"Now is the best moment on the adventure!” That is something that I think all of the time. It somewhat divides me, on one hand I feel like I don't appreciate the moment enough nor the whole picture, but at the same time, keeping that drive up has made me want to explore more.
Text: Otto Blücker
Photos: Otto Blücker, Ellen Blücker
Over the years, my love for the Swedish wilderness has grown exponentially, and my profession as a photographer has made me want to combine these two. This resulted in ROOKIIS. Starting out as a group of friends climbing Kebnekaise, later on becoming a form of umbrella for creating film, pushing each other to greatness and exploring.
Over the years, me and my friends - Henke Åhlund and Ellen Blücker - have tried various hikes and mountains in Scandinavia, some more challenging than others including Pulpit rock Trolltunga and Galdhøpiggen in Norway, multiple trips to Kebnekaise in Sweden but lately our focus has been on the Sarek National Park in northern Sweden.
Sarek might not feature Sweden's highest peak (Kebnekaise 2096m/ 6877 ft) but it have multiple massive peaks including “The Black Tip” (1819m/ 5967 ft) a part of Sarektjåkkå is the second highest mountain in Sweden and the highest mountain in the Laponian area at 2,089 meters (6,854 ft).
The Laponian area is a large mountainous wildlife area in the Lapland province in northern Sweden, more precisely in Gällivare Municipality, Arjeplog Municipality and Jokkmokk Municipality. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996; the bulk of it had enjoyed protected status since the early 20th century.
We started our hiking in sourva (right lower corner, going to sarektjåkkå, left upper corner)
... Realizing shortly after getting back to our car and a 15-hour drive back to stockholm, that we weren't well-equipped or prepared in any other way for what the mountains wanted from us.
We tried Sarektjåkkå in 5 days the first time, this time we had about 10 days, and we still had to do time management while being in the mountains. The weather conditions can be gnarly and the mountains always have the last word.
Working with Decathlon as a one-stop partner was the perfect solution, not only did it save us time working with one supplier of gear, it also gave us the right feedback and the team at Decathlon pushed us in the right direction. While we had an idea of the right ropes, harness, shoes, tents, they came with great input on what to think about; weight, weather conditions and combination of the products that would be most suitable.
We were a small three person expedition, meaning it was crucial to think about every ounce we carried to make the most of our exploring.
We started our journey in Sourva, Stora Sjöfallet National Park knowing it would take more than two days, instead of half a day, to get to our base camp below Sarektjåkkå - as we went over Jokkmokks kronoöverloppsmark. I want to point out that this unintentionally, and it includes a whole lot of scrambling but it includes some really cool hidden “lakes” where you could take an icy swim and get a good view of Sarektjåkkå.
The first time when trying to summit the biggest peak in sarektjåkkå, we tried it during the day, including a long hike, meaning we arrived late at night and were all worn out due to lack of energy.
Summiting the peaks in Sarektjåkkå takes time, and even though we are above the arctic circle, summers can be warm. Therefore, this year we decided to summit at night. Leaving the camp at 10 pm we knew that most of the hikes would be a bit cooler (still having the midnight sun as a guiding light) and this resulted in a better tempo and less energy consuming. Besides this we were better prepared with lightweight gear and a proper food supply. The Quecha hiking shoes we wore were ideal for this expedition as they are water repelant and had a good overall grip. Included in our bags were also the simond makalu crampons. We had a good time putting on these as Henke found me annoying the months before the expedition, going on about how we needed propper crampons and he not seeing them useful. Jokes on him!
Having brands such as quecha, simond and forclaz under one roof made it possible for us to be outside for the whole stretch - no pun intended.
It took falling in to a watercourse to get wet, other than that, trekking through a storm, the glaciers and hot gazing sun during the days, we were comfortable and dry all the time with trousers that had zippers, bags that we could fit all the gear; tents, cameras, tripods etc.
This journey took us to the biggest summit in sarektjåkkå...
...but there are more to come in this region, and our expeditions becomes more complex every time - that has led us to renovate an old bus to a camper (we are so original) - meaning, longer treks, more mountains to climb and more places to explore. And just as you, we know where the one-stop place to go is with the camper before embarking on our journey.
Stay curious, stay humble!