Glacier Hike and Ice Climb in Iceland

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Solheimajokull Glacier Climb Iceland

LOCATION: Solheimajokull Glacier is on the south shore of Iceland.
DURATION: 2.5 hours
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
CALORIES BURNED: About 1000. You burn more calories in the freezing cold, in addition to the altitude.
WHAT’S INVOLVED?: Physically, the glacier climb would’ve been easy. Just like any uphill hike, it will require some effort, but the high winds and freezing temperature made it difficult. The main thing here is to PAY ATTENTION. Glaciers can be dangerous if you don’t have a guide or don’t know what you are doing.
DESCRIPTION: An other-worldy and unique experience, almost like hiking on a different planet.  Imagine black volcanic sand, blue ice caves, and glacial waterfalls.

I need to start by saying, hire a guide if you want to do this for the first time. There are deep crevices in the glacier that can be hidden with snow, and falling into one wouldn’t be a very great way to end your vacation…or your life. Our guide had a long tool that he stuck into the ground to make sure there was land underneath. He also provided us with the necessary equipment: Crampons, which are ice climbing spikes that clamp on to your shoes; and an ice pick. We hired our super awesome guide, Mio, from Arctic Adventures. Another thing that should be mentioned here is that is was FREEZING at first. It is very important to dress as warm as possible. Layer long underwear underneath snow clothes. I wore 2 jackets, one right on top of the other. We experienced extreme gusty winds that made it difficult to walk and breathe, let alone climb up a glacier. I literally felt as if it was me against the elements- and I wasn’t about to let the wind win! I had to wrap my scarf around my face to protect it from the cold. I’d advise people to consider wearing a winter ski mask over your skin. My last bit of advice is to stomp down hard into the ice with your crampons so you don’t slip, and listen to your guide when he says to walk with your feet far apart. Those crampons are sharp and will slice right through your clothing, and your skin, which happened one of my friends on our hike.

 

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