Rested and ready after our driving day, we woke early intending to hike as much of Abisko nationalpark as we could in one day. The highest point in the park is the summit of Mt. Njullá at 1,164m (3,820 ft.). In the winter, Njullá is a ski mountain and there’s a single chairlift at 400m (1,315 ft.) that you can ride up to 900m (2,950 ft.). The skiing is in the middle of the mountain, above the treeline at 650m (2,130 ft.). Woah, that’s too many numbers; here’s a picture, it makes it easier to grasp:
We, of course, are here in the summer, not the winter, so there was no skiing going on. However, the chairlift is in operation year-round and in the summer it is used to take lazy or time-constrained hikers like us up above the treeline which makes it much easier to reach the summit of Njullá with enough time to tackle another hike in the park the same day, as we wanted to do.
This morning, we were the second couple up the chairlift and the first to reach the summit, a 1.5 mile hike with an 870-foot elevation gain going up, for a total of 3.0 miles roundtrip. Here’s the view from the start of the chairlift:
On the way up, I read the fineprint on the white container clamped to the chair. It was titled, “Instructions [for] Evacuation.” It said that if the lift stopped, don’t jump off – duh! – but wait for the park staffers to come and tell you what to do with the line in the container. Yeah, like we’re going to slide down a 1/4″ rope from the chairlift.
[Note: I later discovered that there was a fatality here not long ago when one of the chairs FELL OFF THE CABLE because the park staffers hadn’t put it on correctly – these are the same people that are supposed to rescue us if the chairlift stops moving. No, thanks.]
At the summit, there was a cairn created by hikers that had made it up here. Dale added our stone to the top!
You might think that the hike back down would be easier than going up. Maybe in our younger days, but now it’s tough on the knees. We stopped briefly again at the cafe at the top of the chairlift to disrobe and look at our next destination…