In a previous post I outlined an idea for hiking fast and light in order to see the Rapa valley in Sarek national park in under a week. It is still very much an open question if I will find the time for such a trip the nearest years, but planning for it is a pleasure in itself. If I can inspire anyone to do a reconnaissance trip before me that would also be great. One of the most important aspects of the trip is the route planning. For this purpose I have put up a google map and will now discuss some of the choices.
There are basically two starting points for getting into Sarek and the Rapa valley by public transport: Saltoloukta and Kvikkjokk. I'm leaning towards Saltoloukta as the trail from Saltoloukta to Sitojaure is mostly flat and the scenery is nice, whereas the trail from Kvikkjokk to the Pårte-hut is mostly in the forest.
The midpoint goal
My goal is to see "Rapaselet" (A "Sel" is a stretch of calm water between streams.) and the Rapa-delta. These places are reputed to be among the most beautiful places in Sweden (Even in the world, many would argue.).
The Rapa-delta near Aktse (Source: Creative Commons, M, kluber fotografie)
The Rapa-sel (Source: Creative Commons, photographer unknown.)
The best point for views of the delta is most probably the Skierffe-cliff. From where to view the Rapa-sel is a more difficult question, it depends a bit on how far one can go, but a first stop could be Hill 1112. If one has a bit more time the best place to camp according to the mountain-god, Claes Grundsten, is above the "reindeer-herder hut" on Vassjalåpptå.
If one wants to use a really ultralight shelter, which I want, campsite selection becomes more important. It should not be too exposed to the wind. A site among in the birch-forest is preferable if the weather is windy. This can be difficult to arrange for this trip though.
Day 1: Saltoloukta - Sitojaure. Good camping can be found next to the hut. 20km from Saltoloukta is probably far enough for the first evening, even when runnning. Most probably it will be too late to get across Sitojaure this day.
Day 2: Sitojaure -(By boat) - Svine - Skierffe - Vassjalåpptå. This will be one hell of a day. The distance will probably be around 24km and this mostly bushwacking in unknown terrain. From my personal experience I often do not tend to walk faster than 2km/h in such circumstances. This translates into 12 hours of walking. Running will most likely be difficult on this stretch. During summer it doesn't really get that dark though, so you can walk well into the night.
Day 3: Vassjalåpptå - Skierffe. 12km. A cool day for taking in the sights.
Day 4: Skierffe - Svine - Saltoloukta. A 31km day, but this time on well-beaten paths.
Day 5. Reserved for unexpected (mis)happenings.
Day 6 Travel home.
An alternative on day 2 is to arrange for the boat to drop you off approximately 3km east of Rinim, instead of Svine (Thanks again to Claes Grundsten for this personal tip). This will reduce the distance to around 12km, but the climb up from Sitojaure to Vassjavagge will be steep. At it's steepest it will be about 500m in a km. It would be nice to hear if anyone has any more experience of this area. This choice will also allow for taking a different route on the way back to Svine.
Calle enjoying the fantastic scenery during the boat-trip back from Rinim to the Sitojaure hut. In the background you see Namadis which is hiding the entrance to Basstavagge where we came from.
Five years ago I hiked in Sarek, Lapland. It was a fantatastic experience. I would love to go there again, but it is very difficult for me to get away for a longer period and it takes quite a lot of time (Approximately 2 days) just to get into the national park. After having switched to lightweight equipment I have however regained the hope of getting there again. A crazy idea was born: I should be able to hike so fast that I could reach the Rapa-valley and get back in under a week. I MUST see the Rapa-valley before I die.
Kungsleden with Lulep Gierkau in the background. Still at least a day from Sarek national park. The trail is like a highway and running should not be a problem at least to Sitojaure.
Fording a stream near Lietjitjaure. Ähpar and Pierikpakte in the background. Fording can be very dangerous in Sarek.
Several questions need to be answered for such a an endeavour to be succesful:
Route planning - What is the optimal route that will maximize interesting hiking and provide for good running?
Equipment - How heavy a pack can be tolerated when you are running? What kind of pack? What kind of shelter?
Safety - How light can you go without sacrificing safety? Sarek is a wilderness area and there are no trails. If you fall, noone will hear you scream.
Fitness - I almost never find time for exercise. What do I need to cope with to feel safe before going?
Season - What is the best season for such a fast and light hike?
Travel planning - How do you get to Sarek in the cheapest and fastest way?
Resupply - How much food should I carry?
Is this a good idea at all? Will I be able to find anyone to come with me on such an innovative trip? Should I plan to do something easier instead with the time I have? I will follow this post with some thoughts on the different topics soon. Any comments and hints are welcome.