Working in and around the treeline above Abisko, one is always acutely aware of the spectacular natural wonder that is the Lap gate (Lapporten in Swedish). Formed during the last ice age by rapid movement of a glacier, the lap gate is a perfect hemi-spherical valley flanked by two large mountains with plummeting cliffs at either side. (see below).
Of course seeing this everyday whilst doing field work would make most people want to climb it…. So we did. A 10- 12 hour walk awaited us (Myself, Jens and a fellow PhD student from Durham, Rob) if we were to climb to the top of Nissuntjårro (1,738 m), the mountain forming the western side of the gate. We set off at 7am with the burning motivation of getting back in time to see the England football game (something I later regretted!). The walk was challenging and extremely interesting as we trudged through the birch forest, through heath tundra, up to alpine meadow and lastly onto the steep, ice clad mountain side (which I did NOT include on health and safety form!). Again, see below…
After 5 hours slog we were at the top of the lap gate (over 1600m), the level of the snow and avalanche risk prevented us from reaching the top of Nissuntjårro. As if commanded by a higher power the cloud lifted and the combined glories of the lap gate and the Abisko alps revealed themselves (one for Jens). In typical British fashion we boiled some snow and had a nice cup of tea at the top!
In other news we have started take CO2 flux measurements….