Glacier Climbing in Iceland

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Iceland is a country for explorers, and there are dozens of adventure activities to try. You can go scuba diving between tectonic plates, hike inside volcanos, snowmobile on glaciers, mountain bike, and more.

I wanted to spend one of our days in Iceland doing something more adventurous, and we chose glacier climbing. We picked glacier climbing, because it seemed like a once in a lifetime adventure.

We booked our tour with Mountain Guides, a company which takes small groups on adventure tours. We were picked up at 8:30am, hopped into a van, and were driven about 2 ½ hours from Reykjavik to the glacier, stopping to admire Iceland’s gorgeous landscape along the way.

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We stopped for a photo by these snow covered mountains. Remember in Mighty Ducks when the teacher explains that Greenland is mostly ice and Iceland is mostly green? It’s true. Iceland has a lush green landscape, and it’s beautiful.

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Once we arrived at the glacier, we suited up in harnesses and crampons. The crampons went on over our hiking boots and made it easy to walk on the icy glacier. They also have spikes in the front that are used to pierce the ice for climbing.

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Glacier climbing is much more challenging than I had anticipated. And keep in mind that in the weeks leading up to the Iceland trip I had hiked volcanos in Costa Rica and gone canyoneering in Utah. I felt like I was in shape and ready for this physical challenge, but it required all of the strength I had.

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The good thing about the glacier tour, is that a climbing is optional. Some people on our tour chose to skip the climb and to just hike the glacier instead. Some of the climbs can be scaled – which was perfect. The first climb was really tough, so after that I did a shorter one. (Watch the video at the beginning of this post to see me climb).

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You might have noticed the black dirt on the glacier (and on my face), it’s volcanic ash. The ash is frozen in the glacier and as the glacier melts piles of volcanic ash form.

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We stopped at two waterfalls on our way back to Reykjavik after the climb. The first was  Skógafoss, a massive waterfall carved into the rocky green landscape.

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If you want to get an up close look at Iceland’s waterfalls, wear rain gear since there is enough water mist coming up to completely soak you.

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The second waterfall was Seljalandsfoss – both are right on the way back to Reykjavik and definitely worth the brief stop for a photo op. You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss (again, make sure you have rain gear).

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Once we got back to Reykjavik we needed to warm up, and soup was exactly what we wanted. We stopped at Noodle Station, in downtown Reykjavik and had feasted on big bowls of noodle soup, which warmed us up from the inside.

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This was also one of the most affordable meals had in Iceland. It’s an expensive city, and finding good food, and finding affordable food isn’t the easiest task.

Next week I will be finishing up my recaps of our Iceland trip by telling you all about the Golden Circle, a road trip adventure to many of Iceland’s natural wonders.

In case you are curious, I really love my Keen Koven hiking boots. They served me well for canyoneering and glacier climbing.

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  • This is so gorgeous! Definitely on my bucket list!
    -Kate // http://www.classyandkate.com

  • We absolutely loved Iceland and walked on a glacier but didn’t climb although I did wonder what it would be like! Your story has now given me a real insight so thank you for sharing your adventure with us 🙂 #WeekendWanderlust

    • It was really fun – so glad we did it!

  • This makes me jealous! We went all the way to Perito Moreno, but couldn’t trek over the glacier becuz we had a 4 year old ! 🙁

    #WeekendWanderlust

  • I would like to do something like this. I am sure it is an unforgettable experience. I mean if you are going to visit a place full of glaciers, you better climb one!

  • budgetjan

    Looks amazing. We climbed on a glacier in N.Z. and it was pretty cool. 🙂

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