So I finally did the long hike to Skarsfjället and back! I drove to Slättansvallen in Ramundberget, unloaded my MTB and biked (well, mostly – there were some bits where I had to walk/carry the bike) all the way to Tvärån. That’s about 9 km (return) that I didn’t have to walk, and I was really happy I had the bike when I was zipping through the meadows at Klinken. I know I would have hated to walk it with tired feet on the way back.
Because, there sure was enough walking to be done. About 20 km, which includes more altitude metres than the Helags hike! Even if Skars (at 1594m) is 202m lower than Helags, the trip starts so much lower that the total gain ends up being more.
I was at Slättansvallen at around 8am and the morning looked really nice with a lot of blue sky. Of course, I wasted a lot of that blue sky walking through the forest, following Tvärån, and I must say that really do hate the forest during a warm day in the summer. If you slow down, you get eaten by mosquitoes. If you don’t slow down, you’ll have sweat running out from every pore. It’s just lose-lose. I didn’t even take a second look at the waterfalls along the way (a lot of times, not even a first look. I heard them, and passed).
I reached the “bowl” of Skarsfjället at around 11am and finally sat down. I needed to eat, badly, before making a push for the top. While I was sitting there, a group of five people suddenly emerged, coming down from the mountain. How the heck early did they start to be coming down already? Especially when I saved a lot of time by biking the first part? My suspicion is that they cheated and took a helicopter up to the top, I’ve seen adverts for helicopter trips and I’ve always wondered how the chopper can land on Skarsfjället when the top looks very conical. The mystery would soon be answered!
Going up from the lake, there are two parts. First part is to get to 1300m, and there are two ways – the longer but easy way up on the east side of the bowl, or the shorter but steeper climb on the north side of the bowl. Going up steep is easier than coming down, so I took the shorter route and it was quite ok, I even took it on the way down.
The second part is to get to the peak itself. Again, you have two choices (or three, counting the vertical cliff wall!), the short and difficult way or the long and easy way. Again, going up steep is doable so I took it, but at some point I was seriously questioning my judgement – basically, no margins. So at the first best opportunity, I went sideways to access that easier route on the west side of the peak. The final approach turned out to be a lot easier than expected, it was a lot less rocky than I thought it would be so you could easily find your way around the loose rocks.
Finally on the top, the mystery about the helicopter landing was explained – the peak is actually quite flat, with plenty of room for a chopper!
With my talent for impeccable timing, the clouds drew in just as I reached the top. The light and the sky were lousy and it was rather uninspiring to shoot anything, but the landscape of course was spectacular. A great view towards Skardsfjella, with Sylarna and Helags decorating the horizon in the north and north-east, respectively.
Going down, I took the long and easy route, no discussion. When I reached the 1300m plateau, the light had somehow returned – the way it looked just moments earlier, I was sure that I had seen the last of the sun. I had a coffee break by the creek coming down from the bowl, and by then, the clouds were covering the sky for sure. I didn’t need to bother to take out the camera any more, now it was just the long trek back to the bike and then home.
It shouldn’t be possible but the walk down the forest was longer than coming up. I kid you not. My thighs were screaming bloody murder when I got home! But it was well worth it, took me 10.5 hours and “60 toppar” #33 thus done. 🙂
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I just noticed that the pictures are oversharpened. I changed my sharpening settings in LR and didn’t realise until now that the settings don’t do any favours when exported for the web.
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Edit 2016-08-02: New personal step record, 45131!