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  • Jonas Paurell

Circumnavigating Kebnekaise

On a cold sunny day in March 2019, Michael, Robert and I set off from Kiruna to travel by train and car to Vakkotavare Mountain Hut, which is a beautifully situated hut far from civilisation. From there the plan was to set out in the arctic landscape on snowshoes to cover a bit over 100km over 7 days. We planned to trek North, then East and finally South to circumnavigate Kebnekaise – Sweden’s highest mountain.

The journey would take us past the mountain huts Teusajaure, Kaitumjaure, Singi, Sälka, Nallo, Vistas and then finally back to the closest road at Nikkaloukta, where we’d catch a bus back to Kiruna. However, due to bad weather with lots of snow and high winds we made the decision not to enter the Nallo valley, which at some places can be very avalanche prone. Instead of heading north from the Singi hut, we went East towards Kebnekaise mountain station and then onwards to Nikkaloukta.

The journey was intended to allow us to completely disconnect with the world, find the silence you can only really find in completely uninhabited land and to photograph snow, mountains and hopefully Aurora.

This journey was definitely one to remember with constant strong winds, which on occasions actually threw us to the ground. We had days of almost uninterrupted whiteouts making the navigation challenging and the days trekking completed in silence. The strange this is that the efforts made, and the discomforts suffered made the journey challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. At the end of each day as we were sat around the log stove enjoying our dinners, we reflected that the day had been a huge challenge for us all but that we had loved every second of it and that we felt incredibly energized and alive. Being in nature is truly living!

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