Kebnekaise

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See Kebnekajse for the Swedish band.
Kebnekaise
Kebnekaise viewed from Tarfala valley - narrower crop.jpg
Eastern slopes of Kebnekaise as seen from the Tarfala Valley
Highest point
Elevation 2,099 m (6,886 ft) [1]
Prominence 1,750 m (5,740 ft) [2]
Isolation 757 kilometres (470 mi)
Listing Country high point
Ultra
Coordinates 67°54′00″N 18°31′00″E / 67.90000°N 18.51667°E / 67.90000; 18.51667Coordinates: 67°54′00″N 18°31′00″E / 67.90000°N 18.51667°E / 67.90000; 18.51667
Geography
Kebnekaise is located in Sweden
Kebnekaise
Kebnekaise
Parent range Scandinavian Mountains
Climbing
First ascent 1883 by Charles Rabot
Easiest route rock/ice walk; most popular route includes simple scrambling

Kebnekaise (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈkɛbnəˈkaisə];[3] from Sami Giebmegáisi or Giebnegáisi, "Cauldron Crest") is the highest mountain in Sweden. The Kebnekaise massif, which is part of the Scandinavian Mountains, has two main peaks, of which the southern, glaciated one is highest at 2,097.5 metres (6,882 ft) above sea level as of August 2014. The northern peak is 2,096.8 metres (6,879 ft) and free of ice.[1] Kebnekaise lies in Sapmi, about 150 kilometres (ca. 90 miles) north of the Arctic Circle and west of Kiruna near the popular Kungsleden hiking trail between Abisko and Hemavan.

Due to the shrinkage of the glacier surrounding the southern peak, it is possible the northern peak will assume the title of the highest point in Sweden; as of Summer 2016 the difference in altitude was just one foot. [4]

Geography[edit]

The Kebnekaise massif lies within a range of the Scandinavian mountains that is bordered by the glacial valleys Ladtjovagge (Sami spelling Láddjuvággi), Tjäktjavagge (Čeakčavággi) and Vistasvagge (Visttasvággi). The highest points of the massif lie along the ridge (called "vargryggen" in Swedish) that runs from the southern and northern summits to Kebnepakte (Giebmebákti) at 1,990 metres (6,530 ft). Other subsidiary peaks are Kebnetjåkka (Giebmečohkka), Vierranvárri, Tolpagorni 1,662 metres (5,453 ft) , Guobircohkka 1,506 metres (4,941 ft), and Siŋŋibákti 1,614 metres (5,295 ft).

Of the two highest points, the southern peak lies on a glacier situated on a rocky plateau. The glacier has shrunk in recent years, and therefore the summit is not as high as earlier. The top is traditionally said to be 2,111 metres (6,926 ft), and higher in the oldest measurement, i.e. 2,117 metres (6,946 ft). If the melting continues at the same rate, the south peak will sink below the north peak (which is the highest fixed point in Sweden) within a few years' time.[5][6] However, as of July 2015, Tarfala Research Station reports that the glacier has grown by 4.5m to 2,102 - from its lowest measurement of 2097.5m the previous year.[7]

The massif is heavily glaciated, with Kebnepakteglaciären, Isfallsglaciären, and Storglaciären towards Tarfala valley to the east, Björlings glacier to the southeast, and Rabots glaciär to the west, plus several smaller glaciers throughout the area.

In Europe there are no higher mountains further north. During clear weather, a vast area can be seen from the summit, according to some sources as much as 10% of Sweden.[8]

Climbing routes[edit]

Kebnekaise is a popular tourist destination and is climbed by thousands each year. Kebnekaise mountain lodge (Kebnekaise fjällstation) is located at the foot of Kebnekaise, ca. 19 km, 6–7 hours hike from the trailhead at Nikkaluokta. It is the starting point for an ascent to the south summit via the western route (västra leden, ca. 18 km, 5-7 hours to the summit) or the eastern route (östra leden, ca. 10 km, 3–5 hours to the summit). The western route leads over scree slopes and the intermediate peak Vierranvárri. Most of this route to the top is pure hiking, but there is a short exposed part that could possibly count as scrambling (YDS grade 2). The eastern route leads over glaciers and rocks and offers exposure (YDS grade 4). The steepest section is equipped with fixed steel cables for protection, similar to a via ferrata.

There is also a third, less known route only marked with cairns - "Durlings led", which branches off Kungsleden a few kilometers north of Singi, goes about two kilometers into the southern side of Singivagge, and then turns north into the valley between Kuopertjåkka and Siŋŋibákti. Some people, such as those with acrophobia or wanting to summit with heavy backpacks, may see benefits with this route as not a single point on it is exposed. "Durlings led" eventually merges with the western route at "Kaffedalen", the pass between Vierranvárri and Kebnekaise.

Following the western route, one encounters the two older peak cabins at 1880 m of altitude. After the cabins, the trail continues through a rocky landscape and the slope progressively ceases. A new cabin on the top plateau was opened in 2016.[9]

The peak glacier is a small top, merely tens of meters high, on a rocky plateau. To approach the actual mountain top on the glacier, crampons or other means of enhancing traction might at times be required. The glacier should be walked upon with great caution; fatal accidents have occurred with people sliding off into the huge void on the eastern side.[10] This danger might not always be apparent, especially not in times of bad weather and visibility.

Routes to the northern summit, including one via the narrow, icy arête from the southern summit, require mountaineering equipment and skills.

Due to the harsh subarctic climate at the location, Kebnekaise sees the vast majority of climbers during the summer months (late June to early September). Even so, early in this season, snow can sometimes make a summit bid tedious.

Norwegian plane crash[edit]

On 15 March 2012 a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules military aircraft crashed into the western snowy mountain side a short distance below the ridge that runs between the mountain's two highest peaks. Five Norwegian officers were killed.

Panorama[edit]

Panoramic view from the top, June 2007

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tarfala forskningsstation" (in Swedish). Stockholm University. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mountains I have climbed and remember". uib.no. 
  3. ^ "Word: Kebnekaise: Pronunciation in Swedish". Forvo: All the words of the world. Pronounced. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Turlua, Tom. Sweden's highest mountain peak is melting so fast that it's inches away from becoming the second-highest. Business Insider, August 24, 2017. [1] Accessed August 24, 2017.
  5. ^ Malin Olofsson, "Toppskifte på Kebnekaise", Sveriges Radio, 15 June 2007, retrieved 27 March 2012 (in Swedish)
  6. ^ Kebnekaises sydtopp – högst i Sverige?, fjallklubben.org (broken link)
  7. ^ Emil Östlund, "Sydtoppen växer på Kebnekaise", Sveriges Radio 23 July 2015, retrieved 27 October 2015 (in Swedish)
  8. ^ "Reportage". swedenoffroad.com. 
  9. ^ "Ny toppstuga på Kebnekaise". 
  10. ^ "Fjällvandrare föll 400 meter". Aftonbladet. 
  11. ^ "Toppstugorna > Boende > Kebnekaise". kebnekaise.nu. Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. 

External links[edit]