A Tough Decision

I’m back home after 16 days of photographic work in Sarek National Park. Two weeks full of experiences that will take some time to digest.

A windswept landscape. Sarek National Park. March 2022.

This post is about a tough decision I had to make during the expedition.

Imagine yourself being out there alone. You’re facing a challenging situation. You’re not certain of the outcome. The decision is all up to you. It’s your call.

***

After a week of more or less constant wind and snowfall I hadn’t made as much progress as I had hoped. So when the wind finally calmed down I was eager to pull my pulk up the last kilometers to where I had planned to set up my basecamp.

From there I would have a good possibility to reach one of the summits early in the morning. To be on the top of the mountain when the light is at its best.

I skied in whiteout. The landscape around me was completely featureless. A small black dot appeared in the distance. It grew larger and larger.

A lone rock becomes a sublime experience when skiing in whiteout. Sarek National Park. March 2022.

A rock. An island of contrast in an ocean of whiteness.

After a few hours my compass and GPS had led me to where I wanted to be. Here I could pitch my tent as close to the mountain as possible while still being somewhat protected from the wind. Or so I thought.

The following couple of days consisted of two things. More snowfall and wind. The mountain peaks were hidden from me and there was no chance I would be able to get up on the summit in these conditions.

One gets very dependent on the weather high up in the winter mountains. My whole expedition were now in the hands of the weather gods.

Preparing camp for bad weather. This time it was needed. Sarek National Park. March 2022.

The winds were picking up again. This time stronger. Should I pack up everything while I still could and make my way down to a more protected place?

If I did I would be too far away from the mountain to have a chance to reach the summit for that special morning light. My head was spinning.

All these thoughts. I didn’t know just how strong winds I would face. It’s that uncertainty that make these decisions so tough. You don’t know the outcome. Will the tent hold up or not?

But I had put in so much work to get here. I began creating blocks of snow with my shovel and a snow wall around my tent to protect it from the wind was in progress. I had made my decision through action.

That night the wind was hammering the tent like crazy. On a few occasions I thought that the tent poles were going to break. But they held up.

I waited out the weather for two more days and then finally the wind calmed down and the weather cleared.

The clock had just passed midnight and it was now 11 days since I began my adventure. I secured the snowshoes on my feet, put on the backpack and in the light of my headlamp I was finally on my way to the summit.

***

Thank you for reading! My work is made possible through the support of my audience. As a Supporter you keep me going and in return get access to special content.

For example I have posted a video from the expedition showing you my camp and the gear I use.

/ Magnus

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