Day 88. Singi to Alesjaure

Posted by: James on March 29, 2009

Distance 38km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 700m | Descent 620m

Day 88. Looking up Stuor Reaiddavagge to Nallo cabinIt had been a bit windy all night and it was warmer in the morning at only minus 10. I did not get up as early as I wanted and eventually surfaced at 0700. There was quite a bit of activity in the cabin. Most people were eating breakfast and some were packing.

I eventually got going at around 0930 after chatting with most people. It was overcast but the wind had died off. The first part of the route was the 13 km ski up to Salka cabin. It was a shame it was overcast as there would have been some great views up Rabots glacier to the west face of Kebnekaise

Day 88. The cabins at Salka and the Tjaktjavagge valley beyondThe further north I went the clearer it got and by the time I got to Kaskasavagge valley I could look up it to see the impressive Nijbas mountain. There were also some good views up Stuor Reaiddavagge valley towards Nallo cabin. The mountains up there were some of the most impressive in the Kebnekaise area.

Just before I reached Salka a convoy of dog teams came towards me. There was the lead sled with 10 dogs pulling a big equipment sledge and the leader of the tour and then 8 clients each with their own sledge pulled by 4 dogs. These commercial dog sledge tours tend to overnight as Salka.

Salka is a collection of three cabins for overnighting in. It is one of the STF’s busiest and best located cabins, as a few skiing and walking routes meet here and it is a good base for day tours. I passed at least 10 people en route from Salka to Singi and when I got there it was empty. The warden was there and she sold me a few snacks. I ate them in the cabin and rested an hour before moving on.

Day 88. Looking south from Tjaktja pass down to Tjaktjavagge valleyThe next leg was up to Tjaktja cabin. This was 13 km up the valley and over the Tjaktja pass at about 1140 metres. The weather was improving significantly yet everybody who was skiing towards me having come over the pass told tales of near storm conditions. One man had a beard full of ice so I was starting to believe them.

It was a long gradual climb up to the pass. The incline was really quite gentle for most of it so it was not too taxing. Just at the last bit did I get slightly steeper so I had to herring bone up. Just before the top I entered the mist but I had one last look a the white valley to the south I had just come up. There was no wind at all so it is remarkable how quickly the weather can change.

There was a small emergency shelter at the top which was there long before the STF built the new cabin a Tjaktja in the mid 1980’s. It was now redundant really as this new cabin was just another 4 km down the other side.

My skis had been waxed perfectly for the climb up but on the 4 km descent down to Tjaktja cabin they refused to glide which was a shame as it would have been a nice ski. Even when I scraped them they did not run well.

Tjaktja cabin had about 10 people and a friendly warden. I was tempted to stay but there was still another 4 hours of daylight and a very easy 13 km two hour ski down to Alesjaure cabin. If I left it until tomorrow and I had to ski this 13 km and the remaining 35 km from Alesjaure to Abisko in a strong head wind I would not forgive myself. So I decided to get it in the bag while the going was good.

It was a fast descent down to the main valley called Alesvagge. The 4 km took no time at all. Here there was another unmarked route from Haukejaure cabin which joined the trail I was on. Someone had been pulling a sledge along here very recently in the last hour or two. When the sledge puller met a small rise he had to herring bone and I saw he was using the same short skins as myself. It had to be Andre who had followed a different route for the last two and a half weeks but had to go through the bottleneck of Alesjaure.

Day 88. Looking up to Possustjokka from near Alesjaure cabinIt was a very pleasant ski down to Alesjaure. The wax had worn off and I was gliding well. The weather was back to its perfect state and the sun was starting to set as I arrived. The mountains around Alesjaure were turning yellow under the blue sky. Particularly impressive was the view up to Possustjokka where I had previously gone a few times over a glacier as a spectacular route to Nallo cabin.

Day 88. The wonderful evening light over the upper end of Alesvagge valleyI soon reached the steep slope up to Alesjaure cabin. I took my skis off for the short climb. At the top Andre came out to meet me. It was good to see him. No doubt we would have a few stories to swap. The warden showed me round and opened the small provisions shop. I bought some snacks and more supper.

After settling down I went through to the kitchen cum living room. There were about 12 people, all men. Swedes, Finns, a Dane and Andre who was holding court. I joined the conversation. Andre had done some long days but had been hampered by the weather and broken sledge so had to cadge a lift for a good few km through Saltfjellet. If he had not I would have been well impressed.

As the evening wore on I was getting anxious my paperwork was falling behind. At 2130 I started to ignore people and write. Pretty soon afterwards everybody else went to bed and I had an undisturbed time until midnight to work.

It had been a great day. I had done a good distance but never felt rushed. I stopped and chatted with at least 30 people en route and in the two cabins I took a break in. It was also good to see Andre again. The weather which I was told was going from bad to worse went from pretty good to excellent. Tomorrow there is an easy 35 km to Abisko and then end of the Kungsleden which I have enjoyed tremendously.

Comments are closed.