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Last updated: March 17, 2001 Unless otherwise specified; text, tables, photographs, maps and other graphics © 1999-2001 Gunnar Ljungstrand
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The glaciers of the Kebnekaise massif

Kebnekaisemassivet from E Kebnekaisemassivet from E, June 19, 1981. (76 kB)

The Kebnekaise massif, containing the highest peak of Sweden, lies between Tjäktjavagge in the west and Tjeuralako in the east, Kaskasavagge in the north and Ladtjovagge in the south. The highest peak is Kebnekaise Sydtopp (2117 m), and the massif contains 20-23 glaciers (depending on how you count).

Table over the glaciers of the Kebnekaise massif with basic data

# Name Type Area (km2) Length (km) Lowest point (m) Highest point (m) Height difference (m)
1. Tuolpajekna Cirque glacier 0.32 0.8 1245 1505 260
2. Västra Enquists glaciär Cirque glacier 0.19 0.6 1550 1790 240
3. Mellersta Enquists glaciär Cirque glacier 0.09 0.5 1340 1600 260
4. Östra Enquists glaciär Cirque glacier 0.12 0.4 1400 1655 255
5. Kaskasajekna Valley glacier 1.50 2.3 1115 1600 485
6. Kaskasapaktejekna Cirque glacier 0.11 0.6 1475 1810 335
7. Tarfalajaurejekna Cirque glacier 0.07 0.3 1260 1420 160
8. Lillietoppsglaciären Ice cap 0.10 0.5 1555 1835 280
9. Nuortap Kaskasatjåkkajekna Cirque glacier 0.60 1.6 1325 1830 505
10. Årjep Kaskasatjåkkajekna Cirque glacier 0.56 1.4 1390 1900 510
11. Tarfalajekna Ice cap 0.88 1.1 1395 1790 395
12. Passglaciären Cirque glacier 0.61 0.8 1325 1680 355
13. Rabots glaciär Valley glacier 4.09 4.4 1065 1930 865
14. Kebnekaisejekna Glacier complex 6.91 5.0 1130 2010 880
14a. of which Kebnepakteglaciären Cirque glacier 0.77 1.3 1160 1770 610
14b. of which Isfallsglaciären Valley glacier 1.42 2.0 1185 1775 590
14c. of which Storglaciären Valley glacier 3.29 4.0 1130 1930 800
14d. of which Björlings glaciär Valley glacier 1.43 2.2 1410 2010 600
15. Kebnetjåkkajekna Ice cap 0.33 0.6 1300 1525 225
16. Kitteldalsglaciären Cirque glacier 0.06 0.5 1210 1430 220
17. Toppglaciären Ice cap 0.06 0.3 1940 2115 175
18. Nordtoppsglaciären Ice cap 0.05 0.4 1925 2065 140
19. Nuortap Kebnekaisejekna Ice cap 0.07 0.2 1900 2010 110
20. Årjep Kebnekaisejekna Ice cap 0.22 0.8 1470 1800 330
Total 16.94


1. Tuolpajekna

Tuolpajekna from NE Tuolpajekna from NE, August 11, 1990. (69 kB)

Tuolpajekna (0.32 km2) is a cirque glacier on the north side of Tuolpanjunnjetjåkka. It seems to be virtually crevasse-free.


2. Västra Enquists glaciär

Västra Enquists glaciär (0.19 km2) is the uppermost part of the fragmented former Enquists glaciär. The glacier is named after Fredrik Enquist, a cartographer active in the area in the late 19th century. This cirque glacier was previously continuos with Mellersta Enquists glaciär and Östra Enquists glaciär.


3. Mellersta Enquists glaciär

Mellersta Enquists glaciär (0.09 km2) is a tiny cirque glacier; a fragment formerly continuos with Västra Enquists glaciär and Östra Enquists glaciär.


4. Östra Enquists glaciär

Östra Enquists glaciär (0.12 km2) is the third fragment of the former continuos ice. The others are Västra Enquists glaciär and Mellersta Enquists glaciär.


5. Kaskasajekna

Kaskasajekna from E Kaskasajekna from E, August 3, 1995. (44 kB)

Kaskasajekna (1.50 km2) is a fairly heavily crevassed valley glacier below the huge north face of Kaskasapakte. The glacier ends in a small lake and has substantial (probably ice-cored) terminal moraines.


6. Kaskasapaktejekna

Kaskasapaktejekna from S Kaskasapaktejekna from S, August 10, 1990. (48 kB)

Kaskasapaktejekna (0.11 km2) is a very small cirque glacier on the south side of Kaskasapakte. It has few crevasses.


7. Tarfalajaurejekna

Tarfalajaurejekna (0.07 km2), a tiny glacier (or dead ice), lies just north of the very much larger Kebnepakteglaciären. It is not plotted on the mountain map.


8. Lillietoppsglaciären

Lillietoppsglaciären (0.10 km2) is a small ice cap on the south slope of Kaskasatjåkka.


9. Nuortap Kaskasatjåkkajekna

Nuortap 
Kaskasatjåkkajekna from NE Nuortap Kaskasatjåkkajekna from NE, August 3, 1995. (46 kB)

Nuortap Kaskasatjåkkajekna (0.60 km2) is a medium-sized cirque glacier on the northeast side of Kaskasatjåkka. It has some crevasses in its middle part. A high but possible pass across to Årjep Kaskasatjåkkajekna and Tarfala exists at some 1735 m.


10. Årjep Kaskasatjåkkajekna

Årjep 
Kaskasatjåkkajekna from S Årjep Kaskasatjåkkajekna from S, August 10, 1990. (55 kB)

Årjep Kaskasatjåkkajekna (0.56 km2), a medium-sized valley glacier, lies on the southeast side of Kaskasatjåkka. It has few crevasses, and has retreated significantly during the 20th century. There is a possible pass to Nuortap Kaskasatjåkkajekna and Kaskasavagge from the northern part (1735 m).


11. Tarfalajekna

Tarfalajekna from NE Tarfalajekna from NE, August 3, 1995. (34 kB)

Tarfalajekna (0.88 km2) is an ice cap on the east slope of Tarfalatjåkka. It is a so-called "cold" or "subpolar" glacier, has great ice-cored moraines, but few crevasses.


12. Passglaciären

Passglaciären from NW Passglaciären from NW, August 11, 1990. (63 kB)

Passglaciären (0.61 km2) is a cirque glacier northwest of Kebnepakte. It has relatively few crevasses, but a pass across to Rabots glaciär at some 1550 m (Firnpasset).


13. Rabots glaciär

Rabots glaciär from W Rabots glaciär from W, June 20, 1981. (65 kB)

Rabots glaciär (4.09 km2), a long valley glacier, is the Kebnekaise massif´s largest. It is named after Charles Rabot, Kebnekaises first climber and Frenchman, who passed the glacier during his historical ascent. In its lower parts it is fairly poor in crevasses, but there are substantial crevasse zones in the upper parts, in particular up towards Firnpasset, the pass across to Passglaciären and Kuopervagge (1550 m). Up to 175 m ice thickness has been measured on Rabots glaciär.


14. Kebnekaisejekna

Kebnekaisejekna (6.91 km2) is my name for the continuos glaciers on the east side of Kebnekaise: Kebnepakteglaciären, Isfallsglaciären, Storglaciären, and Björlings glaciär.

14a. Kebnepakteglaciären

Kebnepakteglaciären from 
SE Kebnepakteglaciären from SE, 10 augusti 1990. (69 kB)

Kebnepakteglaciären (0.77 km2) is the northernmost and smallest part of the complex. It is a cirque glacier streaming down from the east side of Kebnepakte. A glacier pass at some 1585 m leads over to Isfallsglaciären.

Kebnepakteglaciären from 
E Kebnepakteglaciären from E, August 10, 1990. (64 kB)

Kebnepakteglaciären was formerly famous for its large impressive ice-cliff into Tarfalajaure, where it calved off small icebergs. The ice-cliff is gone since many years now however, because of the glacier´s retreat. The ice still reaches into the lake, but just barely.

The lower part of 
Kebnepakteglaciären The lower part of Kebnepakteglaciären, August 10, 1990. (141 kB)

Kebnepakteglaciären is a steep and heavily crevassed glacier, both in the upper and lower parts, with an extensive and savage icefall (larger than Isfallsglaciären´s).

The icefall in 
Kebnepakteglaciären The icefall in Kebnepakteglaciären, August 4, 1995. (47 kB)

However, during the very latest years Kebnepakteglaciären has, like some other glaciers, began to grow again. The icefall is more active than it has been in many years, the fan below has increased its volume substantially, and the front has began advancing somewhat.

14b. Isfallsglaciären

Isfallsglaciären from SE Isfallsglaciären from SE, August 5, 1995. (60 kB)

Isfallsglaciären (1.42 km2) is a steep valley glacier east of Kebnepakte. As its name indicates it has an icefall in the middle part, and the rest of it is pretty crevassed as well. A glacier pass to the north at some 1585 m leads across to Kebnepakteglaciären, and one in south at 1580 m to Storglaciären.

Isfallsglaciären from NE Isfallsglaciären from NE, August 10, 1990. (64 kB)

Isfallsglaciären has large and extensive terminal moraines (ice-cored?), and its bed displays prominent parallell ´striations´ (fluted moraine) On Isfallsglaciären an ice thickness of 210 m has been measured.

The icefall in Isfallsglaciären The icefall in Isfallsglaciären, August 4, 1995. (65 kB)

During the 1970s a small nunatak melted into view in the icefall, but the ice increase has buried it again since. A short medial moraine is the only trace of it left. The increase has also resulted in the front beginning to advance.

14c. Storglaciären

Storglaciären from E Storglaciären from E, August 10, 1990. (50 kB)

Storglaciären (3.29 km2) is a rather large valley glacier right east of Kebnekaise Nordtopp. A glacier pass at 1580 m leads across to Isfallsglaciären from the northern part, and via another in southwest one can get over to Björlings glaciär (1710 m).

Storglaciären from NE Storglaciären from NE, August 5, 1995. (109 kB)

Storglaciären is the main study object for the glaciologists in Tarfala, and has been subject for extensive surveys. The ice thickness at 250 m is the deepest measured in Sweden, and the bed is especially uneven with a row of overdeepened basins. If the ice disappeared at least four rather deep lakes would be formed. Mass balance investigations have been performed every year since 1946, which is the longest continuos measurement series in the world.

Storglaciären from Kebnekaise Sydtopp Storglaciären from Kebnekaise Sydtopp, August 9, 1990. (43 kB)

The lower part of Storglaciären is pretty free of crevasses, but in the upper parts there are extensive crevasse zones. The snout has been practically stable the last 20 years, but if the current climate continues one could expect that it soon begins advancing again.

14d. Björlings glaciär

Björlings glaciär from
Vierramvare Björlings glaciär from Vierramvare, June 19, 1981. (60 kB)

Björlings glaciär (1.43 km2) is a valley glacier with a hanging tongue south of Kebnekaise. It is named after Johan Björling, the 2nd climber of Kebnekaise (who never walked on this glacier, since he took the Western trail). There is a high glacier pass at 1710 m in the northern, upper part. According to performed measurements the ice is up to 225 m thick.

Björlings glaciär from
´Hyllan´ Björlings glaciär from ´Hyllan´, 9 augusti 1990. (50 kB)

The Eastern trail to Kebnekaise Sydtopp stretches across Björlings glaciär, and along it the glacier is fairly free of crevasses, but there is a lot of them on both sides, in the upper as well as the lower parts.


15. Kebnetjåkkajekna

Kebnetjåkkajekna from SW Kebnetjåkkajekna from SW, August 9, 1990. (103 kB)

Kebnetjåkkajekna (0.33 km2) is an ice cap in a depression south of Kebnetjåkka. The Eastern trail passes by the ice, which is virtually crevasse-free.


16. Kitteldalsglaciären

Kitteldalsglaciären (0.06 km2) is a very tiny cirque glacier in the innermost of Kitteldalen.


17. Toppglaciären

Toppglaciären from S Toppglaciären from S, August 9, 1990. (79 kB)

Toppglaciären (0.06 km2), constituting Kebnekaise Sydtopp, at some 2117 m (varying year from year) is a strange creation. It sits like a sugarloaf on the highest of the summit plateau. The ice, being some 45 m thick, earlier in the 20th century was much more extensive, both in height (Sydtoppen has been at least 2130 m) and size. Nuortap Kebnekaisejekna and Årjep Kebnekaisejekna is other rests of the former continuos ice. Toppglaciären is not plotted on the mountain map.


18. Nordtoppsglaciären

Nordtoppsglaciären (0.05 km2) is the summit glacier of Nordtoppen, this one an ice cap too. Currently it doesn´t cover the highest part of the summit, but in the beginning of the 20th century it did, when Nordtoppen one year was measured at 2136 m! (higher than Sydtoppen). The glacier is not plotted on the mountain map.


19. Nuortap Kebnekaisejekna

Nuortap Kebnekaisejekna (0.07 km2) is a small ice cap on the Kebnekaise plateau. It is a rest of the formerly much more extensive Toppglaciären. Årjep Kebnekaisejekna is another rest. The glacier is not plotted on the mountain map.


20. Årjep Kebnekaisejekna

Årjep Kebnekaisejekna (0.22 km2) is an ice cap in a depression in the southwestern part of the Kebnekaise plateau. Previously it was continuos with Toppglaciären and Nuortap Kebnekaisejekna in a much larger ice cap. The glacier is not plotted on the mountain map.


Start page Top
Top of
document
Previous
The glaciers of the
Räita massif
Up
The glaciers of
Kebnekaise
Next
The glaciers of the
Sälka massif
Site map
Site
map
Email
Email the
author
Copyleft
Copyleft
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På svenska
Detta dokument
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Last updated: March 17, 2001 Unless otherwise specified; text, tables, photographs, maps and other graphics © 1999-2001 Gunnar Ljungstrand
Images with size information (xx kB) leads to the corresponding image in 4 x better resolution.