Category: trip planning

backpackingblogThe White and Green Ribbontrip planningultralight

1300 km over the Swedish Mountains. Torkel Ideström gives us the facts about the The White and Green Ribbon

In 1997, The swedish newsmagazine Expressen noticed a rather unusual achievement. An achievement that later founded the idea for which became Fjällfararna’s White & Green Ribbon.  During the expedition “Sweden Around -97”, Torkel and Annica Ideström made their own way around the country’s borders. The tour started at Treriksröset, with skis to Grövelsjön, and then switched to cycling to Svinesundsbron for the start of the Blue ribbon of the Sea paddles (HBB). In Haparanda, the mode of travel was again changed to bicycle to close the circle at Treriksröset. Since HBB has been an accepted challenge for many years, Torkel and Annika felt natural to manifest an equivalent challange for the mountain range. Then with two different variants, one each for winter and summer respectively. The White and Green Robbon was founded.

Today, the Ideström couple live in a house in the small mountain village Östra Vålådalen in Jämtland. From here they now run the White and Green Ribbon and annually inspire more and more people to go on long expeditions. It feels natural to start our series of articles about the White and Green Ribbon here, meeting the adventurer behind the adventure; Torkel Ideström:

Torkel Ideström

What’s the White and Green Ribbon (WGR)?

 -The idea behind the ribbons is that you can make your own way from Grövelsjön in the south to Treriksröset in the north, or vice versa, a distance of about 1300 km through our Scandinavian mountain chain. The journey shall be carried out without a long stop and without outside assistance. The tour can be carried out all year round. The color of the bands indicates the season in which the tour was conducted. We try to draw attention to the fact that all hikers should respect and consider the environment, nature and culture they travel through. It’s an approach when you’re going to execute the band.

Are there any rules?

 It is important to point out that WGR is not a competition. There are no times that you have to keep as long as the tour is carried out in a succession, without breaks. In order to avoid excessively strict rules, there are no restrictions on modes of travel, except that you should pass west of a number of places (see map below) and that you are not allowed to travel motorized. The use of dogs, kite, is allowed but will be registered as such variant. This is so that certain comparisons can be made and that it is also easier to draw experience from a particular mode of travel.

Can anyone do it?

-The challenge requires both physical and mental strength, as well as a healthy “public conscience” and safety mindset. At the same time, it is up to each mountaineer to complete the tour entirely based on their own circumstances, which means that those who complete the tour get a fantastic experience for the rest of their lives. Our youngest participant who has passed the band is 11 years old and the oldest is 73 years old. However, the severity should not be underestimated.

Tell us about the 2021 season?

-It has been a fantastic year, when many people chose to stay in Sweden because of the pandemic. Provided the perfect opportunity to complete a real adventure and a great experience at home. Admittedly a bit messy with accommodation in cottages and crossings across borders on, but which most people still took with peace. An adaptation on our VGB’s part was to approve Abisko as a start or finish place, as the possibility of reaching Treriksröset was considered too tough as you could not enter either Finland or Norway. For 2022, however, order has been restored. The Treriksröset is and remains our outpost to the north.

What does the future look like?

-One of the goals has been to establish The Ribbons as a real outdoor classic, which it has really become. Interest in long-distance tours looks to be growing steadily and is just right in time for a sustainable transition. The great adventure is on our own home mountains. Long all-inclusive flights don’t have to be our biggest dream. In order to further facilitate the Bands and strengthen the local, Svante Sundelin at VGB’s assignment has made a large compilation of so-called ” verified pit stops” that will be posted on the Banden website shortly. We have also headhunted Sara Wänseth, former CEO of SOG (Swedish Outdoor Group). First and foremost, she will now be project manager for FJÄLLTRÄFFEN in Grövelsjön this spring. More information will be provided about the ;). Sara’s going to “just” ski her White Band this winter, too. We have been telling you for some time that we are going to introduce the possibility of making the Bands in STAGES. The idea now is also that it will be in RELAY form. Well, it might be a little while. The technical challenge, and therefore the economic challenge of putting this into a functional platform, is not small. So work is underway to find funding and as soon as we solve it, the initiative starts.


Do you have any tips for those who are going to walk the green ribbon?


Do your homework! This is an expedition, so prepare by finding out the facts, gaining experience and training. Then the mental preparation also comes along, which is crucial if you are to succeed. 
 
· Think about the importance of weight! The tour is about. 1,300 km and approx. 20,000 meters in height. Weight makes a difference. Do what you can with the budget you have. Since this year we have a collaboration with Backpackinglight.se that fits as a hand in the glove. Relevant lightweight equipment and professional know-how needed to implement in a fun, safe and responsible manner. 
 
·  Have air in the schedule for spontaneous whims. A meeting might be well worth spending extra time on. Many have made a friend for life or met their love during their turn.
 
· Thoughtful depots are good, but not always necessary. It is possible to shop along the way and thus support local shops. This also opens up to change your luck in the meantime, as you are not locked to certain depots.
 
·  Let the body get used to it. Add shorter day lengths at the beginning. Most people who break do it in the first part. Healing out an overwork during the tour rarely succeeds. The body’s hardness increases over time, as does the ability to absorb food.
 
·  A couple of bonus tips – dishcloth to condensation in the tent and a “quick” (light, sound-dried) towel is great!

And to those who are going to take turns the white ribbon?

-(The above, the tips for the Green Ribbon, of course also apply to the White Ribbon)

-Bring a retaining wax. Do not only trust your skins, in case of strong cold they can let go. A green cold wax can also keep the clatter away from the skis when nothing else helps.

Moisture barrier in the boots. Thin wool or synthetic stocking closest to the foot, then (ordinary) freezer bag, over it a warmer wool sock. Most often it is the moisture from the inside that soaks down the boots – and wet, icy boots in the morning are no hit. Alternatively, boots with loose lining e.g. Lundhags Guide Expedition, where you can change.

-Thin hooded windbreaker. Then the shell jacket can mostly be in the sled. Protection of the face. Find a good system of goggles and face mask that doesn’t leave the nose or cheekbones alone. In addition to the obvious danger of ostracized, when this works well you become less stressed.

Fun Facts about the WGR

RECORD YEAR 2021 In the current year 2021, the following “Band record” has been broken:

Number of notifications GR: 93 pcs (approx. 60 pcs 2020)  

Number of GR completed: 71 pcs (40 pcs 2020)

Fastest on foot:  Simon Österlin La Mont, 22 days (21 days 7 hours and 38 minutes. 6.5 hours faster than previous record) Gröv-Treriksröset.  

Fastest cycling/running: Jörgen Johansson, 16 days, Grövelsjön-Abisko.

Youngest:  Karl Nordborg, 11 years old (with his father), 65 days, Grövelsjön-Treriksröset  

Farthest: Peter Bergström 63 years, 76 days, Gröv-Trer-Gröv. 1,500 miles. – “yo-yo hike”  

Most GR: Peter Bergström, total – with this summer’s “yo-yo” – 5 times Gröna Band.  

Most Bands:  Lina Hallebratt, 7 times (6 Vita, 1 Green, of which 2 pcs in winter 2021’s yo-yo expedition). Lina has twice been named ADVENTURER OF THE YEAR for her tours of the White and Green Ribbon.

Lina Hallebratt has most bands, six white and one green.

Number of nationalities of approved “Bandare”: Germany, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Greenland, USA, Austria, France, Sweden.

Completely a total of 265 approved Green Bands have now been implemented (in 2011-2021), of which 38% were women and 62% men, aged 11 to approx. 73 years old. For the White Ribbon the corresponding statistics are 81 approved bands (2010-2021), of which 32% are women and 68% are men. Of the notifications received to Green Ribbon is estimated approx. 65-70% complete the tour in its entirety and the mountainfarer has received his diploma. The corresponding figure for the White Ribbon is slightly lower and is about 60–65%.  

Recommended gear

At Backpackinglight.se you ca read more about recommended lightweight and robust gear that will hold through out the long hike. What has been used before and so on. Also, all future participants on WGR get a rebate code if they need to upgrade some gear. Have a look here

Booking, more info

For more information about the WGR, please visit their webbpage: https://www.vitagronabandet.se/en-GB

/Marcus Falck

backpackingplanningsarektrip planningultralight backpacking

Planning for a walk across Sarek

It’s time for me to start committing to this years (2017!?!) trips.. While I have a couple of smaller 4-5 day trips coming up, winter adventure and a week in the USA. The big trip coming up for me this year is a trek across, perhaps zig zagging through Sarek here in northern Sweden above the arctic circle. Often called Europes last wilderness area… Don’t know if that is true but in any case I really love hiking these northern regions of Sweden.

I like to buy my tickets early to wherever I plan on hiking. In this case I plan on buying my tickets during the week. By doing this I am mentally committing to a trip. Most the time if somebody wants to join along, its no problem to buy tickets for them later on. It also gives me something to look forward to.

 

DSC07830

When

I am looking at making this trek towards the end of July and through the beginning of August. I will be leaving Stockholm on the 27th of July and ending around the 7th or 8th of august. I am choosing these dates more for logistical reasons than anything else – I have a wedding to attend in Umeå (northern Sweden) on August 12th and I suspect my wife would prefer I joined her for that wedding. Coming late July also has the added benefit of being a littler drier… hopefully. This area is known for being wet, cold and it’s not usual to be snowing even in August.

Getting there:

I will be starting by Stora Sjöfallet – the northern section of Sarek national park. I was originally planning on starting in Ritsem but decided to save that for another trip. So my planning is a little ”spartan” at the moment as the official timetable isn’t released yet. But it’s all good, I’m fairly confident in my knowledge of Sweden and getting around. I will be flying into Gällivare with Nextjet.se from Stockholm and arrive at around 11.45. The bus line 93 to Stora Sjöfallet goes once a day at 8.55 in the morning. That means a night in Gällivare which gives me time to walk into town and buy Gas or Alcohol for my stove depending on which I bring. No matter if I decide to change my start to Ritsem or not, it’s the same plans and bus so I can still buy my plane ticket to Gällivare and book my hotel for the night.

How far:

I am looking at being away 9-13 days, I want to keep flexibility as an option as I don’t really feel like walking 40 kilometers a day. This trip I plan to keep my mileage rather small, somewhere between 10-20 a day as I want to make time to zig zag, climb mountains, take photos and cook nice meals. A slow, lovely walk through Europes last wild land. Total I am looking at moving about 100 -130 kilometers during this trip. It really depends on where I decide to start.

Where to start:

I want to walk north to south. No real reason for this, but I guess it’s a psychological thing. In either case I will start in either Stora sjöfallet or Ritsem. The bus line is the same 93 from Gällivare. I either hop of the bus at Stora sjöfallet at 11.00 or at Ritsem 13.05. It’s really a case of how long I want to sit on a bus and what I want to see. The important part is making all the preparations around.

Bus line 93 from Gällivare timetable http://www.ltnbd.se/tidtabeller/31/0/

The Trek:

While still unclear exactly where I want to start, I do know where I want to finish. Kvikkjokk in the southern part of Sarek national park. I also know that the bus from Kvikkjokk leaves once a day at 9.00 in the morning. But perhaps this will change as we start getting closer.

In any case my preliminary trek looks something like this starting in Stora sjöfallet (on the right) or Ritsem on the left.

Here with a start in Store sjöfallet

And ending in Kvikkjokk

This particular trek is about 110 kilometers. If I start in Ritsem and cross over my trek will be about 130 kilometers. While this could easily be done in just a few days, I really have no rush here.

Getting home

To be honest I don’t stress too much about getting home. With my trek ending in Kvikkjokk I know there is one bus that leaves everyday at 9.00 in the morning from the kvikkjokk church. Though this could change and maybe there will be another bus later in the day during the high season.

The actual timetable http://www.ltnbd.se/timetables/61/0/ – bus line 47 to Jokkmokk or 94 to Murjek train station and from there I will be taking the train to Umeå.

5.20 for bus 47 to Jokkmokk or 9.00 to Murjek…

Gear and supplies

10 days of food and gas/alcohol. I like to eat three times a day and have snacks in between. I don’t mind cold breakfast but I will still boil water for coffee. My food usually averages 650-750 grams a day for everything. One small gas canister should be adequate, but I will bring two as I plan on doing some proper meal cooking for a book project I’m working on.

Full preliminary gear list:

Item Ounces Grams
Packing
Hmg Sidewinder 4400 34.2 970
Red 2l Pack Bag 0.7 21
Red 4l Pack Bag 0.9 25
Green Pack Sack 4l 1.1 30
Shelter
Hilleberg Enan 38  1100
Ti Tent Pegs 3.5 98
Sleep
Thermarest Pump 2.6 73
Montbell Ul Pillow 2.6 73
Enlightened Equipment Quilt 22.9 650
Xlite Thermarest 15.6 443
Cooking
Sea To Summit Long Spoon Ti 0.4 12
Sawyer Water Filter W/ Bag 3.4 96
Jetboil Ti Sol 8.6 245
Clothing
Mld Waterproof Gloves 1.6 46
Haglofs Green Wind Jacket 2.3 65
Headnet 0.9 26
As Tucas Red Beanie 1.8 52
Grey Patagontia Shirt 4.8 137
Haglifs Lim Puffy Jacket 6.7 191
Wp 200g Pants 6.1 174
Ula Silnylon Rain Skirt 3.1 87
Patagonia Alpine Rain Shell 6.4 181
Other
Murla Knife 0.7 20
Ul Teeth Care 3.1 89
Iphone 6s Plus Ink Case 9.9 282
13000 Battery Pack 12.3 348
First Aid Kit 3.1 89
Usb Cables 0.8 24
Ul Tripod 3.1 88
Thermarest Repair Kit 0.5 14
Msr Towel 1.2 35
Delorme Inreach (rent) 7.1 200
Fuji X-t1 Body 16.1 456
Fuji 18-55 11 311
Fuji Samyang 12mm 10.4 294
Fuji Battery 1.6 46
Fuji Battery 1.6 46
Fuji Battery 1.6 46
Worn
Aklima Hoody Wool 13.3 377
As Lucas Ul Pants 2.3 64
Haglofs Grey Zip Hiking Pants 10.8 307
Bd Distance Carbon Sticks Pair 12.8 363
Merrell Allout Terra Trail Shoes Pair 23.5 665
Suunto Ambit 2.8 78
Fleece Mittens Bula 2.5 70
Consumables
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Toilet Papper 5.3 150
Coffee 3.5 100
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Food For A Day 26.5 750
Butane Cannister Small 7.1 202
Butane Cannister Small 7.1 202
Total ex consumables 253.1 7183
Total 514.6 14587

As you can see it’s a bit heavier than my normal trips. There are different reasons for this – one is a heavier camera. Two, a heavier backpack as I plan to use the HMG Sidewinder 4400 and a lot more food. Also a different tent. But in all honesty, the weight difference on the whole is minimal.

An example of this is my MLD Duomid. If we look past the size and comfort ratio we can compare the actual weight gained and or saved

MLD Duomid with stuff sack 753grams
Tyveks Groundsheet 130grams

No innertent. Total weight savings comes out to about 200 grams if I bring my Duomid instead of Enan.

Where I lose the most weight in on my backpack, going with full rain gear instead of just a poncho/groundsheet and bringing my full camera gear instead of the sony RX100. I could of course change my mind on any of these choices by the time I take off…

15894562_1636878956606718_2471117077046148580_n

Want to join me?

Drop me a line – you see the plans, times and dates here and if your coming from outside of Sweden I can help with a bit of the planning as well. I always love backpacking with like minded adventurers. I will be carrying a little heavier gear as I am working on a few book projects, so I won’t be crushing 40 kilometers a day and instead around 15-20 with a few day treks to mountain tops to take photographs.

 

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