Day 91. Lappjordhytta to Innset

Posted by: James on April 1, 2009

Distance 28km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 620m | Descent 890m

Day 91. Leaving Lappjordhytta on an overcast morningThe Germans were up quite early and I followed them. They all polished off a huge pot of porridge for breakfast. Even at breakfast there was a lot of banter. I could see why they chose their guide Peter. He was knowledgeable, diplomatic and very amusing. After breakfast all the cabin chores were done, like preparing kindling for the next users.

One thing Peter told me was that the gorge I noticed yesterday and was as clear as anything on the map, as it then turned into a 25 km canyon-like valley called Sordalen, was in fact the old river bed which drained Tornetrask The river used this drain to the west because the current drain to the east was blocked by the huge mass of inland ice.

I set of about 0900. The weather was overcast and the ground was covered in a sprinkling of new snow. The first task was to climb the hill above the cabin. With my short skins and in the deep snow I made bit of a hash of it and was floundering about like a baby moose. I could see the Germans looking and muttering.

After 10 minutes the snow at last got firmer and the gradient easier. I cleared the rest of the birch trees and started heading up the slope towards the mist and between rounded knolls. It was a sustained climb and after an hour at least I had only reached Gurtejarvi lakes. Due to the mist I could barely see them and confirmed my postion with the GPS.

I had been well and truly spoilt in Sweden with marked scooter trails, fast conditions and blessed with good clear weather. I was now back to reality. Indeed it felt I was back in the struggle of Seterdalsheiene. I could see very little in front of me when the frequent snow showers came through.

Occasionally to the north and west I caught glimpses of the base of the very craggy Ruovdoaivvit mountain or the smooth slope of some of its glaciers, mostly however I was peering a few metres ahead to see if the terrain went up or down.
I saw a couple of cornices here and there.

Day 91. Steep mountains in Lairevagge valleyBetween snow showers I could see a bit further. On one such occasion I climbed up the long slope to the to the saddle in Lairevagge valley. At the far, or north, end of this saddle was a collection of at least 20 Lapp cabins and a series of corals and fences. This would be an area where the reindeer were marked and had their ears clipped in the summer. Curiously none of the cabins were marked on the map, yet they were old and weathered.

After these cabins the weather deteriorated further and the snow showers became one. The wind was directly into my face. It was difficult to see. As I descended the gentle slope to Salvvagge valley it was impossible to see if the terrain rose or plummeted just 3 metres in front of me. I moved forwards very slowly and carefully heading from rock to rock when I could see them.

As I came down a bit further the visibility slowly improved. The slope was gentle but I still had to move with care as there were a few side ravines coming into the main valley and all of these had drifts or cornices to negotiate. At last the birch forest appeared and I was able to judge the lie of the land better.

I was a bit quick off the mark with my descent to the dam and did not traverse round high enough. When I eventually saw it I was way below it. Rather than climb up and round I made a directline for Innset some three km down the valley. There was a river to cross but I guessed most of it would be in pipes to a powerstation.

Day 91. A winters hellThe descent to Innset was hell. The nice slope I was lured to ski down turned into a nightmare of thick snow in a tangled birch forest. It was the type of terrain that would have made Jack London consider a catering career. For 2 km I did aout a km per hour through dense forest and snow I sunk to my knees in. It put me in a foul mood.

At last I made the road. It was just a 2 km walk down it to the Husky Farm run by Bjorn and Regina Klauer. It was 1800 and the 60 dogs must have been getting fed as I could hear them barking and yelping in excitement 2 km up the valley.

When I reached it the excitement was over and the dogs seemed satisfied. Bjorn showed me a room in his guest house. He ran dog sled tours, mostly for German speaking tourists. His tours were quite hard core. He would not use scooters to resupply en route so would go off with everything needed for a week and completely avoid civilization. He was just back from a 1000 km trip from Kirkenes to his base.

He would have about 9 dogs on his sledge and each client would have about 6 He used and breed Greenland huskies. Their forte was strength rather than speed which Alaskan huskies had. His operation looked extremely well run and managed. He was a nice guy to boot and had also done Norge Paa Langs in winter some 25 years ago.

He was preparing some 5 tons of dog food from offal and fish when I arrived This would just be enough for 2 months.

There were a couple of clients from the last trip in the guest house. It was interesting chatting with them about their 1000 km trip which took 3 weeks. They held Bjorn in the highest regard. I didn’t do the blog as I knew I would have tomorrow off.

The reason I came to Innset was to swap skis and bindings. It was a bit of a detour and would cost me a day or two plus the rest day. I could have bought skis in Abisko, but the guarantee was valid and I would invoke it. From Abisko I could have cut straight over the lake to a restored lapp turf gamme then to Vormahytta cabin or taken the tempting scooter tracks as Andre did. After the comfort of the Kungsleden I felt I needed more of a challenge again and the first day back in Norway certainly provided that.

Readers may well be tired of me saying today was yet another great day. Well not so today. It was crap. I only hope the skis arrive in time and as promised to make the detour worthwhile. However the “Husky Farm” is very comfortable and will I am sure be very interesting.

One Response to “Day 91. Lappjordhytta to Innset”

  1. Björn Sarstad Says:

    Hi James,

    We follow your tour with interest. It seemed to be more interesting and more of a challenge to ski in Norway, even if it is more difficult with all steep slopes and not as many scooter tracks as here in Sweden. Perhaps you should have had the typical skis for Scandinavian forest when you are in the birch forest. But of course it would be too heavy with two couples of skis.

    It was really a pleasure to meet you James, when you made a stop here in Kvikkjokk. It was nice to just sit and discuss things about your hike,
    nature and many other things. Helena thinks it was a pity she didn´t meet you this time.

    Best wishes from Helena and Björn in Kvikkjokk