The East ridge of Kaskasapakte is the one that links Kaskasapakte to Kaskasatjåkka (2076 m), via Lillietoppen. In terms of difficulty, this route is slightly easier, but more importantly shorter than the Southwest ridge, especially if basecamp is at Tarfala hut. In addition to being the easiest way up, it is also a common descent route for parties coming up the SW or SE ridges.
Getting to the Route
It is possible for fit parties to start from Kebnekaise Fjällstation, but Tarfala hut is much more convenient. To further shorten the approach, it is possible to pitch a tent at Svarta Sjön (the lake in the pass between Kaskasapakte and Kebnepakte).
From Tarfala hut, there are two options.
1) Walk around the lake and follow the subtle path up the moraine ridge next to the Kebnepakte glacier. After gaining the plateau, turn right and aim for the right hand side of the south-eastern Kaskasapakte glacier. Follow the right hand edge of the glacier up to the snow filled cleft. Where to cross the snow depends on current conditions, but sooner or later you will want to be on the rock separating the snow tongue from the glacier. From here, find the easiest way up to the ridge proper.
2) Walk around the lake and up the snowfield between Lillietoppen and Kaskasatjåkka. Continue over Lillietoppen (beware of cornices) and you're on the eastern end of the ridge.
Once on the ridge, head west along the ridge itself. The south side of the ridge is typically a moderate slope, sometimes with boulders or loose rock on it, whereas the north side is very steep. The route generally stays on the ridge itself, and any deviations will be fairly obvious.
There are two notches in the ridge. The eastern notch is quite thrilling, while the western notch marks the beginning of the 'climbing' section of the route.
The eastern notch is about 1.5 m wide and 3 m deep, with a significant amount of air to the north. The eastern side is about 1 m higher than the western side, which means that it is impractical to step over it; one has to jump. The exposure may make it feel daunting, but the landing is good and it is possible to belay the jump from either side. In descent, the eastern notch presents little difficulty; just lean over it to good handholds, step across to ledges in the eastern wall, pull in and mantle.
The western notch is slightly wider and has a much higher western side, which is conveniently climbed in 2 pitches using rappel slings for belay stations, staying slightly to the left of the ridge proper.
After this, continue along the ridge or a few meters to the left of it, as you see fit. After crossing some snow, another short bit of steeper terrain needs to be negotiated. Then along the ridge again to another snow covered section. Ascend this, and then climb/scramble to the summit.
On your way up, do make sure to take note of where there are slings in place for rappels on the descent.
For a somewhat bold person on a good day, no gear is necessary to ascend this route. Descent without gear is supposedly possible over the western face of the mountain, but it is unpleasant with plenty of rock fall; not recommended. Descent by the E ridge requires a few rappels, and thus a rope. There are slings around boulders at less than 25 m intervals, and it may be difficult to find other suitable anchors without leaving gear, so bring a 50 m rope (or 2x25 m) for the descent.
For those who'd rather grow old than be bold, I'd recommend bringing:
- 4 to 8 cams, from small fingertips to hands
- possibly a few nuts, about the same range
- rap tat for 2-5 stations
- crampons and/or one ice axe per person, depending on snow conditions