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Mount Kebnekaise, the summit

At 6 am. the weather looked nice. I slept quite well and didn't feel much pain in my legs. I packed the gears I thought would be needed during the summiting attempt. Food, drinks, clothes, a beanie & gloves, the map, trekking poles, sunglasses... The rest I left in the tent.

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The fjällstation was close to my camp. Many people seemed to stay overnight in their cozy beds but there were many tents too. I passed the station and walked the path. The sign "västra leden" was the only sign I saw during the whole day.

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The terrain started to rise slowly from the altitude of 750 metres (the camp). The path was quite easy to walk at first.

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Then the first steep rise "Kittelbacken" was ahead.

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Kittelbacken is a beautiful place. The path goes by the stream (Giebmejohka) and water comes from the melting snowy areas.

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It's quite difficult to realise the scale of these landscapes. If you look very closely, you can find people in most of my photos - like in this one!

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Up they go! I wasn't there alone. Maybe 40-50 other people tried to climb up to the summit during the same day.

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Wildlife! Reindeer high up on the snow. I think they were escaping mosquitoes or finding cooler place to stay. I wish I had legs of reindeer - they seemed to move so light and fast!

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Almost on the top of Kittelbacken

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Somewhere here there should have been a rope bridge, it's in the map. There were not and quite many lost the right path while looking for a place to pass the stream. The path kinda disappeared also because stones and rocks were bigger and the path was not so easy to spot. The path was marked with red paint on the rocks. Red colour is not as good as it may sound and especially when climbing up time to time the markings disappeared totally.

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After passing the stream, probably the steepest and most dangerous climbing part started. See the man with yellow trousers? At this point, first climbers gave it up. They glided downhill on the snow because they were too afraid to come down the same route they went up (needless to say that they were Finns). I asked them how many times they were going to climb up and glide down again - only once they said! Their way to come downhill looked pretty dangerous, I wouldn't dare to do the same.

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I survived the dangerous part. The altitude was about 1300 metres at this point. Far in the distance you can see the lake Laddjujavri which I passed the day before.

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The landscapes started to look like I was somewhere in the middle of real mountains.

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The previous steep rise exhausted me (and some others) badly and the path wasn't going to be much easier for now on. Almost every rock and stone moved under the trekking boots and this unstable surface made climbing even more exhausting. I could hear the noise of falling rocks all the time, the rolling-stones-part of the climb started.
 
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About six hours since I left my camp, I arrived to the top of Vierranvarri (~1700 metres). Some people gave it up here and turned back.

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I sat down for a while and almost turned back. I didn't feel much pain but I felt I didn't have much energy left in my half dead body. I knew the way down was going to be almost as difficult as climbing up if not more painful for the muscles. I talked with these people in the picture and they convinced me that going up was "rewarding". One Swedish girl thought different and she returned from here, she was tired and afraid of hights.

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The hard decision to continue saw the daylight. It felt stupid to abort the climb while the summit could already be seen but it also felt stupid to go down to the valley and start the final rise from about 1500 metres up to 2100 metres. I didn't have energy nor strength to continue but somehow I found the Finn inside me and the famous Finnish "sisu" (=guts)...

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Rolling stones and rocks...

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... almost there...

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... arrived to the cabin which is close to the summit (somebody left his shoes there)..
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...and finally 12 hours later - views from the summit!

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Nordtoppen. I had decided from the beginning that I would not rise to this top because I didn't have crampons. It was too dangerous attempt without and according to my map, the highest peak is Sydtoppen (2106 metres) which I reached. I was happy and I was very tired.

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About 20 hours since I left my tent, I was back in the camp at 3 am. The top of mountains was covered with clouds soon after I left the summit. It started to rain and the path became slippery but lucky me I was close to the Arctic Circle and the night was not dark. While descending I swore never to climb any mountain ever and if I ever see my cosy sofa again I would not rise up from it never ever! When I came close to the stream Giebmejohka, it had changed to a roaring waterfall but somehow I managed to cross it. Two guys passed me at 2 am. when I was almost back in my tent. They hadn't seen anything from the summit because of clouds! Bad luck!

I can assure I slept deep the rest of the night although I knew there were still 20 kilometres waiting for somebody to walk back to Nikkaluokhta with all the gears.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
balbuflo
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
I'm used to climb in the mountains, here, but I'm not sure I would be strong enough to do that hike you did.
korpun
Aug. 15th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Come on, you are light as a fairy, you could do it just like that!
suukko4
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
congratulations on a truly epic achievement!

beautiful pictures, the one with the reindeer really shows how big that place is. very cool pic
korpun
Aug. 15th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )