Winter crossing of the last great wilderness of Europe – Sarek, Sweden
It is difficult in this day and age to find any area of Europe for which these two words hold true – let alone a large wilderness area. Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland is an exception – the biggest exception, in fact! Sarek is the largest protected wilderness area on the continent, and for a good many reasons it is often called ‘the European Alaska’. There are no marked trails, no huts, no cellphone coverage – just pure wilderness and mountain peaks all around. When you stand in the middle of the park, the nearest village is a few days' walk away.
Or, in our case, a few days' skiing.
Join us for a crossing of Sarek National Park in late winter, when the lakes and rivers are still frozen over and the mountains are covered in thick snow. We will be moving on Nordic skis (no Nordic skiing experience needed – please see 'fitness level') and will be following the basins of the main valleys, crossing the wilderness from south to north.
Dates: 06 - 14 April 2017
Group size: max 6 participants
Fitness level: Hard
- expedition tents: 4 nights
- huts and shelters: 4 nights
Price: 2700 EUR
Deposit: 1080 EUR
This is going to be a hardcore photography expedition; the kind of adventure that puts you out of your comfort zone so that you can capture great images. There will be long days in the bitter cold, and we will be setting up and breaking camp in the snow every day. The reward will be the most spectacular scenery, including six of Sweden's highest peaks, over a hundred glaciers, and several enormous river deltas. There will also be the potential to spot local wildlife (reindeer, wolverines, red foxes and arctic foxes, to name a few). If we are lucky, we will see the Aurora Borealis.
We might still be on the European landmass, but we will travel in the manner of people in areas such as Greenland or Antarctica; by skis and with a pulk. Pulks are the most efficient way of carrying loads (packed with your personal gear, the tents, expedition food, gas, etc.) over snowy terrain, and you will form an intimate relationship with yours, full of both good times and bad. (A local once regaled us with his self-composed pulk 'song': ‘Pulka, pulka, bloody pulka’.)
Vertical Shot Expeditions' team will comprise three guides – a very experienced ski guide, an assistant guide, and an expedition leader/tutor. Our expedition tutor is the British adventure photographer Greg Annandale.
Expedition leader: Greg Annandale
Greg is an adventure photographer who has lived and worked on three continents and has climbed routes from the Russian Altai mountains all the way up to the Arctic and the Alps. This expedition is going to be his third crossing of Sarek National Park in winter. It was his true love for this wilderness area that fascinated us so much when we started working on this project.
He has shot for clients such as Outdoor Photography Magazine, Visit Faroe Islands, Peak Design, Café du Cycliste and NASA. Besides his photography assignments, he has previously worked as a divemaster, a cycling guide and a software engineer. You can learn more about Greg on our team page.
We will make a full crossing of the park, covering up to 22 km per day. You can expect to be on the skis for about six to eight hours per day. This is an expedition during which there will be a variety of opportunities for great images, so you will have to be ready at all times, from early in the morning until late at night, when we will keep an eye on the night sky for Northern Lights. On the last evening we will treat ourselves to a Swedish sauna in warm hut.
Fitness level and experience needed:
You do not need to have any previous Nordic skiing experience in order to join our team, although prior experience of any kind of skiing or snowboarding will help you learn the ropes more quickly. The main requirement is to have winter walking/camping experience and to be in good shape for walking/skiing for up to eight hours a day. You also need to be mentally prepared for the fact that there will be hardships and tiredness; this is a part of the experience, and as long as you do not let such things bring you down, you will enjoy amazing moments in the wilderness and experience unique photographic opportunities.
- Photography tuition.
- Guiding and expedition support by a team of three guides.
- Freeze-dried expedition food from Day 2 to Day 8.
- Use of pulks, expedition tents and safety gear.
- Four nights’ accommodation in huts.
- Four nights’ accommodation in tents.
We will meet in Kvikkjokk. In order to get there, you will need to get on the overnight train from Stockholm and then take a bus. Alternatively, you can fly to Gallivare – although the train ride is truly beautiful and we highly recommend it.
The expedition will finish in Ritsem, a small outpost with a hydroelectric plant and a hut. From Ritsem, we will travel by bus back to the famous Sami town of Jokkmokk.
If you decide to travel by train you should fly to Stockholm on 5th April and then depart from Stockholm on 15th April. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us – we will be happy to help you plan your journey!
- Travel to the meeting place and back from Ritsem.
- Personal gear such as sleeping bag, pad, clothes, etc.
- Nordic skis and boots (we can assist you to rent these in Kvikkjokk).
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Meals on the first day and the final day (at the huts).
- Travel insurance.