Ascent of Sarektjåhkkå on 2017-05-23

Climber: Denise Mclellan

Others in Party:Richard Mclellan
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:6854 ft / 2089 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a three ( long) day trip with snow shoes ( no skis, probably would have been preferable) with two nights wild camping. We followed Petter Bjorstad's excellent route ( thanks). It is no longer possible to drive across the dam at Suorva as there is high metal security fencing/ locked vehicle gate and no personnel to ask, but there is an unlocked pedestrian gate. As this road was ploughed clear of snow we had to carry the pulk 2 km across it. At the end of the dam we followed the shore line south on snow covered tarmac for about 10 mins til we reached some reindeer pens. We went uphill through these pens ( not along the shore) and found a well used skiddoo track on softening snow through birch and with some mud patches. We followed the skidoo track in a general SW ascending traverse, as marked on the map, under the Eastern side of Halji 1354m to reach about 550m. The way is then steeply up for c 2.5km on birch free snow to a windy pass at c950m ( north of point 1016m). We then descended a little to follow skiddoo tracks into a headwind NW across the frozen lake- Vuosskeljavrre 930m. We then headed west over the Northern slopes of Skalaviehppe 1408m and SW over a col bteween Tjarok 1215m and Tjierratjahkka 1423m. We saw Reindeer with calves frequently. After various short ups and downs, some steep, we crossed the highest point of the day at 1200m ( between Tjievravarasj 1246 and point 1274m) before a gentle descent to 900m where we found a sheltered place to pitch our tent, c 100m above the valley floor ( which looks blue and wet)- a 10 hour day. 3 degrees C at 20:00 and -1.5 C at 23:00 and 07:00 the next am. (Skiddoo tracks all the way, but no one seen- it had an end -of- season feel.)

On day 2 we descended to the valley floor and had to go c 1 km north to find a place to cross the river ( Guhkesvakkjahka) where the snow was firm enough, on the side of a moraine bank. Golden plover 'klee'd'. We then plodded up the Alep Sarekjiegha (glacier). The glacier was soft, snow -covered and gently inclining and we did not need to rope up- no bergschrunds or crevasses were visible. We walked through a foggy patch and emerged above newly formed valley clouds. After about 800m of ascent we reached the base of the East summit ridge. Leaving snowshoes and poles behind, we ascended the steep snow -covered obvious ridge in sunny, calm weather. The gradient steepens at about 1900m, then lessens again and the ridge narrows, with a small false summit. We took and used ice axe, crampons and rope for the final ridge ascent, but the rope was very precautionary- It was an easy scramble on firm snow in crampons, with little rock visible. We reached the top at 15:40- a snow- covered cairn, with steep drops and superb views under a 100% blue sky- must be rarely experienced! Compressed snow suggested recent visitors.

We descended the same way. The snow lower down was now very soft and hard work and crossing the river and several tributaries was slightly awkward, but the blues in the ice were beautiful! We reached the tent again at 21:30 -in full daylight of course. -2.5 degrees C. The sky filled with intense red at 23:30, with a superb view of Sarek.

On the third day we retraced our tracks back out in breezy, sunny weather. We walked up to the first col in boots before needing to put show shoes on. The final col was very windy and subsequent descent felt steep. The snow was soft but just manageable within the birch. We were told that the extensive snow was c 3 weeks late in melting this year and we were lucky to have snow to road level. We camped at the campsite at Vietas, 9 k back along the road, before driving North to Gallivare the next day. An excellent trip in superb weather.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford, Scramble, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Snowshoes, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear
clear views from top
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Days 6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Days 6 Hours 

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