North-western Sweden is perhaps most known for its mountain ranges which includes many peaks between 1700-2100 meters above the ocean. In this post we have gathered three glacial mountains that are relatively safe to access but still demanding enough to create memories for a lifetime.
Our first mountain is of course Sweden’s highest peak: The southern summit of Kebnekaise. The word Kebnekaise comes from the Sami language and means cauldron + sharp peak. It is actually a confusion from when the government were to name the mountain. There is another mountain in the area which are shaped as a cauldron (the beautiful Toulpagorni). Kebnekaise is rising 2100 meters above the sea. Unlike its northern cousin, the southern summit can be reached without special equipment. There are two common routes: the west and the east. The west route is a 11 kilometer trail from the Kebnekaise mountain station. Except for good physical status, this route does not require any glacier skills or climbing equipment. The eastern route is shorter but goes over a glacier. At the mountain station you can join a guided tour for a safe passage over “Björlings glacier”. A part of the route consists of a Via Ferra trail.
The western trail of Kebnekaise
Because of the dangers associated with glaciers, most people choose the western route. On the western route there are a couple of places where you need to ford over shallow streams of water in which you also can refill your water bottle.
Following the Kittelbäcken stream you will pass the beautiful cauldron shaped mountain Toulpagorni on your left and continue up in the Kitteldalen valley. The biggest obstacle on the way is the annoying Vierramvare mountain. You actually need to climb up to 1700 meters and then descent 200 meters before starting the final climb to the southern summit of Kebnekaise.
On your way up the mountain you will find two smaller rescue cabins. Then you will not have far up to the final summit. Enjoy the view from Sweden’s highest peak from which you can see about 1/10 of the country’s surface.
How to get to Kebnekaise:
1. Flight, train or car/bus to the northern city of Kiruna.
2. Bus 92 from Kiruna to Nikkaluokta.
3. 18 km trail/boat/helicopter to Kebnekaise mountain station.
4. 11 km western route to the summit.
Another interesting and accessible peak lies in the mountains of Jämtland: Storsylen. The mountain is shared between Norway and Sweden. It highest point, 1762 meters, lies in Norway while the highest point on its Swedish side is 1743 meters.
The easiest way to access Storsylen is to go by Sylarna’s mountain station. It can be reached by a number of trails and is a part of the Jämtland Triangle route which goes between three mountain stations: Storulvån (accessible by car), Blåhammaren and Sylarna.
From Sylarna’s mountain station you can pick a few routes up to Storsylen. We can recommend passing Storsylen’s evil twin, Lillsylen on your way up. The mountain ridge between the two summits is a great experience, but nothing for those who are afraid of heights.
How to get to Storsylen:
1. Car to the mountain station Storulvån in Jämtland.
2. 16 km trail to Sylarna’s mountain station.
3. Depending on route, going up Storsylen and back to Sylarna’s mountain station should not take more than 4-6 hours.
Our final peak in this post is Helags. It lies in Härjedalen, south of Jämtland. It is the highest Swedish summit south of the polar circle (1796 meters) and in connection to it you will also find Sweden’s southernmost glacier. At the foot of Helags there is a mountain station. The walk from the station to the summit and back is about 8 km. You can choose to go one way up the mountainside and continue down on the other side, going around the glacier and enjoying some nice views.
Webb camera from the mountain station, showing Helags in the background:
How to get to Helags:
1. Car from “Kläppen” in Ljungdalen.
2. 12 km trail from Kläppen to Helags mountain station.
3. 8 km trail up and down the summit.
More information about tourism in Sweden can be accessed by visiting The Swedish Tourist Association. They have a lot of information about maps, accommodation and other practical things you need on your journey.