Ingvar Loco Nordin & Anna Nygren
Lisa's Helmet Hike
(Mårma - Three Pass Trail 2011)

Anna easing up The Mårma Pass

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Chapter 9

Yellow line shows the distance covered in chapter 9, while yellow and red lines combined show the total hiking distance of the day.

4 August 2011 (continuation)

Looking east along The Mårma Pass

It was steep, for sure, and you immediately felt like combining the thrust of one of the walking sticks with a firm grip around a rock with the other hand. This way we zigzagged ourselves up to a certain elevation on what sometimes looked like a path, because smaller pebbles and even gravel had been left in a zigzagging line when many feet had pushed the larger pebbles and stones to the side on ascending and descending.

Anna starting out, still close to the bottom of The Mårma Pass

Looking west along The Mårma Pass, across The Moarhmmá Glacier, towards The Hawk Summits

Looking south-west from one of the green patches half way up the Mårma ascent, to the enormous Moarhmmá end moraine cutting the valley in a giant curve

South along the valley we'd come; along The Vierrojohka River

It was clear from the very start that this had to be a very, very slow ascent because it was so steep that you would exhaust yourself shortly otherwise. Accordingly we climbed a few steps, maybe four, five meters of elevation, and then stopped to rest and breath and look around, and sometimes sip some water. To make sure, I had poured my protein powder from a flask into a double plastic bag, to have two full flasks of water on the ascent. I expected water to be scarce at the top of the pass, and water is something you don’t want to lack in these circumstances!

Happy climber!

Follow that cairn! Immer höhe muß ich steigen!

I had also definitely decided to do what nobody else seemed to have done, i.e. shoot a number of photographs around me on the way up. I did. The reason for hikers not to take pictures at the Mårma ascent may well be that all their energy goes into the climb, which, if you try to do it continuously, will drain your strength. The way we did it, admittedly under perfect conditions (weather, temperature, visibility), step by step, made the ascent quite easy, and because we stopped so often we didn’t even sweat! The ease at which we rose up this dreaded wall surprised and elated us, and when we looked back from half way up, a magnificent view across the canyon we’d arrived through, all the way down from Alisvággi, opened its beauty to us without restrictions. We did feel a little like flies on the wall, though, ‘cause you couldn’t see the way down, nor up, since the wall curved in below and above. At no time did it feel dangerous though. It was just a matter of finding the best way up, and most of the time there were cairns to guide you; at times even a couple of alternate ones, giving you options.

Anna gaining good on The Mårma Monster!

Yep, same shot again, but closer up! Anna shows you the true, fresh spirit of a Lapland hiker at one of her best moments, advancing up that dreaded Mårma wall!

Higher, higher, higher!

Look, no sweat! We moved piece by piece, bit by bit up the ascent; thus didn't even perspire much!

(photo: anna nygren)

Almost up! The degree of ascent eases off a bit near the pass threshold

To the right (west) we saw the mighty Moarhmmá Glacier, and across the tongue of the glacier, facing us when we turned around, the beautiful, cut-through, rising ridge leading up to Moarhmbákti’s two summits (The Hawk Summits: Höktopparna) at 1810 and 1888 meters.

One of the most beautiful rocks in Lapland, right by The Hawk Summits, across from The Mårma Pass, by The Moarhmmá Glacier

We're up!

Yes indeed, on top Mårma!

The high plateau that The Mårma Pass is part of, as the northern (and for that matter; the southerrn too) access ascent to it, is called Ruomasčorru, and Tore Abrahamsson, in his book This Is Kebnekaise, simply states that: “the steep ascent over The Ruomasčorru Ridge is a trial“ while Claes Grundsten calls The Mårma Pass “a challenge for strong hikers” The fact that we found it so easy may be a combination of our apprehension (we had expected something worse), the weather (perfect conditions) and our step-by-step method of rising up the wall. It would have been quite much trickier to descend, though, when orientation is much harder, and the dizzying sense of height and a wall that curves in under you are annoying parameters, not to talk about how it would appear in bad weather.

The beautiful south-western horizon, seen from Mårma

At 11:00 we got onto the top of the pass, happy as jesters, celebrating with cool water and power bars. We saw the top marker – a big cairn – a few hundred meters to our right, so we walked over there and had us photographed! The time was 11:30 AM, and we stood in awe of the beautiful west horizon with an array of sharp, snow-clad mountains - and one mesa mountain, with a wide, flat summit - some of which must be Norwegian.

To the south, in our hiking direction, another, equally amazing view opened on us, indescribable in its visual bliss, with lakes, mountains, snow fields and glaciers.

Left: Nijbas. Left middle: The Pyramid. Middle: The Knife's Edge. Right middle and right: Reaiddáčohkka


To chapter 10