In this post I will outline how to summit Sweden’s Kebnekaise (their highest mountain). I will provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to a full written narrative, photos and videos. This is a self-guided adventure on a shoestring. Follow the links to dig deeper into the adventure.
Kebnekaise/Giebmegaisi is Sweden’s highest mountain. It consists of two peaks – the south is the highest (at the moment) while the north is only slightly lower. Global warming may change that soon.
Note that I rate this as moderate because there are two routes. The eastern route is technical (requires harness and caribiners for cables, and ropes for glacier crossing). This route is physically easy. The western route is a trekking route but due to its length, altitude ups & downs and the amount of bouldering, I consider it much harder. So moderate is the middle ground. Note that weather at the top is always snow and often wet with little visibility.
There are two routes to the summit.
The west trail from Kebnekaise Station, via Kitteldalen valley and Vierranvarri is very difficult. After Kitteldalen the terrain turns into high alpine ground with snow fields. It is endless bouldering and scree with a steep ascent only to descend 200m from the top of Vierranvarri to the Kaffedalen valley. Then ascend 400 m up another steep boulder field to first emergency cabin (there are 3 in all). From there it is another 200 vertical meters (or 50 minutes) to the snowy glacier summit (un-marked). It is 18 km round trip that takes around 10-14 hours. This is a non-technical route but very difficult. Wear high-top hiking or climbing boots with hard soles.
I joined the expensive guided group arranged at the Kebnekaise Station. Here is a slide of the requirements (in Swedish). 8-10 hours, 15km round trip and 1400m gain.
The package requires that you wear high-top hiking or climbing boots, gloves, an outer wet protection layer (poncho not acceptable), etc. These were the main items that I didn’t have so had to rent/buy items. They provide a backpack, helmet, hiking pole, harness with carabiners, buffet breakfast and a self-packed lunch (from the buffet breakfast).
There is a good description of the technical route in this book.
See Kungsleden How to post for logistics of reaching the Kebnekaise Station.
Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $$
|Guided package w guides, gear, breakfast & lunch
Had to buy gloves
Had to rent boots