if that glacier is safe to cross unroped?

Arbu 08 Jul 2019

I finished hiking last Tuesday. Hardly any mosquitoes but there was a lot of snow to wade through in places, and the weather at time was vicious - really strong winds with sleet and hail. And the tops of the mountains were in cloud 90% of the time. So I turned around before getting to the top of Kebnekaise. I also climbed Kaskasatjakka and Stuor Ruska but in each case the cloud came in as I got towards the top. I did the pass from Tarfala to Salka huts and crampons and an ice axe were definitely worth having for getting over the top of the glacier above Tarfala. Most of the huts on the Kungsleden were just about full. So I dread to think what they must be like in peak season.

On the whole it was interesting, but pretty arduous for what I got out of it. Maybe late August would have been a better time with less snow about.

summo 08 Jul 2019
In reply to Arbu:

Peak season pretty much starts from mid summer when most folk start to take their holidays. This summer has been a little colder and more changeable, forecasters nightmare, they seem to change hourly. Apart from a week over mid summer there has been an absence of large blocking high pressures.  

August would certainly be quieter and less old snow. But if you leave it until late in August the greater the risk of more varied weather. Autumn can arrive surprisingly quickly. 

Arbu 09 Jul 2019
In reply to summo:

OK then I guess I went at as good a time as you can. Maybe I should have taken snow shoes though. In spite of my recollection of terrible weather I did manage to get some decent photos http://www.learnedtraveller.com/swedish-lapland-2019/lapland/

summo 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Arbu:

Looks like you didn't do too bad. 


It's just the luck of the draw weather wise. If you look at the 10 day forecast now things are only marginally better. 

Post edited at 22:00

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