/ King's Trail - Northern Sweden
Considering a weeks trip along Kings Trail - Abisko to Kebnekaise - mid March this year, and welcoming all advice. (I've seen the ski or snowshoe thread from a while back, but not much of a skier - a Frenchman described my pisted skiing as "celtic - fearless but with no technique", and I have no XC experience...)
In particular, I was wondering about the huts:
(1) Are these huts manned / do you require a key to gain entry (which I hear is the Norwegian style)? I would be too late to join and receive STF membership in the post. As such, I'm assuming I can join in-person at the first hut (STF website suggests so), although I also assume this requires a guardian to issue a card, and to let me enter the first hut.
(2) Is it fair to assume there will be space in the huts, or do people recommend booking in advance? (Might be difficult given the above.)
(3) To minimise pack weight I was hoping to purchase food (at presumably inflated hut prices) - is this possible to do each day?
Any knowledge on the above, or general advice, gratefully received and considered. Thanks
All the huts are manned. When I went a couple of years ago you could become a member in any hut and get a temporary membership card, I presume it's still the same. You can't book in advance but everyone are guaranteed somewhere to sleep, if there's too many people you might get a mattress on the floor though. There are a few huts that don't sell anything, but they're spread out so at most you'll have to carry a day's worth of food.
It's a gorgeous stretch, I highly recommend it, although I've only seen it in the summer.
I stayed in a couple of huts where the route skirts the edge of Sarek. It's a long time ago and we were there for May Day, so later than you are saying, but I don't remember anyone else being in those huts when we stayed. They weren't manned though, we had all our food with us.
Yeah I was only talking about the king's trail, it's a bit different elsewhere.
> Hi all,
> Considering a weeks trip along Kings Trail - Abisko to Kebnekaise - mid March this year, and welcoming all advice. (I've seen the ski or snowshoe thread from a while back, but not much of a skier - a Frenchman described my pisted skiing as "celtic - fearless but with no technique", and I have no XC experience...)
In mid March you will want skis I reckon.
> In particular, I was wondering about the huts:
> (1) Are these huts manned / do you require a key to gain entry (which I hear is the Norwegian style)? I would be too late to join and receive STF membership in the post. As such, I'm assuming I can join in-person at the first hut (STF website suggests so), although I also assume this requires a guardian to issue a card, and to let me enter the first hut.
The huts are manned in summer. You can get an STF at Kenekaise mountain station. I'm not sure that all the huts will be manned in March.
> (2) Is it fair to assume there will be space in the huts, or do people recommend booking in advance? (Might be difficult given the above.)
Can't book. Space always (probably lots in March!)
> (3) To minimise pack weight I was hoping to purchase food (at presumably inflated hut prices) - is this possible to do each day?
Most carry some provisions but expensive and largely unexciting. Take some bits and bobs to top up. Also larders require wardens - see first point.
> Any knowledge on the above, or general advice, gratefully received and considered. Thanks
If you are flying form Stockholm it's much nicer to get the overnight train to Abisko. The flight to Kiruna arrives too late and you have to spend a night there - which is grim.
In March without skis, this year especially will be impossible. Most of sweden from around mid sweden northwards have had between 1.5 and 2m snow fall. It has consolidated down, so in many places it's less now perhaps only a metre deep, but where it's drifted it will be worse.
Edit. Don't expect a thaw. Nothing above zero on the forecast. When it does melt(earliest april) there will be flood and crossing problems in places.
I was planning to do the Kungsleden all the way from Hemavan to Abisco about now but a couple of months off work have put my plans out of joint some what. The bit your planning is the most popular section for both walkers and skiers. There are lots of huts and they're quite closely situated, typically they're between 8 and 12 km apart. As it's so popular the huts are staffed during the spring ski season. You can check on the STF website when their open, you can also join online.
We went and did that section of the Kungsleden in late April, a couple of years ago. You can join the STF at the Tourist Station in Abisko. The huts on this section are all manned with the exception of one emergency shelter. I would book your first night at Abisko, as that does get busy, but all of the other huts, will fit you in as required. While these huts don't all have food for sale (unlike the self service huts of Norway), but they do all have Saunas! We carried our own food for our trip, but did eat in the restaurant at the Kebnekaise fjallstation.
At this time of the year, skis are pretty much the main/only option. If you can ski on a piste, then you will be fine on the whole. My wife had never been on Nordic skis and had about two days on Alpine skis, when we went and she coped pretty well. It maybe worth having a day or two around Abisko to get use to using Nordic skis.
We did the journey in 5 days, but you can split it up a bit more if you wish, as there are two other manned huts, that we missed out. From Abisko tourist station followed the Kings Trail to Abiskojaure-stugorna (15km). Following day continued along the trail but took in the summit of Garddenvarri (1154m), saw fresh Wolverine tracks on the way to Alesjaurestugorna (20km). The next day was the longest and toughest day – white out conditions for the whole day. Very knackered when we got to Salkastugonra (25km). Clear weather the following day, gave some great views, we departed the main track and headed over the sp ht 980m on our way to Kebnekaise fjallstation (26km). Crossing some of the lakes on the way to Nikkaluokta (19km) on the final day proved to be slightly challenging, with the odd wet foot achieved, due to the lateness of the season.
I've just got back from Norway and this is what I carried this time - https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf_FXP9gFee/?taken-by=paulsmith_coach
Thanks everyone - lots of things to consider. I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. If I have a good experience, I might even let you all know!
Not a bad forecast, -7 and sunny will feel pleasant on the move. Don't forget your suncream if you've got delicate skin ( not joking).
Hi Zack. Did this great route mid march 2 years ago and also last year but going off to other huts around. Going back in a week to do some other huts just off the main track and in Norway.
If you are a YHA UK member then there are reciprocal rights. So you do not need to join STF to get discount. Also, book on the STF site for the number of nights huts you want to get further discount. You don't need to be specific about each hut or night, just book, say, 8 nights for the Abisko Nikkoluokta area with a start date. You get a further discount of about £5 a night with that. But you must print it out to get stamped at each hut. So need to do inUK.
Both times in March I have seen snowshoe users. The trail is well marked. However you will be slower so probably not able to skip a hut. So about 8 nights needed. The huts on the main trail without food are Tjaktja and Singi. All huts are manned though. Weather can be a problem despite the large number of red cross marker poles. A strong West gale was concentrated in the narrowing valley from Singi to Kebnekaise and constantly blowing us over two years ago. A tricky position. Generally a bivvy shelter, shovel and sleeping bag etc should be carried.
Beautiful area, and great huts. Hope it goes well.
Hi, just to note the reciprocal rights are for STF Swedish huts, so covers the King's trail. However there are no reciprocal rights in Norway, so DNT membership is needed ( and possibly hut key as well).
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