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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 Sulitelma massif

The Sulitelma massif from Årjep Saulo The Sulitelma massif from Årjep Saulo, August 6, 1996. (65 kB)

The Sulitelma massif is an extensive high mountain massif, half of which lies in Swedish territory. The area lies between Sårjåsjaure and Pieskehaure, the border with Norway and Kailavagge-the Varvek basin. The highest peak on the Swedish side is Svenska Stortoppen (1875 m). The Swedish part contains 4 or 6 glaciers (depending on how you count), several of which is very large.

Table over the glaciers of the Sulitelma massif with basic data

# Name Type Area (km2) Length (km) Lowest point (m) Highest point (m) Height difference (m)
1. Västra Stortoppsglaciären Ice cap 0.29 0.6 1425 1710 205
2. Östra Stortoppsglaciären Cirque glacier 0.88 1.5 1190 1775 585
3. Stuorrajekna Glacier complex 12.07 5.0 1075 1665 590
3a. of which Westmans glaciär Ice cap 0.85 1.0 1125 1590 465
3b. of which Stuorrajekna Ice cap 9.74 5.2 1075 1665 590
3c. of which Mietjerjekna Ice cap 1.45 2.6 1180 1570 390
4. Salajekna Valley glacier 10.54+ 7.3 850 1710 860
Total 23.78+

Plus sign after area value means that the glacier is larger, and that part of it lies in Norway. The number indicates the area on Swedish territory.


1. Västra Stortoppsglaciären

Västra Stortoppsglaciären (0.29 km2) is a small ice cap on the north side of Svenska Stortoppen. It is not plotted on the mountain map.


2. Östra Stortoppsglaciären

Östra 
Stortoppsglaciären from S Östra Stortoppsglaciären from S, August 1, 1996. (63 kB)

Östra Stortoppsglaciären (0.88 km2) is a pretty large cirque glacier north of Svenska Stortoppen.

The icefall in Östra 
Stortoppsglaciären The icefall in Östra Stortoppsglaciären, August 1, 1996. (65 kB)

It is rather steep and heavily crevassed, and has even a small icefall.


3. Stuorrajekna

Stuorrajekna from SE Stuorrajekna from SE, August 5, 1991. (106 kB)

Stuorrajekna (12.07 km2) is a glacier complex with three parts, the largest part of which is the actual Stuorrajekna. The others are Mietjerjekna and Westmans glaciär.

3a. Westmans glaciär

Westmans glaciär from SE Westmans glaciär from SE, August 5, 1991. (67 kB)

Westmans glaciär (0.85 km2) is a steep ice cap on the eastern slope of Lullevare (the ca 1655 m high peak 2.5 km E of Svenska Stortoppen). It is not plotted on the mountain map, which is surprising considering this one is not any border case by any means. I have named it after J. Westman, who in 1897 performed glaciological surveys in the neighborhood, and who also plotted the glacier on his map. A glacier pass at 1370 m leads to Stuorrajekna.

Westmans glaciär from E Westmans glaciär from E, July 31, 1996. (51 kB)

I noted the ice as early as in 1991, but then I did not pass close enough to be certain. In 1996 I passed right by it however. It is possible that the glacier could have been gone (or just dead ice/large snowpack) before, and that it has reformed during the latest years. There are some to indicate this; e.g. the ice has become substantially thicker between the years -91 and -96. The glacier reaches all the way down into the lake.

The icefall in Westmans glaciär The icefall in Westmans glaciär, July 31, 1996. (78 kB)

The glacier is fairly crevassed, and has a savage icefall, where some ice masses evidently tumbles down.

Dead ice next to Westmans 
glaciär Dead ice next to Westmans glaciär, July 31, 1996. (87 kB)

In the southern part of Westmans glaciär there is a vertical ice wall some 20 m high, where ice probably sometimes falls down. Beneath there are several large snow fields/dead ice packs, which if the growth continues soon will become real glaciers as well.

Map over Westmans glaciär with 
surroundings Map over Westmans glaciär with surroundings. (259 kB)

The map drawn by the author (larger snow fields shown here as well).


3b. Stuorrajekna

Stuorrajekna“s snout from E Stuorrajekna“s snout from E, August 1, 1996. (161 kB)

Stuorrajekna (9.74 km2) is a large ice cap that lies in a shallow depression to the SE of Svenska Stortoppen. Glacier passes lead to Westmans glaciär (1370 m) and Mietjerjekna (1205 m). Through a pass at 1530 m you can come to Östra Stortoppsglaciären and the north side of Sulitelma.

Stuorrajekna“s snout from S Stuorrajekna“s snout from S, August 7, 1991. (266 kB)

Stuorrajekna is a glacier rather poor in crevasses, but they exist - in particular in the middle parts. The former icefall down on the snout is melted away since many years.

3c. Mietjerjekna

Mietjerjekna from N Mietjerjekna from N, August 1, 1996. (97 kB)

Mietjerjekna (1.45 km2) is an ice cap that slides down between Kaskavare (peak 1607) and Mietjerpakte. It seems to be relatively free of crevasses, except in the upper parts. From its snout it is possible to climb down to Salajekna.


4. Salajekna

Salajekna from SE Salajekna from SE, August 8, 1991. (258 kB)

Salajekna (10.54+ km2) is a mighty valley glacier in the Sulitelma massif, and constitutes the main share of the ice there. The Swedish part is to be sure "only" just over 10 km2, but including the Norwegian part the area reaches 21.20 km2. The ice flows down from two accumulation areas; one large between Svenska Stortoppen and Suliskongen, and another even larger west of the latter. These two ice streams merge and form a massive glacier tongue, the likes of which can not be found in Sweden.

Salajekna from NE Salajekna from NE, August 1, 1996. (78 kB)

The upper part of Salajekna is a vast snow-covered basin, from which it is possible to get west or north through a number of glacier passes. Between Vaknatjåkkå and Stortoppen (1390 m), between Stortoppen and Knekten (1450 m), between Knekten and peak 1781 (1570 m), and finally between the latter nameless peak and Suliskongen (1575 m). The Norwegian Salajekna is continuos with a number of other Norwegian glaciers, such as Vaknajekna, Tjeurajekna, Vardetoppsbreen, Kokedalsbreen, Damabreen, and Kongsbreen.

The icefall and ice cliff of Salajekna The icefall and ice cliff of Salajekna, August 8, 1991. (131 kB)

The name of the glacier means "the crevassed ice", and it lives up to its name, at least in the lower parts. The glacier tongue is rather crevassed, particularly the western part which floats towards the ice cliff in Salajaure. Where the ice pours over a precipice there is a substantial icefall as well.

The ice cliff of Salajekna The ice cliff of Salajekna, August 8, 1991. (91 kB)

Previously during the century Salajekna covered the entirety of the 2 km long lake, called Salajaure by me, which now exists west of the snout. The glacier calves actively in the ice lake with a 600 m long and 10 m high ice cliff.

Moulin on Salajekna Moulin on Salajekna, August 8, 1991. (58 kB)

The snout of Salajekna also displays many other surface forms, like for instance swarms of moulins.

Salajekna from W Salajekna from W, August 8, 1991. (41 kB)

Start page Top
Top of
document
Previous
The glaciers of the
Ålmajalos massif
Up
The glaciers of
Sulitelma
Next
The glaciers of the
Jeknaffo massif
Site map
Site
map
Email
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author
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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.