Day 84. Aktse to Sitojaure

Posted by: James on March 25, 2009

Distance 14km | Time 4hrs | Ascent 430m | Descent 320m

Day 84. Looking west from above Aktse to the Delta land Parte massif and SkierffeI slept quiet well and was reluctant to get up at 0730. My legs were quite stiff but the knock I took on my bum when I fell on the icy surface last night was sore. If I was not so well padded I could really have done some damage. The impact was just to the side of my coxis bone. As it was I was having to limp to walk around.

I had a slow breakfast resigned to the fact that Saltoluokta was not on and it would just be the 14 km to Sitojaure due to my injury. I chatted with the two Swedish ice fishers and also the two young Germans who had just come out of Sarek after a weeks trip through it.

Once they all left I had a lie down again to rest more and enjoy the sun streaming through the window. For the last week or so the nights had been down to around minus 15 and the days down to about minus 8. The weather had been great though, and it was to continue.

I eventually set off at 1200. Initially it was a steep climb up through the spruce forest. I decided to walk rather than put my skins on and the track was hard enough to do so.

Behind me Laitaure lake was slowly appearing through the trees. Its delta land was quite visible to the west. On the other side of the valley was the steep block of a mountain called Tjakjali. In the middle of the delta land was another nunatak, which was also called Nammasj. This one was a more classic shape and better known than its Kvikkjokk namesake.

To the north of the delta land was the well known and often photographed landmark of Skierffe. This peak overlooked the valley. The side facing the valley was vertical for some 600 metres in a great dark wall. I have once seen the winter view from Skierffe and the delta land looks amazing. Everything is white except for the gentle curves of the levees beside the river channels and lagoons which are covered in a thin dark line of birch trees like a giant monochrome paisley pattern.

Unfortunately I did not had the time or energy to climb it again as the view from here into the remote wilderness of Sareks angular hidden massifs would have been magnificent on this clear day.

Day 84. Looking north west up Sitojaure lake towards Pastavagge valley and Apar massifAfter some photos I continued to climb up the steep ridge separating Laitaure lake from Sitojaure lake and after a laboured two hours made the crest. My bum caused me to limp slightly if on can do that with skis on.

The top of the ridge was 1000 metres high and well above the treeline. On my west was the white rounded curves of Njunjes while to the east was the vast forest and lake tracts which stretched many hundreds of kilometres to the Baltic. I was on the very eastern part of the mountains. These mountains had been thrust onto the bedrock to the east of me in the Caledonian Mountain building collision some 400 million years ago.

The sun remained warm and bright for the long mostly gentle descent down to Sitojaure lake. Occasionally I took my skis off and walked as I could not contemplate landing on my bum again. Down and down I went until I was in the birch forest which surrounded this 600 metre high lake. Too high for conifers.

There was a long 4 km across the lake to reach the cabin. I felt very lazy skiing along it. There was none of last nights vigour. Perhaps it was because there was no urgency in reaching it. I eventually got there at 1600.

Looking west up Sitojaure lake I could see some of the eastern massifs of Sarek, most notably Apar. Beside Apar was a deep valley called Pastavagge. It was renowned for its large avalanches which apparently spread out across the valley floor and then continued up the lower slopes on the other side.

Day 84. Sitojaure cabin was very comfortableThere were the two nice young Germans who had been in Sarek and also left Aktse today. There was also a 70 year old Austrian couple who were very sporty still. They went to the Julian Alps a lot and we talked about the mountains there which I also found fantastic and beautiful.

The cabin warden was also a very nice retired army officer. He kindly gave me some dried bread, butter and cheese to supplement my dehydrated meals. The cabin itself was quite new, warm and comfortable. I was here in 1984 and 1986 but the cabin I stayed in then had burnt down and this was the replacement.

I then sent emails about the deteriorating condition of one of my skis. It was going to be a problem to change them due to logistics. They current ski would probably still do for another few hundred km.

Day 84. A red fox by Sitojaure cabinThe blog took up the early evening and despite heavy eyelids I persevered as I did not want to get behind again. As I started a red fox appeared outside the cabin. It must be a hard like for them in the winter here.

It had not been a great day by any means, yet it was not a bad day either. My sore bum prevented me from skiing to Saltoluokta. On the other hand the weather was perfect and the views great. Hopefully tomorrow I would feel more up to it.

One Response to “Day 84. Aktse to Sitojaure”

  1. Mike Davidson Says:

    Hi James

    I’ve been following your epic journey with no small amount of envy. It’s particularly interesting of course to hear you describe the delta I remember so well from our trip in 1986. That view from Skierffe must be the most memorable I’ve ever seen. Those are impressive distances you have been covering recently- Hope your tender parts recover quickly! Best wishes- Mike