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Iceland ‘Land of ice and fire’

The Land of Fire and Ice

Twid plans to spend a two week period in Iceland this winter ice climbing around the coast and Mountains of this magical island. Ice land has some of the best ice climbing in the world and has many unique climbs starting from the beach. Apart from the amazing climbing the landscape offers stunning scenery and a different experience. Hot springs to bath in, amazing light shows from the Northern lights and a haunting volcanic landscape. Due to the porousity of the rock its possible for many ice routes to rorm up quite readily.Combine this with the cold weather the ice forms in great cascades from October to April. There are huge climbs at all grades and very accessible.  Appart from the great climbing the hot springs and volcanic backdrop make for an interesting holiday.There is good information about the climbs and maps provided at this link. Excellent Rough Guide here.

The climbing
Based on a 1 to 2 ratio the team will climb many of the classic ice routes of the island and possibly the opportunity to make a number of first ascents. Access will be made by car and from the various roads around the island. The climbing can be single or multi pitch in nature. All climbing skills and techniques will be covered during the week. An ideal trip would be to circumnavigate the following areas. All of which Twid has climbed at previously.  Climbing each day in a different venue. Climbing video by Neil Gresham showing potential of area

Múlafjall
Located in the deep end of Hvalfjörður fjord, a 30-45min. drive from Reykjavík, depending on the road conditions, this drive can be dodgy when iced up. From the carpark it is a 15-30min. hike to the routes, 300m elevation. At Múlafjall there is something to satisfy every appetite. Ice routes range from P3-P5, and mixed up to ~M6. There are a couple of multipitch routes, but the majority is single pitched. On a good day out, you should easily meet 10-20 climbers and no one has to race or queue up for a route! All of the most obvious lines have been climbed. There are few mixed lines left unclimbed, but their quality is not very attractive.
Glymsgil
Just a wee bit further in Hvalfjörður, Glymsgil gorge offers fantastic multipitch climbs from P3 up to P5+. The most famous route is the 200m vertical route Glymur Direct P5+, this is Iceland’s highest waterfall. The approach is 20 min. from the carpark to the mouth of the gorge. It is easy to walk in the gorge if the river is frozen, but walk carefully as it tends to ‘eat’ the ice itself. At least two weeks of frost are needed for proper conditions in routes in Glymsgil, because there is a lot of water flowing there. But when the conditions are right the routes can form up as thick ice pillars dominating the gorge.

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Kaldakinn
On the Northern part, about one and a half hour drive from Akureyri, this is the largest town in the region. Driving to Akureyri takes about 4 hours from Reykjavík. Another option is to fly to Akureyri and rent a car there.
Quality routes range from easy up to P5, most are around 200m long. Most of them finish up to a 35°slope which accumulates snow rapidly, so the safest decent is to abseil of a V-thread (Abalakov), a few meters below the top. Again, there is plenty of potential for new routes.
North West Fjords
In 2014 Twid visited this area which is a stunning area fully of deep valleys and Fjords. Theres endless ice climbing road side and Mountain situated. Its a wild place where you are likely to be the only climbers around. Climbing next to the sea is a must.
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Iceland -Ice Climbing Aerial Reel from Chad Copeland on Vimeo.

Area Access Routes Grades Highlights
Mulafjall 20 min 30 WI 2 – 6 Toy Land
Glymsgil 30 min 20 WI 3 – 6 Glymur
Haukadalur 15 min 35 WI 3 – M 9 Brennivin, Helgi’s Thumb
Grundarfjördur 20 min 5 WI 4 – 5 Alien Muffin, Dordingull, Nozzle
Westfjords var. 10 WI 3 – 5 Potential for new routes
Kaldakinn 15 min 30 WI 2 – M 9+ Stekkjastaur, Captain Hook, Seacliff
Hengifoss 1.5 h 1 (5) WI 6+ Marry me?, new potential
Breidalsvik 20 min 1 (5) M 10 Chocolat chaud, new potential
Eastside Paradise 20 min 3 (20) WI 4 – 5 Albatros, just 3 of circa 20 routes climbed
Öraefi var. 20 WI 3 – 6 Nupsstadur
Eyjafjöll 15 min 10 WI 4 – 6 Brightsid

Logistics
Team assembles in Rekjavik. Probably the easiest and cheapest way to arrive to Iceland is via Easy Jet Flights from either Manchester, Edinburgh or Luton. Ideally if everybody flew together from Manchester all fights could arrive and leave on the same day. From the airport you can hire a 4×4 car to use on the journey.
An ideal number for the trip would be 2/3 clients Accommodation can be based in one place then to travel each day or accommodation can be found on the circular journey. I have good contacts for both options and can arange the accommodation to suit. Probably self catering or b and b to keep costs down. Guide will cook on the journey.
Getting to Iceland with easy jet .Flights are under £100 return (september 2013)To allow maximum weekend to weekend Luton offers the best option on both or one of the flights. A car share to the airport or train to Luton may be useful.
Flights are from Edingburgh Monday and Thursday
Flights from Manchester Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Flights from Luton London everyday except Saturday
Cost
Based on two clients. £950 for a 9 day trip pp. This covers the Guides fee,travel to iceland, food.Clients pay for own travel, hire car, fuel and accommodation. Expect another £300.Timetable
Ideally Jan onwards certainly Feb and March are very cheap.
Equipment list for Basic Ice: