Inexperienced climbers plague Arctic mountain in Sweden

People walking on the Kebnekaise trail. (iStock)
Inexperienced climbers are plaguing the mountain rescue team at Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain, with almost daily calls for help, often for as little as a twisted knee.

Anders Bergvall, a mountain rescue officer based in Abisko at the foot of the mountain, told Radio Sweden that today’s climbers were different from those of the past.

“Human beings are more and more far away from the elements,” he said. “They don’t know how to dress, and how to prepare, and they don’t always have the knowledge of navigation and stuff like that.”

He also blamed the end of compulsory military service for a rise in the number of ‘blåbär’, meaning literally ‘bilberries’, as the inexperienced climbers are known.

“When I was young, every man had to join the army for a year where you learnt how to behave in the nature, in the forest and in the mountain,” he explained.

Bergvall conceded that weather had also played its part this year, with snow remaining on parts of the mountain much longer into the climbing season than usual, and frequent patches of fog and mist which caused walkers to lose their way.

Listen to Radio Sweden’s interview with Anders Bergvall, a mountain rescue officer:

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Feds announce $23M to upgrade Wood Buffalo Park road and trails, Radio Canada International

Finland: Trains to northern Finland fully booked as Easter travel begins, Yle News

Norway: Longer runway for bigger planes in Kirkenes, northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Two French kayakers illegally cross Finnish border into Russia, Yle News

United States: Alaskans in Cessna 172 make goodwill flight to Russia, Alaska Dispatch News

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