Fjällräven Classic Sweden
Plane, on foot
Camera and drone
There is a word in Swedish that perfectly describes the mystery and enchantment that unites all the great mountain lovers. This word is “Bergtagen”.
Its origins are ancient and wrapped in myth. They tell the legend of curious trolls who lived in the caves of the mountains and kidnapped lonely travelers. The bravest and most fortunate who managed to escape were still destined to return to their villages almost as if under a spell, now changed forever. This is why “Bergtagen” was pronounced to warn explorers and walkers against the dangers of the mountain. Today the legend has given way to new interpretations and “Bergtagen” is often used in Swedish to describe the obsession of those who love to be surrounded by nature. I’ve been back from the mountains of Sweden for several weeks now and I have to admit that maybe some trolls still exist…
Last August I was invited, together with my partner and friend Luigi, to take part in the media delegation that reached the participants of the 2019 edition of Fjällräven Classic Sweden. It is one of the largest and most famous trekking events in the world, which brings together over 2,000 walkers each year to travel 110 km in the heart of Swedish Lapland. Participants are adults and children of all ages. Suffice it to say that this year the oldest was 80 years old and the smallest only 1 and a half years old.
Thanks to the Allemansrätten, the Swedish right of access to public and private areas for recreational activities or physical exercise, participants can camp anywhere during the night.
They can also choose the pace they prefer. Alone, or in company. The only rule in force is to leave the natural environment as it was found. Indeed, the Classic is a Håll Sverige rent certified ecological event (also known as the “Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation”).
Luigi and I had the honor of covering the last kilometers of the journey together with the participants and for the occasion we were also called to take part in a truly unique product test. The goal was to try the new leaders of the Fjällräven high altitude line, which is not by chance called Bergtagen and is developed with the collaboration of the Swedish Alpine Guides. To do this, we reached one of the main glaciers in the area, the Goduglaciären. We climbed it to reach 2000 meters of altitude. A breathtaking spectacle. It was touching to experience the suffering of the glacier first hand. Knowing that in less than 20 years it will disappear made us think a lot.
What do I take home from this experience? The belief that, in terms of trekking culture, Sweden has so much to teach us. That outdoor companies can and must make concrete efforts to find solutions to minimize the impact of production processes, and increase the durability of their products as much as possible. That Fjällräven this commitment puts it into practice seriously and already for several years. That there is no bad weather, there is rather the wrong equipment. And finally, when walking in the Swedish mountains it is good to be careful, because there are certain dangerous trolls, capable of kidnapping lonely walkers and changing them forever.