Words from Einar, founder and manager of Öræfaferðir
My name is Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson and I manage the travel service FromCoastToMountains (In Icelandic the company is called “ÖRÆFAFERÐIR - frá fjöru til fjalla (Frá fjöru til fjalla means From Coast To Mountains).
We live on the farm Hofsnes in the county Öræfi, but Öræfi has been the residence of my family since the settlement of Iceland around the year 900 AD.
I’m proud of my great grandfather Páll Jónsson in Svínafell who in 1891 was the first person in the world to climb Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, when he and Þorlákur Þorláksson, also from Svínafell in Öræfi, guided the British traveller Frederick W. Howell to the top. My great grandfather Páll went at least couple of times to the top of Hvannadalshnúkur after this, for example guiding the Danish soldiers that made maps of Iceland around 1904. I would say that this makes my great grandfather the first proper mountain guide in Iceland :-)
It were also my relatives who were the first to climb to the main top crater in 1800 meters altituide of the volcano Oraefajokull as early as 1794 (guiding Sveinn Pálsson, and 1813 guiding Hans Frisak from Norway).
Of course I’m also very proud of my father. My father Sigurður Bjarnason started to do a bird watching and history trip to Ingólfshöfði in 1990, when he gave up sheep farming and found a new use for his hay cart. In the spring 1994 I started to guide people up to the top of Iceland's highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. Now I have been 317 times on the top of Hvannadalshnúkur which is a world record.
Since 2000 when I married Matthildur Unnur Þorsteinsdóttir (or Matta) she and me have been doing more and more of the trips to Ingólfshöfði, and at the same time my father was retiring. He was born 1932 so he deserved to take it easy. He passed away on 17th of January 2020.
I'm actually the oldest (in working years) mountain guide of the country. I'm born in 1968, but I started to offer mountain guiding in spring 1994 (wich makes my company the oldest mountain guiding company in the country :-)
And of course I'm extra proud of Matta's oldest son Aron Franklín Jónsson (born 1991) how was helping me and Matta doing the trips for several years and his fiancée Helen María Björnsdóttir has also been doing the trips with us since fall 2013. Now Aron and Helen have founded a younger branch of the family company called Local Guide of Vatnajökull.
It gives me great joy to witness last few years to see my sons Ísak and Matthías also taking more and more part in doing our tours. No pressure; they can follow their own path, but me and Matta have been careful to build up the company in a way that allows one or both of them to follow in our footsteps and build up their life here at the family farm Hofsnes. As my father Sigurður Bjarnason did for me.