Five friends went up to northern Sweden to trek the mountain of Ahkka in Lappland. Here we get a glimpse of their adventure – including finding the perfect spot for setting up camp, seeking shelter from the storms, a cozy cabin night and a helicopter ride.
Wednesday: We met up at Stockholm Central Station and the five of us jumped on the night train to Gällivare. After a pleasant 16-hour train journey we switched to Bus 95 - Ritsem bound. Seeing the mountains of Sarek through the windows and reindeer on the road really set a beautiful tone for the trip.
Thursday: M/S Storlule brought us the 10 km from Ritsem across the Akkajaure waters to the Ahkka side. We hiked past the STF cabins, then joined the Padjalanta trail (part of the Kings Trail) for a couple of kilometers before coming off it. The approach was quite rough through bog land and vegetation. After getting to the foot of the Ahkka mountain, the sun set. We put on our headlights and started to notice bear shit all over the place. It seemed impossible to find a good spot to sleep, but suddenly a plateau in the middle of nowhere appeared. Perfect for three tents and with two streams of fresh water on each side. The next day we woke up to sunshine, but it was windy..
The five of us made it through the vegetation around the foot of the mountain in the morning. It was very windy, but we chose to make it up to the terrace at 1500m to find a spot to pitch the tents. That night we experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen. We suspected a rough and windy night ahead, but really had no idea what was to come. We secured the tents with big rocks. You could hear the wind, like freight planes around the summits, seconds later our tents were shaking like maracas. At 05:45 we decided to pack up our stuff and head down. Going up to Stortoppen was not an option. No long faces though.
The early morning trek down the mountain wasn’t that bad, even on empty stomachs and only two hours of sleep. We decided to just push through the bog land back to the trail and then to the STF cabins. We’d heard great things about the Ahkka cabins, rumours about a sauna with a view of the whole massif. Since our tents were in pretty bad shape we decided to spend the night in the cabins. The cosines reached record levels that evening.
The cabin host informed us the boatman was not crossing Akkajaure in the storm, which was getting worse. Helicopter was the only way to get across. After a phone call and some basic arithmetic, it turned out the helicopter would be just slightly more expensive than the boat. Five mountain newbies got to feel like action heroes for a bit. Seeing Stora Sjöfallet National Park in all its autumn glory from above was definitely a spectacular way of ending our trip.