FKT: Louis-Philippe Loncke - Kungsleden (Sweden) - 2021-08-25

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
18d 9h 0m 0s

Hi, first the links: My Inreach page (with previous expeditions as well) and I'll update my site with more data in the coming days. As you can see I started from Hemavan. I made this South to North decision for 3 reasons:

  1. Be "trained" and fit to attempt the highest summit of Sweden (sidetrip) Kebnekaise (I did the old summit South (until 2019, ice is melting) and the new highest summit North at 2097m (since 2019, rock doesn't melt so it will remain the highest summit)
  2. Arriving in Abisko allows for public transport connections to the Lofoten (no time) or to Kiruna/Lulea for visits (had 3 days of rest there after the expedition)
  3. Getting the packraft out on the 2nd half of the journey to avoid packing/repacking my pack while still heavy.

I started with 31 kgs including 3 liters of water (too much, water doesn't need to be carry you find some every 1-4 hours max) and 12,5 kg of food. My packraft is the Kokopeilli Rogue with T-zip and Spraydeck. I had a small usb charged pump that helps to pump 90% of the air in it without using the inflatable bag or pipe.

So, what was my "unsupported" definition here:

  • The Kungsleden has boardwalk and bridges, they are part of the Kungsleden trail so like everyone else, I used them.
  • I always slept in my tent. I never even entered a Swedish tourist hut.
  • I carried all my food and equipment from the start (Hemavan). I never dropped equipment underway nor giving it to a backup team, I was alone.
  • I carried all my batteries so didn't rely on charging elsewhere. I had a goalzero venture 30 + another batterypack + 5 gopro batteries. Never used my smartphone for navigation, just a few photos on facebook fan page or call my parents once when I had 4G.
  • I packrafted all the 7 lakes (7 official crossings).
  • I walked the (boring) bus route, the route that 99,9% of the hikers use with a bus ride.

This is to me the most unsupported way to do this Kungsleden. I only accepted some weather advise but seriously, if someone tells you it's going to rain... well you'll see it coming. Also most of the time the weather advice was wrong. A hiker told me it's gonna rain, it didn't and reversely: good weather for 3 days and it rained in the afternoon.

In my time I was slowed down by 5 decisions:

  1. climbing Kebnekaise with my Kahtoola microspikes. (5h30 up, 4h down) Worth it as I had perfect weather/ice conditions.
  2. Mount Skierfe (great views) with 2h up and 1h40 down (fast with a 3kgs daypack)
  3. 36h without moving as injured. I tore the muscle of my left calf. No idea how, it just happened going down on a gentle slope with rocks. I was perhaps planning to abandon if getting worse or not able to walk but after the rest, the pain remained but I could walk and feel the injury not getting worse. I only felt another "torn" at the same location on the calf after a long day before the Kebnekaise, that day my aim was to get very close to a camp site near the unmarked sidetrip West of Kebnekaise (no route but some cairns to help navigation)
  4. Film myself for a documentary. I had 2 GoPros and some mounts.
  5. For the 6th crossing, the wind was too strong, I had no drysuit so attempting the crossing was too dangerous (see anemometer, it reached an average of 10m/s + 14 m/s gusts) No drysuit, pushed from the course would have been stupid. Dying was veru likely to happen. Waiting was the key and part of the possible slow downs of a speed record.

So it is clearly possible to do faster. Luck (weather) is important but someone who is more trained (my injury) and less equipment (i had a bit much) and eating less could do it in 10-14 days with very long days to progress. A lighter packraft and paddle would help. I'm sure someone can bring the weight down to 20kgs. I had a lot of bandages and stuff in my pharmacy that I didn't use like suncream. I had no repellent, i August to mosquitoes were annoying at times but that was rare.

Some links:

All Links about Louis-Philippe LonkePress, Photos for the press, About me, Social Media Links and Projects, Newsletters, Adventure CV