10-Feb-2002 -- 66N 16E Ammarnäs
Visited by Pär Byström and Ulf Mäkitalo
After being told of this project, by an old friend who visited a confluence, 68N 20E Rautas, we decided to visit a confluence point ourselves. After a brief check at the confluence map, we found that the closest primary point, still not visited, from our present hometown Umeå (Sweden), was 66N 16E Nuolpen.
This confluence point is situated about 380 km north west of Umeå and approximately 4.5 km from closest road, near the village Ammarnäs, in the mountain area in northern Sweden. We decided to try to reach the confluence point by skis, but due to the surrounding steep mountains our planned route (to avoid too step inclines) to the confluence point became approximately 8 km from the road.
We started our expedition at 5 AM in Umeå, the temperature was only a few degree below zero (Celsius) but with dense snowfall. At 10 AM we parked the car, after 380 km on the road, at our starting point for the ski trip at 535 m altitude.
The weather was good and the snowfall had diminished. The first 4-km was really tough, with deep snow, dense mountain birch forest and steep incline. When we reached the bare mountain, the snow depth and incline decreased but so did also the visibility. Struggling onwards to the confluence point we got company by groups of ptarmigans that was sitting along the mountain slopes.
At 850 m altitude and approximately 3 km from the confluence point the visibility became extremely poor and it started to snow. From that point we only oriented ourselves towards the confluence point with the GPS. At 2 PM we reached the confluence point at 931 m altitude, very exhausted, after 4 hours of skiing.
According to the GPS we had covered a distance of 8 km, the slowest 8 km of skiing in our lives. The visibility was roughly only 20 meters or so, which was a great disappointment as the view most likely would have been very beautiful.
Still, likely to most reader's disappointment, we took the pictures of the four cardinal points with ourselves and our skis and backpacks in front. After a cup of coffee and some sandwiches we backtracked our ski tracks heading towards the car. The down mountain trip was really easy compared to the upwards trip and took only 1 h and 15 minutes.
On the way down we met a Norwegian Lemming that ran in the opposite direction from us upwards, using our ski tracks. Back to car we headed towards Umeå which we reached at 9 PM in the evening. Satisfied but tired we thought that it had been a fun trip and well worth the effort.