Many people dream of adventures and challenges and climbing Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise is just that. Although the climb is relatively simple, it is a challenge that requires both preparation and knowledge.
Even if you visit Kebnekaise during the summer, you can experience all seasons during your hike; From warming sun, through rain and fog to full snowstorm in huge minus degrees. Therefore, be humbled by the weather’s powers in our Arctic destination and do not underestimate the Swedish mountain chain.
During the summer, July and August are the best time to climb Kebnekaise. For extra security, it is wise to make your climb during the period when STF Kebnekaise Fjällstation is open for the season. When planning for your trip, you should put in a couple of extra days at the mountain station, in case a top trip is not possible on the day you planned for.
Count at minimum:
1 day for Kiruna – Kebnekaise Mountain Station
1+1 day for top trip (1 day reserve)
1 day for Kebnekaise mountain station – Kiruna
It is recommended to plan for at least 5 days. Then you have a margin in case something does not go as planned and you may also be able to see and experience other things that Kiruna has to offer.
The first step is to get from Kiruna to Nikkaluokta, where the road ends and the hike to Kebnekaise mountain station begins. You can easily go with the Nikkaluokta Express or car. From Nikkaluokta to STF Kebnekaise mountain station, 19 km is now waiting with lovely mountain hiking or skiing. The first 5.6 km until Glacier Lake Láddjujávri consists of light hiking through birch forest. By the lake there are Enoks that offer comfortable accommodation in mountain huts and good food in the beautiful restaurant. Try the reindeer burger in classic Lap Dånald’s style surrounded by vast nature in a mountain environment. If you want, you can choose to take the boat across the lake to shorten the hike by about 6 km. Departure times daily from the end of June to mid -September.
The trail then continues along the valley and Láddjujávri before it eventually turns off and begins to wind up the mountain slope towards the station. The last kilometers up to the station open up the landscape and the terrain becomes slightly steeper. The hike usually takes between 5-6 hours, but can take longer or go faster depending on your conditions.
For those who are looking for an alternative to the hike, you can choose to take a helicopter up to the station. Kallax Fly’s line traffic goes daily.
You can choose between camping or staying at STF Kebnekaise mountain station, right at the foot of Kebnekaise. If you are going to stay at the mountain station, you should pre -book your accommodation well in advance. For those of you who tent, this should be done at least 150 meters to the mountain station. For a fee you will have access to the service building where you can cook and use the sauna, toilet, shower and drying room. You can choose to camp a bit away from the mountain station to cut a little on the hike.
One tip is to leave the tent set up and just bring the essential on the top trip in a daily backpack. Then you avoid unnecessary packing weight and you have a finished sleeping space waiting when you come back. However, be sure to bring valuables and that you leave your equipment at your own risk.
At the mountain station you should talk to the guides and get daily reports about the weather, trails and the snow tops. They can also provide tips and recommendations on equipment, among other things.
In the shop you can buy both food and outdoor equipment and the rental has a solid range.
For those who want a guide
For those who want a guide
The western trail is the longest and most demanding trail to Kebnekaise’s southern peak with the mountain station as a starting point. Via this trail there is about 18 kilometers of hiking round trip in very rocky, uneven and steep terrain. The total climb is about 1800 meters. A person who climbs the southern peak via the western trail can expect a hiking time of about 10-16 hours back and forth. The time it takes varies depending on the weather, how many breaks you make and your basic conditions. Feel free to start the hike early in the morning to have plenty of time and avoid the biggest crowds.
The western trail is also called Björling’s joint; The second person to climb and the first Swedish on the southern peak J A Björling followed this route. The trail is initially marked with red -painted stones and mound of stones, and later with aluminum sticks with round, red reflexes. Bad weather can make the joint markings difficult to detect and it is therefore important that you can navigate with the help of map and compass.
The trail initially has the same stretch as the eastern trail, but just before Jökelbacken the common trail divides in the western and eastern trail, there is a signpost here. The western trail goes up towards Kitteldalen on the northeastern side of Kittelbäcken. By the bridge is the last chance to fill with water!
After the bridge, the stone staircase begins, which was built by Sherpas from Nepal. You get up in the pass between Tuolpagorni and Vierranvárri and then up to Vierranvárris top. Here is a good place to think about whether you want to continue or turn around. What does the weather look like? How does the body feel? Think about whether you can move on and don’t forget that you should be able to go back as well. There is no shame in turning around. The mountain remains for new attempts.
If you choose to continue, then a very gloomy hike is now taking, where you have to get down in the Kaffedalen which means 200 lost altitude meters. If the weather is bad and the view small, you must be very careful about the orientation on the way back. In Kaffedalen, Durling’s joint from the singing cottages goes together with the western trail. From Kaffedalen you go up to the top cabin and from there to the southern peak.
On the way back to the mountain station you should be extra careful in the block land, when body and bud are tired it is extra easy to stumble and hurt.
Dress according to layer-on-layer principle. Expect the weather to turn around ragly fast. You will hike in block terrain so you should use well -made boots with ankle support. Bring two pairs of gloves; A pair of light gloves that dry fast and a pair of lined gloves in case the cold strikes. Shell jacket, fleece, underwear and a workout sweater are a good starting point. Don’t forget the map and compass.
If you are going up to the snow, a climbing iron may be needed, which can be rented in the shop at the mountain station. However, you should bring your own to be guaranteed a couple. Tape and wound patches can save the hiking tour. A windbag can be good to have as protection if something happens that requires a stop. Hiking poles facilitate ease the balance as the terrain is very rocky. Bring your bag for the rubbish and the toilet paper – leave no trace after you.
Bring plenty of water, at least 1.5 liters, as there are no water sources when you come up among the mountains. Bring very fast carbohydrates, such as biscuits, chocolate, dextrose, sweets, sesame biscuits, energy bars and nuts.
Keep safe in the mountains: Fjällsäkerhetsrådet