Ski Mountaineering Ascent of Iceland´s Highest Peak
Experienced mountain guide with AIMG Alpine Trekking Guide qualification
for 2-6 clients
Glacier safety gear, first aid kit GPS,emergency radio carried by your guide
23 km (11.5 each way)
2000 m climb
This is a challenging trip only suitable for experienced ski mountaineers with their own skiing gear and with good outdoor clothing. The rewards are breathtaking views on a good day and an unforgettable glacier journey and skiing experience on any day.
We usually start from the main road at an altitude of 100 meters and in about 7-8 hours we climb 2000 vertical meters and 11 km distance to the top of Hvannadalshnúkur. Then it takes about 3 hours to get back down so this is a full day trip.
We don't mix clients on this tour so if you go with us, there will be no other clients with us. Most of the route to Hvannadalshnúkur is in steepness below 30°. The last 900 meters of the route, up the peak itself, have some 40° steepness and for a few meters even 45°. We will put the ski crampons under the skis at the base of the peak and go all the way to the top of Hvannadalshnúkur on our skis if conditions are good but if the conditions are icy, (of if skiing skills are not for 40°) we will leave the skis at the base and rope up, on crampons and with ice axe in hand.
Your guide will be Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson, the most experienced Hvannadalshnúkur mountain guide in the world. He has now been 324 times on the top of Hvannadalshnúkur (as of April 2023). Einar is the first mountain guide in Iceland to offer daily glacier, ski mountaineering and ice climbing tours, as well as being the first to offer daily ice cave tours. He started to offer glacier walks, ice climbing, ski guiding and guidance to Iceland's highest peak in spring 1994.
Einar has the qualification as Alpine Trekking Guide (Fjallgönguleiðsögumaður) from AIMG (ASSOCIATION OF ICELANDIC MOUNTAIN GUIDES. See his info on AIMG web site.
Equipment list for Hvannadalshnúkur
You have to bring:
- Warm mountaineering clothing
- Backpack with a strap system for mountain gear.
- Sunglasses and sunblock
- Food and drinks
- Skiing equipment (ski crampons strongly recommended)
- Crampons, ice axe, harness (we can rent if needed)
- Avalanche beacon + probe and shovel (we have couple of sets to rent)
We do not have ski gear for rent, but the outdoor shop Fjallakofinn.is in Reykjavík is renting out gear. See Fjallakofinn.is web page about renting gear. Might be outdated, but you can send them email at email@example.com
It is essential for your own comfort and safety that you have suitable clothing.
Cotton is a poor insulator when wet, therefore you should not wear cotton garments next to the skin and especially not jeans.
Body layering system for temperature control, thermal top+ fleece or woolen mid layer+ fleece/down/wool jacket+ wind and waterproof jacket.
LEGS hiking trousers or thermal leggings + wind and waterproof outer layer.
FEET High hiking socks or woolen socks for ski boots. No cotton socks!
HANDS Gloves + wind/waterproof mittens.
HEAD Woollen/fleece hat + jacket hood.
FACE Ski mask or balaclava or buff or similar to cover the nose and face in the worst conditions. Ski goggles are good to add to the protection.
About the backpack:
Must be big enough to carry an ice axe, crampons, food, drink, and most of your outer layers of clothing when you are too hot! About 40-liter pack is normally good. Arrange the contents so that you can use the rucksack as a seat in the snow and put everything that must not get wet in plastic bags. We often need to put skis on the pack at the beginning of the trip.
Food and drink:
Important to have enough to drink! I take 2 litres myself but I'm pretty small and I know that some big persons that are not in the best shape would easily like to drink 3 litres if the day is hot.
I recommend to start with hot water in all bottles, also the cold drinks. Cold drinks freeze more quickly on the trip if the conditions are cold. If you have water, use hot from the tab. If you have an energy drink that is in a bootle already, do not keep it in the freezer the nigth before the trip, and even keep it close to the heat source in your room.
Not too much food! Snacking is more important than a big picnic. I find it hard to eat many bread sandwiches when cold and tired. I take for example 1 sandwich (that I eat in the first picnic stop + hot meal that I have in a food thermos + several breakfast bars or mix of dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate.
Hot tea or chocolate in a 750 mm thermos and then about 1 1/2 litre cold drink (depends on how big you are). Or 500 ml thermos or 1 litre thermos, and then more or less cold drinks to make it up to around 2-3 liters total.