Another wilderness trip through European Alaska

Today almost exactly 2 years ago I finished another long autumn trip through and around Sarek national park in Swedish Lapland after my trip from 2008 and a ski crossing during the preceding winter. This time I took my packraft with me and tried to follow a route with as much as packrafting sections as possible. Eventually I floated pieces of the rivers Guhkesvakkjåhkå, Sijddoädno, Miellädno, Smajllajåhkkå, Rahpajåhkå and Rahpaädno and crossed several lakes. Sarek is a real packraft paradise and can make you think you’re somewhere wilderness paddling in remote Alaska instead of Europe.

And as the rivers here invite you to inflate your inflatable boat, so do the mountains invite you during the clear weather windows to visit their summit for a wide mountain vista. I even spent three nights on a mountain and saw quite active northern light displays during each.

Just like with my first trip through Sarek I wrote a very long trip report about this trip, however unfortunately it is only available as a trip report in Dutch. But those really willing to read it will definitely find an appropriate online translator to struggle through it. Even though I have almost visited every corner of the park, I’m sure this last visit will not be my very last.

Packlist
All the gear and food for the trip except from worn clothing.

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Backpack ready for a new day hiking.

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Searching a route through the many rocks and small lakes on the Gassalahko mountain plateau.

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Suottasjjåhkå mountain stream under the glacial tongue of Suottasjjiegna, easy to ford with these low water levels. The mountain above the glacier is Såltatjåhkkå (1928m).

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Packrafting Guhkesvakkjåhkå river with often shallow water.

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Taking a break on the Sijddoädno river which was difficult to packraft due to many impassable boulder gardens.

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View northward from Namadis (818m) with the Sijddoädno river meandering through the valley, the mountain Guravarasj (1050m) on the left.

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Looking back towards the saddle (1066m) in the Bastavagge valley under Basstavarasj (1492m).

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Morning in the Basstavagge valley after a tarp bivouac on the snow.

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The mountains Unna Stuollo (1766m) and Skajdetjåhkkå (1933m) at dusk.

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First northern lights seen from the bivouac spot at lake Dielmajavrasj (1175m).

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View into the Sarvesvagge valley with at the opposite side the north face of Nåite (1620m) which dominates the whole east half of the valley.

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Prints of a wolverine in the snow while climbing Dielmatjåhkkå (1659m).

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View over a part of the Jågåsjgaskajiegna glacier with a glacial lake under Axel Hambergs topp (1821m), seen while climbing Kanalberget (1937m).

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The wild morainic debris in the Ridanjunjesvagge.

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Wet weather while reaching the outlet of the Sarvesvagge valley towards Padjelanta.

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The falls of Ahkkajåhkå river and the mountain Guohperskajdde (1644m).

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Ahkkatjåhkå (1974m) and the renvaktarstuga cabin under Algganjalmme.

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View into Padjelanta and onto Gasskatjåhkkå (1517m) in Norway from the summit of Låvdaktjåhkkå (1445m).

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Northern lights above Padjelanta seen from the summit of Låvdaktjåhkkå (1445m).

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The mountain Låvdaktjåhkkå (1445m) with its glacier remnants.

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Taking a midday break along the Sierggajåhkå mountain stream.

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The Ruohtesvagge valley and the mountains of the Sarektjåhkkå mountain massif seen from Gisuris (1664m).

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The Ahkka massif from Gisuris (1664m) around sunset.

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Lake Vastenjaure (547m) in Padjelanta National Park with the mountains surrounding Sorfjord in Norway at the horizon, seen from Gisuris (1664m) just after sunset.

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Making a mountain bivouac under the tarp on Gisuris (1664m).

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Aurora Borealis reflecting in lake Allohaure (545m) as seen from Gisuris (1664m).

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View over Padjelanta with the Sulitjelma mountains at the horizon seen from Gisuris (1664m).

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View to the north from Ahkka Borgtoppen (1963m) with the vast lake Akkajaure (423-453m) deep below.

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The lake plateau Gassalahko seen from Ahkka Borgtoppen (1963m).

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The mountain massifs of Lavdak, Ruohtes, Lanjek en Alkatj in Sarek seen from Ahkka Borgtoppen (1963m).

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Northern lights behind Ahkka Stortoppen (2015m), seen from Borgtoppen (1963m).

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Ahkka Stortoppen (2015m) during the late morning.

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A tundra vole liked my food cache. All the pecan nuts had disappeared from the desserts.

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Bivouac in the Ruohtesvagge valley under mountain Gavelberget (1819m).

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View over Mihkajiegna glacier to Sarektjåhkkå Stortoppen (2089m), Sydtoppen (2023m) and Bucht-toppen (2010m) from Mihkatjåhkkå (1735m).

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The braided Smajllajåhkå river down the Ruohtesvagge valley.

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The falls in the Smajllajåhkå river near Mikkastugan cabin with Sarektjåhkkå Stortoppen (2089m), Sydtoppen (2023m) and Bucht-toppen (2010m) in the background.

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The braided Rahpajåhkå river on the valley bottom of upper Rapadalen.

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Mouth of the mountain stream Tjågnårisjågåsj in Rahpajåhkå river with mountain Bierikbakte (1789m) in the background.

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Braided Rahpajåhkå river in Rapadalen with mountain Låddebakte (1537m) to the left.

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Looking back to the Rahpaädno river while hiking through the birch forest.

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An old Sami shelter in Rapadalen which can still be used today.

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A winding birch.

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Rapaselet with Låddebakte (1537m) in the background from a river island.

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My home made woodgas stove burning on birch bark.

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A moose with young in Rapadalen.

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A young male moose in the forest in Rapadalen.

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Rapadalen with Nammasj (823m) and Tjahkkelij (1214m) seen from Lulep Spadnek (816m).

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Part of the Laitaure delta and Nammasj (823m) seen from Skierffe (1179m).

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Packraft ready to float through the Laitaure delta, table mountain Tjahkkelij (1214m) on the background.

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View back to Nammasj from within the Laitaure delta.

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Morning at lake Sitojaure (630m) along the Kungsleden trail.

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A wide view back to lake Sitojaure from the Kungsleden trail.

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Last night of the trip in the Autsutjvagge shelter on the Kungsleden trail.

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Spot messenger at work.

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Continuing over the Kungsleden trail to Saltoluokta.

26 thoughts on “Another wilderness trip through European Alaska

  1. Zijn er in Sarek mogelijkheden om te kanovaren, omdat ik het volgende vond via google?:
    Canoeing
    New regulations. You are not allowed to use a canoe or any other water craft in the Rapa valley further downstream on the Rapaätno river than the Sarvesjakka tributary.
    Wat kan je eventueel aanbevelen voor een trip van 7 dagen met de kano?

    Francis

  2. Hiked in Sarek back in 1996. Seeing your lovely pics and movie makes me want to revisit this fantastic place – but this time with my packraft! Stoked to see the convoluted route you took :D

  3. Great report, great pictures!!
    Ik zie dat jij van Turnhout bent, wat niet zover is van waar ik woon. Ik ben geïnteresseerd in het packraften maar zou eerst zo’n raft eens willen uitproberen. Is er een mogelijkheid om die van jou eventueel te lenen/huren? Of weet jij een ander adres waar dit zou kunnen? Ik hoor het graag. Alvast bedankt.
    Berten DC

  4. Your pictures and the way you catch the light, is unique. The glittering snow and The northern lights by Dielmajavrasj is so beautiful. It must have been an amazing experience to be in the middle of it all.

  5. Thanks for all the nice comments!

    Francis,
    Sarek is not so suitable for a canoe trip. However, for hiking trips with short parts packrafting it is ideal. Quite different world we’re talking about here.

    Spelt,
    Yes, I slept on my raft for the entire trip with an additional short piece of thin cell foam pad on the raft bottom. Very comfortable but cold as soon as it was freezing.

    Berten,
    Ik leen of huur mijn packraft niet uit, sorry. Die dingen zijn daar veel te duur voor. Als je er echt één wil koop je er gewoon één.

    • Berten,

      Je kunt tegenwoordig via internet een packraft huren om er eens een uit te proberen. Kijk eens op http://www.packrafting-store.de/Rentals:::34.html?XTCsid=59im16gtl5a3bm40ps1u4scue2

      Ik heb het zelf niet geprobeerd, maar overweeg nu op deze site wel een boot aan te schaffen na een trip paar weken terug door Sarek. voorheen moest de bot in de US aangeschaft worden, met alle douane gedoe van dien. Nu kan het in Duitsland, wat al een stukje dichterbij is, en binnen de EU, dus geen gedoe…

  6. Having taken a number of photos myself in Sarek during the years, your photos are some of the best I have seen. Makes my heart ache for a fall hike :-)
    Being a packrafter myself made your trip doubly interesting. However, anyone trying to emulate your trip should be aware that some of the most interesting paddle areas are out of bounds according to park regulations.
    Jorgen

  7. Thanks Jorgen and Martin!

    I’d like to add here that as mentioned by Jorgen and Francis, it is true that it is actually forbidden to paddle the Rahpaädno river downstream from the Sarvesjahkka confluence and I think many people just see this forbidden part of the river as some of the most interesting in the whole park, while actually my experience does not share this thought so well anymore. The best parts are in my opinion on the upper Rahpaädno and some of the other smaller rivers. I’d like to return here again with my packraft at the beginning of summer when water levels should be a lot higher than I’ve had on this trip. In that case there would be a lot more stuff to do on the smaller rivers higher in the park.

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  9. With the new restrictions packrafting /paddling in the whole Sarek is forbidden!
    “4 § Inom nationalparkerna är det förbjudet att …framföra vattenburen farkost i Sarek”
    It will be actual in Summer 2013 i think. And it’s right… ;-)

    • Hi Peter, thanks for letting this know! Do you have a link to this announcement? Unfortunate news but on the other hand also understandable from a nature conservation point of view.

    • Hello, I’m also planing a Pack Raft trip end of august and beginning of september. But I just get the news about the new regulation. Do you still plan to pack raft despite those regaulations? I think I wont take the pack raft uless I can do it on the rivers along the park borders. Mathieu

      • Hi Mathieu, packrafting is still allowed inside Sarek NP this year and in 2014, except on the Rapaädno river downstream of Sarvesjahka confluence. The new regulations will only take effect in 2015. Then packrafts will be totally banned from the park. I’ve noticed your questions on Willems blog. If you want more info about the other rivers you can just send me an email.

        • Hello Joery, thanks a lot for your answer. I will certainly contact you later for further questions about the rivers. Can you tell me where you get the info, in english, about the new regulation. Raining quite a lot here in the Ardennes, could be a great WE for Pack Rafting.
          Mathieu

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