Kebnekaise

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

AreasKebnekaiseGaskkasbákti › Alternative Routes

There are four routes up Gaskkasbákti.

  1. There is the classic south west ridge
  2. There is the steep route up the sydöstra Gaskkasbákti-glaciären (south east Kaskasapakte glacier) and the south east ridge.
  3. The is the steep and unstable west face which is covered in loose boulders and is probably best as it can be very loose and unpredictable, and as a consequence I have not described.
  4. Finally there is the easiest, but not so fine, east ridge.

As the south west ridge and the south east ridge is more demanding than the east ridge and involves some grade IV or steep glacier traverse I have described them here under the alternative routes section. While the easiest east ridge route is on the main page. A fine tour is to ascend the south west ridge and descend the east ridge. All routes especially the alternative require good weather. Kaskasapakte is exposed and the weather can deteriorate very quickly into fearsome conditions, which has had fatal consequences.

Gaskkasbákti seen from the Kebnepakte glacier to the southThe south west ridge is best tackled from Tarfalastugan cabin. Walk round the east and north side of Tarfalajaure lake and then make your way up the steep moraine on the north side of the Kebnepakteglaciären for a good ½ hour until you get pushed onto the very edge of the glacier by a line of crags. Continue up the glacier until you can easily clamber up the short moraine through an obvious gap in the crags to gain the top the ridge. From here it is an easy 200 metre saunter down to Kaskasajaure tarn. At this tarn head west along the boulder strewn valley for a km, passing over a shallow watershed.

About ½ km after the watershed and some 1½ hours after leaving Tarfalastugan cabin leave the valley and start to climb up the steep scree slope, ascending 200 metres towards the ridge. At the top of the scree there is a further 100 metres of easy scrambling to gain the main south west ridge at about 1650 metres. From here to the south top are 4 buttresses with easy clambering sections between. The first crag is about 20 metres and involves climbing a grade IV chimney. The second crag is also 20 metres and is grade III. The third crag is 20 metres and is grade III. The fourth crag at about 1900 metres is the biggest and most demanding crag and is 55 metres with climbing up to grade IV. This fourth buttress is usually climbed in two pitches. However, for descending it 2 times 60 metre ropes are preferred.

Just beyond the top of the uppermost buttress is the south top at 2015 metres. From here it is easy to follow the lofty but flattish ridge for 200 metres to the summit. This route is demanding and exposed and needs a 60 metre rope, 10+ slings and a normal rack of chocks. The rock is a bit loose and friends are superfluous. Descend via the east ridge as per the main route. Allow 10-12 hours round trip from Tarfalastugan cabin.

The east ridge follows the same route from Tarfalastugan cabin to Kaskasajaure tarn. Here cross the outflow and head north to the snout of the small but steep sydöstra Gaskkasbákti-glaciären. Rope up here and head up the glacier for a good ½ hour veering to the west side of the glacier under the triangular east face until at about 1700 metres you ascend a 40 degree ice ramp and reach rock again. At this edge, start to traverse up across steep slabs, boulders and crags for good ½ hour to reach the bottom of the south east ridge. This traverse is an exposed grade III on places.

The bottom of the south east ridge is the top of triangle of the near vertical east face at the base of which lies the sydöstra Gaskkasbákti-glaciären, which was just ascended. Once on the ridge itself the climbing continues for another good ½ hour with some of it at grade III on a very fine and airy ridge to reach a false top at 2015 metres. From here it is easy to follow the lofty but flattish ridge for 200 metres to the summit. This route is demanding and exposed and needs a 60 metre rope, some slings and a normal rack of chocks. Descend via the east ridge as per the main route. Allow 8-10 hours round trip from Tarfalastugan cabin.