Abisko 2012, part 2

From the Kårsavagge hut, we forded Gorsajohka and started the climb up across the Njunesgeahci range that separates Kårsavagge (Gorsavaggi) from Abisko valley. The trip involves a 470 m gain in altitude and then a 600 m drop down to the lake, Abeskojavri. Grundsten’s excellent guide book “På fjälltur: Abisko Kebnekaise” has it listed as “strenuous, grade 7-8” (out of 10), but we found it truly enjoyable. By carrying light packs, we probably shaved several grade points from that scale.

On our way up, looking down into Gorsavaggi, with Gorsajohka barely visible way down there on the valley floor.

We stopped 2 or 3 times on the way up for a quick breather and a snack of nuts or chocolate (Milka Triolade being the kids’ current favorite). Since the weather remained unpredictable, we wanted to move fast across the pass and avoid being caught in fog up there, where it supposedly can be quite tricky to orient across the talus fields. Elsa, the host at the Kårsavagge hut, had originally recommended that one shouldn’t attempt the hike if the mountain tops (1201 and 1150, unnamed on the map) are not visible from the hut, but then gave us a supportive “go!” despite the peaks being shrouded by light clouds. A good call, as it turned out, because we enjoyed great scenery for the most part. Still, we got to experience how dramatically fast the weather can change up there: within a minute, a fast moving cloud engulfed us and reduced visibility to 10 meters or so; after another minute, the cloud was gone again.

The Trailing Azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens; “Krypljung” in Swedish) grows high up around the summit.

We didn’t see much traffic on this route: we passed two women with heavy packs on the way up and met another two guys, again with heavy packs, on the summit of the pass.

Here we are, close to the highest point of the hike. The green line demarks the Abisko National Park boundary.

On our way down towards Abeskojavri from the Njunesgeahci pass with Giron rising dramatically as a 1000 m high wall across the valley.

Once we were down below the summit, we found a nice sheltered spot where we had lunch while enjoying the great views down towards Abeskojavri (at 490 m) and across to Giron (1551 m). Hot soup, tortillas with salami, and coffee or hot chocolate was on the menu, and, of course, another piece of Triolade for dessert. After lunch we continued down. There’s not much of a trail, but the hiking is very easy and relatively dry. On this side of the pass, the geographic handrails are obvious and would make the descent safe even in a whiteout: down to the lake and then south (to the right) along the shore. We made it to the Abiskojaure huts in the early afternoon. The sun came out and we had a relaxing time down by the shore of Abeskojavri, taking care of our feet and stretching. Mom did her yoga thing.

Foot massage and general pampering on the Abiskojaure beach.

Yogi on the beach.

We cooked a proper meal for dinner: red lentils with sausage and couscous. We had brought our home-made dried food. The procedure is simple: bring water to a boil, add it directly to the zip-lock bag with the dried food, give it a good stir, zip it up and wrap it up inside the 4 mm evazote mat (which we find multiple other uses for: as a ground cover under the Trailstar and a sitting pad during breaks along the trail; it goes on the outside of dad’s backpack), and then wait for some 15-30 minutes. Done! Minimal fuel consumption.

We were down and out by 21:30 after a really good and fulfilling day with great first-time experiences: fording a wide “jåkk” (stream) and crossing a 1000 m high pass.

A highly recommended trip!

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