Among mountain avens and snow, above the clouds. A hike by the border mountain Skärrim offers its challenges. Top of Arjeplog means you’ll never know quite how an evening turning into night might end. It all started with a Facebook post on our joint Top of Arjeplog page. Did someone want to hike up to the top of the mountain Skärrim?
In the end we were four excited hikers. Johan Fjellström, Lilian Flinkfeldt, Karin Renberg and me, Maria Söderberg. Everyone in a great mood, happy to go on a mini adventure. Lilian had a particular reason. It was going to be her tenth top climb, which meant she would have ticked all the peaks in this year’s Top of Arjeplog. I had secretly bought pear cider and plastic glasses so we’d be able to make a toast on top of the mountain.
+10° C that evening was not a bad temperature to hike in. The weather can change quickly. It was raining in Arjeplog and 130 km later the sun was breaking though the clouds.
Most peaks can be conquered from several directions, and Skärrim is no exception. From what we’d heard others had hiked in from the Norwegian side, attacking the summit from the west.
The closer we came, the more impressive the view of the mountain. We chose a path that school classes from Skellefteå normally take when they hike up in September – when the snow has melted.
Big sheets of snow still covered parts of the south-east side. Summer was unusually late. It was our fourth year of peak climbing, so we knew most things work out if you really want them to, and if you’re a bit stubborn. Just hike with safety as your guiding principle, a mantra when the mountain becomes steeper and the surface slippery and muddy.
All of a sudden we found ourselves above the clouds! The midnight sun glimmered briefly through mists sweeping around the cliffs. Mountain avens and snow gentian surprised us. We marvelled at how reindeer had managed to traverse the steep stretches covered in snow.
On the summit we had a feast with coffee, sandwiches, nuts and a pear-cider toast. North of us rose Bærgna, the Bear Peak. In the valley far below water was hurled against rocks in Jurunvágge, to later join the Junker River. Remains of many settlements from the late Iron Age have been found in that area. Even if we couldn’t see anything move from the top of the mountain that evening, it was hardly an untouched ‘wilderness’ we found ourselves in. A reindeer enclosure at the starting point by the Silver Road bears witness to Sámi presence, together with further ancient settlements.
We walked down the partly steep and snow-covered Skärrim with cautious steps. We had to slide down in places, carefully placing our feet on the next ledge. But the cautious trip down gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery.
– One of my best hikes ever, Lilian said when we got back to the car after a strenuous walk, four o’clock in the morning.
– The mountain has been renamed, Johan laughed. From Skärrim to ‘Scare Him’.
Text and photo: Maria Söderberg