Kebnekaise

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasKebnekaiseGiebmegáisi › Alternative Routes

Giebmegáisi can be climbed quite easily from either Kebnekaise lodge or from Singi cabin. Starting from Kebnekaise lodge there is the further choice of two routes the west way (västra leden) and the east way (östra leden). The usual and simplest, but albeit longest, way to climb the mountain is from Kebnekaise lodge via the west way (västra leden) and this is the way I have described below. The east way (östra leden) from Kebnekaise lodge and the route from Singi cabin I will briefly describe here.

The east way (östra leden) is only suitable for experienced parties with some glacial experience as the route crosses the snout of the Björlings glacier, which has some crevasses, and then scrambles up a steep gully. It is however a much more interesting route. Leave Kebnekaise lodge and head west under the steep outcrop of Kaipal, 773m for a km. Here the path divides with a branch heading down to Singi, while the upper path continues westwards for another km until it also divides just before a stream. The west way continues across this stream which can be a torrent while the east way heads up the east bank of this torrent into a small steep valley for a good km.

The path then cross this torrent and starts a long ascent, initially up its west bank for ½ km before leaving the tumbling stream and zig-zagging up the sustained stony slope, becoming shoulder, for an hour until the gradient at last eases and Giebmegáisi appears. At this point there should be a large snowfield to your north. Continue up beside this snowfield heading towards Giebmegáisi for another km across easy stones and then some larger stones, which are the lateral moraine of Björlings glacier. At the edge of the glacier rope up and start to cross, keeping in a shallow bowl to the north of an ice ridge above the terminal snout. There are quite a few crevasses on the south side and crest of this ice ridge.

About half way over start to veer onto this ice ridge above the snout keeping to the north of its crest until you are almost across and the ridge start to steepen. At this point only head up onto its crest and climb it up a steepening slope until you reach the west edge and a rock ridge. Be wary of a bergschrund at this point. From here the way forward looks formidable, but there is a path which traverses under the steep crags for 200 m in a northerly direction. This path is used by the guided trips up Giebmegáisi from Kebnekaise lodge and there are fixed ropes along its entirety. After the 200m the path ascends under more crags and enters into a broad gully, initially ascending some 40 metres up the north side with some easy scrambling sections. Thereafter it crosses over to the south side of the gully and ascends the final 60 metres more steeply up to the lip where some exposed grade II scrambling is encountered.

From the lip it is a short 300 metres across the plateau in a northerly direction to a shelter. From this shelter continue to the summit as described below in the main section. Although the gully is not loose extreme care must be taken to dislodge stones onto parties below and it is best to wait until it is clear. From Kebnekaise lodge this ascent route is about 8-9 hours return and involves some 1450 metres of ascent. In the winter this ascent route is a serious climb under a huge and threatening cornice.

Giebmegáisi seen from the westThe route from Singi is long at 32 km, but it is a far gentler ascent than from Kebnekaise lodge, and 9-11 hours should be allowed. From Singi cabin head back up Ceakĉavággi valley on the marked Kungsleden trail for 3 km until you reach a bridge over the Siŋŋijohka stream. You can see clearly into the Siŋŋivággi valley to the east from here. A faint path goes up the south bank of this stream for 3 km passing between the steep hills of Goubirĉohkka and Siŋŋiĉohkka. Depending on conditions in the winter there is an very occasional avalanche risk between these two hills in the winter. Once past these hills the Siŋŋivággi valley flattens out completely and there is a side valley that goes up to the north on the south-east side of Goubirĉohkka. Leave the main valley and take this side valley and follow it for 5 km ascending gently and veering from north to east, until it comes to an valley that descends steeply to the south. Do not go into this steep valley but instead start to climb the steep slope on the north side of the valley.

The faint path now relentlessly climbs this stony slope for a sustained ½ hour until you meet the well worn west way (västra leden) from Kebnekaise lodge which is then followed for another ½ hour until you reach the shelter. From here continue as described below in the main section. If making a ski ascent in the spring, or indeed as a less tedious ascent alternative in the summer, it is also feasible, indeed preferable if the weather is good, to ascend up Siŋŋivággi valley and take the side valley that goes north then veers east as before. Instead of following it for 5 km, follow it for only 2 km then start to ascend the slopes on the north side of this valley towards a saddle between knoll at about 1605 metres and Giebmegáisi itself. Once at the saddle there is a splendid and easy ridge walk with marvellous views east for 4 km until you reach the base of the summit ice pyramid. This route up the west ridge is not suitable in poor visibility as the entire length of it is bordered by large cornices to the north overhanging a huge drop down to Rabots glacier.

For very experienced parties there is a classic traverse of the whole ridge from north to south or vice versa. From north to south this goes from Tarfala cabin up to the pass between Geibmebákti, 1990m and Gaskkasbákti, 2043m. From this pass it climbs up the north ridge of Geibmebákti, 1990m on mainly good rock up to grade III for 500 metres ascent. From this summit continue south along a sometimes exposed ridge to a notch called Halspasset. Climb past the notch which is grade III and continue south ascending up a broadening ridge, covered in snow and ice, to Giebmegáisi north top, 2097 metres. From this top there is a very exposed ice ridge which continues southwards to the south top. This ice ridge requires snow and ice protection. From the south top descend to Kebnekaise lodge via the east way (östra leden). The total time needed for this traverse is 8-10 hours.