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

The three snowfields at Tarfala all visible, as I tread on back to retrieve my tent

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Chapter 18

Yellow line shows the distance covered in chapter 3, which also is the total hiking distance of the day, but a speciality of this day was that I (Loco) climbed back up to the pass to fetch my tent, and of course brought it down, while Anna made a round to photograph flowers and plants in The Tarfala Valley

9 August 2011

The whole side moraine in one glance, in this tightened telephoto shot

As soon as I woke I glanced out the window and saw that the weather was stable, and actually a bit better than the night before, so I got myself ready to hike up to The Tarfala Pass by myself to fetch the tent. The Kebnekaise climbers had left with all their gear at 6 AM, so we had the room to ourselves for our resting day at Tarfala.

I had breakfast with Anna, packed my backpack (after emptying it of everything) with two water bottles, two power bars, the crampons and an extra long-sleeve Icebreaker Merino wool sweater, and was on my way in perfect cool air temperature at 9 AM, dressed in my orange Mammut shell jacket and my Marmot shell pants over my regular trousers.

At 9:15 I thought I saw a very grey – rock grey – tent standing by the side of my path, but on closer examination it turned out to be a rock that really looked like a tent! It must be the home of the Tarfala troll!

A tent... or a rock?

At the beginning of the ascent I had to take off my Mammut jacket and just wear an Icebreaker Merino t-shirt on my upper body, getting too warm from the exercise.

Giebmebákti Glacier and its side moraine


Thrilling landscape up the side moraine, with The Gaskkasbákti Mountain towering!



At about 10:15 AM I was already up at the glacier edge part of the climb. I sat down and mounted the crampons. It had been such a pleasure to hike rocks and ascent up the side moraine with such a light backpack; a totally different, jubilant way of moving across these parts! At 10:20 AM I stepped off the glacier onto the plateau, and sat down to take off the crampons. I didn’t know it, but down at The Tarfala Hut Anna was photographing me and clocking me as I passed the various sections of the ascent!


Beautiful, dangerous!


The top part of the glacier section of the ascent


The little dot is me, preparing to take off my crampons and get off the glacier, up on the plateau. Anna took the picture with as much telelens as her camera could manage.


Here are her timings for me on my way up:

8:45 AM: Departing from The Tarfala Hut.

9:15: Crossing the first snowfield (really the second one, but the first one visible from the hut)

9:23: Crossing the second (third) snowfield.

9:35: Moving over the first hump of the side-moraine.

9:45: Moving in front of the glacier behind the side moraine.

10:15: Moving along The Giebmebákti Glacier after the side moraine, before the plateau.

Over the top plateau and down along Lake Gaskkasjávri


Along Lake Gaskkasjávri, careful not to slip!


Looking back down to Lake Gaskkasjávri

At 10:30 AM I was down by Lake Gaskkasjávri again, discovering, as I gave myself leisure time to look around, that a couple of tenting places had been cleared on the minimal possible place right down along the shore. I continued onto the snowfields and moved briskly up the ascent to the pass. As I moved up over the edge at 10:40 AM I saw my red Hilleberg Nallo 2 tent standing proud a few hundred meters away, right by the pass cairn, in a ridiculously vulnerable place, right in that natural wind tunnel, and with beautiful Dragon’s Back Mountain (Drakryggen) with its glacier as an alpine backdrop. I felt a certain warm feeling for my tent as I approached it, sort of falling in love with it at this reunion. It felt so good to be back at the tent and be able to see the surroundings, the beautiful, dramatic surroundings, which, after Anna’s and my extra time up there meant much more than before.

My Hillberg Nallo 2 shining like a beacon in the wilderness right on the Tarfala Pass threshold!


The Dragon's Back Mountain beyond!



Seen from the other side, with some of Lake Gaskkasjávri showing. So this is where Anna and I hid from fog, rain, snow and storm for all those long hours!

At 11:15, after munching a power bar, sipping some water and putting the Mammut jacket back on, I was at The Giebmebákti Glacier’s edge again, crampons on, moving down to the side moraine with the tent safely stuffed into my backpack. Me unknowingly, Anna was still keeping watch way down, 300 altitude meters below at The Tarfala Hut, clocking and photographing. My heart was light as I descended, Dylan songs dancing through my mind. At 12:15 I was moving along the eastern side of Lake Darfáljávri, home free, just a few hundred meters to the hut, and Anna came out to meet me with a warm hug.

Anna’s timings for my descent:

11:40: Passing in front of the glacier behind the side moraine.

11:50: Moving over the first hump of the side moraine.

11:55: Moving across the first snowfield (now considered from the end of the side moraine)
12:00: Passing across the second snowfield.

12:25: Back at The Tarfala Hut.

Anna ventured out to the west side of The Icefall Glacier’s old end moraines, photographing flowers, while I stayed in the hut, in my bunk in room no 2, a good deal of the rest of the day just resting.

We had large portions of oatmeal at night, and I stuffed myself for the long hike we expected to conduct the day after, all the way to Nikkaluokta, some 24 kilometers away, while the STF gang socialized in a loud and jolly manner.

I talked to the Tarfala hostess, who also was named Anna, and asked her if she had any contact with the hostess at Nallo, who was called Anna too. She didn’t have any means of direct contact, but could send a host message through the hiker mail, i.e. sending it on with hikers, who would leave it with the Nallo hostess. I had carried mail like that once to the Teusajaure host. I asked the Tarfala hostess to please tell the Nallo hostess that Anna and I had made it across The Pyramid Pass as we planned; I on crampons, mostly on the ice, and Anna up the rocks to the right (west) of the ice. She would. The Nallo hostess had been very curious about this, as spoken about earlier in this story.

Here are a number of pictures that Anna took this day as she went out to research the area betweenThe Tarfala Hut and The Icefall Glacier:















To chapter 19