Krutåga – More Big Drops in Northern Norway

Another lazy start to the day as we got up around 09:00. We fed our aching bodies with some sustenance to get us going. The plan was to drive down to the Krutåga and paddle that. Again, Tuomas had paddled this one before but not at such a high level.


We arrived at the put-in and the five of us got dressed. The river started from the exit of a lake and the setting was a splendid one indeed. We climbed on and immediately I just knew I wasn’t going to have a good day. I don’t really know why but I just wasn’t feeling good that day, paddling wise. My shoulder was sore again and when we got to the first rapid I had negative visions of myself running it.


The put-in is at the end of a lake.


Mikael on the entry to the first rapid.


Sami lining up for the final drop of the first rapid.


Tuomas dropping in.

The other guys paddled it and no one had any problems going down. I tried to shake the cob webs from my mind and passed the camera on to Juho to get some snaps. Still, I felt strangely nervous, maybe overly nervous but I went for it anyway. My run wasn’t the greatest and you can see how badly I paddle it in the video. What a shocker and it’s rather embarrassing. I made the entry rapid and dropped down the narrow little drop that ended in a kind of a ramp where the boat gets some air before landing in the water again. I made that part but then just after landing I lost my balance and over I went. A quick roll and I was back up again. Idiot I thought to myself.


Mikael getting a little air off of the launch ramp.


Juho on the first rapid also getting a little air.


As does Adrian. Photo by Juho Vaarala.

We paddled up to the next rapid which actually branched off the main flow to the right. We climbed out on the resulting island next to and downstream of the rapid. This proved to make it difficult to run the rapid as one had to make a tricky ferry and then paddle upstream against some fast flowing water. Tuomas and Sami ran the drop and then Juho, Miku and I decided to carry on with the main flow in hope of something better. We ended up getting two smaller rapids which weren’t worthwhile.


Adrian on another rapid. Photo courtesy Tuomas Vaarala.


Sami running a slide on a side channel.


After a few more drops (of the pool drop type) we got to the double drop. It consisted of a small drop of about a metre and then a short pool followed by a roughly three metre high drop. Usually I would have paddled a drop like that but on that day I just couldn’t visualise myself doing it. So I walked around, along with Sami. The walk around proved tough and fairly dangerous too. Once we started dropping down to river level again I decided not to carry on down the hill with my kayak, so while Sami stood in the river below I let my kayak drop down the side of the hill. It pitoned smartly on the nose on impact but a thorough investigation revealed nothing had broken outside or inside. Juho, Mikael and Tuomas ran the drop without any hassles and they were paddling well that day.


Tuomas Vaarala on the double drop.


Mikael Lantto.


Juho Vaarala.


Miku again.


Tuomas again.


A general view onto the double drop.


When it becomes too much to keep going down just toss your boat... Photo courtesy Tuomas Vaarala.


There were a few more tricky and fun rapids that we ran without scouting and then we arrived at the triple drop. Triple drop Tuomas said? Without further consideration Sami and I began walking around on river left. The others tried to scout from the left but could not. They went down and ferried across the river to scout from the right. Sami and I walked for a long time up some steep terrain to try and find a way down to the river. After what felt like an hour we realised we could not get back down. We met up with Mikael again who was eager to get me into a position for photographs and Sami with the video but the steep side didn’t allow a good spot.

Mikael ran the rapid first followed by Juho. Look at the video footage (which will eventually appear here) and then see how big the triple drop is. Tuomas ended up portaging eventually although Sami and I weren’t aware of that as we carried on walking to try and find a way down to the river. Again we could not find a way down and admitted defeat and walked up to the road. It was exhausting work to cruise around some steep hills with a creek boat on your shoulder while busting a path through some thick bush.


A view of the triple drop. The first drop is maybe two metres or more and then goes directly into a much bigger one and then the final one is about four to five metres high. Photo courtesy Tuomas Vaarala.


Tuomas far below us...


The view from above the triple drop. VERY steep sides made it impossible to get back down again.


Mikael Lantto on the big and scary triple drop.


Another interesting rapid!


That ended the trip for Sami and I while the other three carried on. It was just about two kilometres worth of river anyway that we missed and considering the shocking state of my paddling that day I wasn’t too fazed about calling it a day.

Just above the take-out was a monstrous slide that Mikael almost ran but decided against it after careful consideration. It’s just as well as I’m not sure he would have survived that one. We watched from a distance as they ran the rapid below and that was that. Another river, another day.


The final rapid with the huge slide in the background. It's waiting for a first descent... Better hurry before Mikael and Juho go back at a slightly higher level when the right line might just work....


Juho looking back as Mikael runs the final rapid.


A saw mill on the way back to the camp.


The small and twisty road that led us back to our camp for the last time.

We hit some shops afterwards and it was a pleasure to get some new snacks and what not in the system. Shopping was always interesting as all the labels are in Norwegian and of course this makes getting the finer things challenging. From there we headed back to camp to chill and cook up a meal. Initially there was no rain but then the wind picked up and the weather looked like it was taking a turn for the worse. Oh well, what else could I do but to climb into the tent and rest my weary body from the days’ paddling, and walking…





Photography by: Adrian Tregoning, unless otherwise stated.

Words by: Adrian Tregoning.


Next article: Unkerelva, Northern Norway