Mar 5, 2016

Swedish Lapland - "Pic-Nic" WI4

  The only way to get some decent winter condition this winter is to head off to Scandinavia and at this time the goal was Kiruna and Björkliden.

The mountains in this region has a lot of potential for ice and mixed climbing. And stil at lot of new lines to be tried out.

Climbing at "Stora Blå" a Lappish Classic in Riksgränsen

  After a long but un-complicated flight I arrived in a much wintery Kiruna with my good friend Oskar waiting for me, to pick me up.

Dry-Tooling at the Canyon

  The idea was to try out an ice-line that I had seen the previous spring but due to bad weather and low visibility we changed planes. The days this time of year are getting better with quite long daylight. But still, you have to be efficient. So no time to slide around, there is only one alternative each day, if you choose the wrong one, there wont be any climbing that day.

Polar days climbing at -20°C

  So instead we focus on an area in "Kärekevagge" and Trollsjön.
A lot of different and already climbed ice falls. The approach is straight forward and we knew that there would be an ice route for us to ascend. And maybe, we could find something that hadn't been done as well...

Accessing Kärkevagge

  An hour of approach on our skis and we was in the middle of the valley. The day turned ut to be most perfect, about -10°C and no wind. Even the sun made its best to warm us up a bit, fighting its way over the mountain sides. As beautiful as it only can be at this arctic areas, with the unique polar light.

Around us we had a big selection of potential climbs, but all of them already climbed.
But, my focus stayed on a shorter section of ice and rock. Which looked as it would be possible to ascend up via the icicles. And not to steep, just doable.
A short discussion with plus and minus...we decided to try it out.

  As the danger of avalanche was high, two climbers had been avalanched just the week before in the same area. We took as much precaution as possible, staying close and high to the rock and found a safe line up to the base of the ice.

Finally, I could swing my axe into the first section of ice. Just to find out that is was thin and fragile. After some 20m I am finally able to get a proper ice screw in and a few meters more i can get a decent belay as well, on some doubtful screws...

Oskar follows nice and gently and soon I can swing my way onto the next pitch which turns out to be just as fragile. But as always, great fun.
Amazed by the winter light and polar conditions, I remember why I find the winter climbing in this part of the world so enjoyable. Great climbing in cold and snowy conditions. And with no other people around, just a fox and some reindeers.

The last bit is the most spectacular.
And on arriving after the final pitch I find the most perfect rock outcrop to put a sling around to use as a rappel anchor.
Time to head down and ski out back to the car, before it freezes to ice as well...

Oskar on the detour at Vassivagge Trainstn.
"Pic-Nic" WI4
You need: Regular Ice gear
2X50m Rope

The trouble with normal is that it always gets worse

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