Kebnekasie is situated in the very north of Sweden, west of the city of Kiruna (see map) . From Kiruna one can take a bus to the small community of Nikkaluokta and from there walk the 19 kilometers to a mountain lodge with accommodation and restaurant. If 19 km feels too much one can take a boat for 6 km and walk the rest. We chose however to walk the whole way; just remember the road is hilly and rocky so do not bring more luggage than necessary. You can, of course, later leave luggage at the lodge when climbing the mountain.
The actual ascent of the mountain can be made either on the east or the west side of the mountain. The east side requires some climbing skills and a guide that can be hired at the lodge. As late as yesterday two persons died when climbing the east route. The alternative for people with not so much experience is the west route. It is hard enough but if you have normal physical condition and proper boots you should be fine. On the west route you do not need any special equipment or guide. You can basically walk the whole way even though it is an advantage to use the hands as well on a few steep passages.
Photo: Henrik Lindberg
Do not forget to bring enough food on the mountain, it is a common mistake to underestimate how much energy one need. It is possible to buy lunch bags at the mountain lodge on the mornng before starting the ascent. Water bottles can be refilled at the different streams along the way. Normally the water is excellent and good for drinking but when we were there the bodies of two dead reindeers had polluted some of the water. So just ask at the receptions for the latest updates. And do not take standstill water in the mountains, just flowing.
Climbing the mountain and returning to the lodge took us about twelve hours. We were very lucky with the weather; it was not that cold, no rain and clear view all the way. I wore just a t-shirt most of the time. Warm clothes are still recommended to bring; check the latest weather forecast.
Photo: Henrik Lindberg
Kiruna and Kebnekasie are in the land of the midnight sun and for five weeks every summer the sun does never descend. That means that during that time it is possible to climb at night as well even though day time is recommended; because the temperature is milder but also since there are many other people on the mountain which could be good in case something would happen.
The very top of Kebnekaise. Photo: Henrik Lindberg
The very top of Kebnekaise is small. Three or four people maximum should be there simultaneously. Sometimes, if many people are out, there is a queue to get up there. In two directions from the top there are steep falls. In June one person fell down and perished. So be careful when up there, even though accidents are rare. The three fatalities this summer are the first in four years according to Hans Rosén manager at the Kebnekaise mountain lodge
If you are interested in going there, you can contact the lodge here.
You can read part one in A trip to the north here.