Play run (canyon with tunnel): Sweden, Lapland, Abisko, Abiskojokk river, Abiskojokk Canyon
What's it like
This is a grade IV river canyon with tight corners initially with a fast flowing current of about 25cumec. It has an open, unobstructed tunnel (grade V) of about 4m wide and 20m long dropping about 5m, where the river flows through, about halfway through the canyon. There are sufficient eddies to get out upstream of the tunnel, but this will have to be planned before you get on the water. After the tunnel the canyon deepens but the river is wider with grade III/IV open rapids. There are a few play spots en route where you'll be able to get some air.
The water is fed by snow melts in the nearby mountains, therefor the best time of year to paddle here are from June to early July (possibly even April/May).
Dangers include sharp canyon walls with undercuts on the outside of corners. There were no tree blocks, syphons or strainers present at the time of my visit. Safety setups with throw ropes should be fairly easy because the banks are steady and easily accessible.
Entrance to the canyon. Put in here:
Looking upstream to the canyon entrance:
Second section of canyon just after narrow entrance section:
Third section of canyon. Note the sqaure columns on river left in distance. You'll want to get out not far after them if you don't want to do the tunnel:
Last narrow section before the tunnel. Get out just after this:
Steady up. This is the calmness before the storm:
Get out here if you don't want to shoot the tunnel !!!
Only for the brave:
Steep gradient of tunnel:
Some nasty waves just before the tunnel:
SUPER adrenalin rush! The river freezes in winter and you can walk through here:
Fallout of tunnel. Beware of undercut on river left:
Canyon below the tunnel:
Teke out just after this bridge (photo looking upstream):
Off limits to go further downstream:
How to get there
Take the E10 west from Kiruna in Swedish Lapland. Drive for about 90 km (past the little town Abisko) to the Abisko Tourist Station. When you find the tourist station on your right, there will be a gravel road on your left which you need to take. Continue towards the cable car station. 300m after the turn off you will come to a bridge where you can park the car.
The put in is 500m upstream on river right. Take-out is 500m downstream just after a pedestrian bridge, on river right. It is also possible to take out 50m upstream of the bridge on river right if you don't want to shoot the tunnel. Put in again just after the tunnel on river right. There are good footpaths on river right which are easily accessible.
The idea is to stop here on the left, just before crossing the bridge. This photo is from the main road passing the site. If you see this, then you have to bactrack 400m and take the gravel road on your left:
Pathways on river right:
http://www.abisko.nu/sommar07/englishpages/index.asp for info on accomodation, a restaurant and a basic shop. There is a supermarket at the town Abisko, 2km to the east.
The river delta about 800m downstream of the tunnel is off limits in the summer season as it is a protected bird breading area.
No permits are required to access the National Park, but one needs to adhere to some basic rules found on a notice board at the Kungsluden walking trail entrance, 200m from the river tunnel on the gravel road.
The typical people that you would meet here are hikers and curious spectator tourists. The staff and mountain guides of the tourist station are very helpfull and can speak English well.
P.O. Box 15824
Nearest weather station (°C):