About the tour
Hvannadalshnjúkur is a magnificent place, this expedition takes you to the highest peak in Iceland and on the biggest glacier in Europe. Hiking up to the peak is not a technical climb but it requires good stamina.
We’ll meet up the day before the hike to make sure you know what the summit day is going to be like. Our guides will also go over how the glacier gear works. We also want to know your experience in mountains to set the starting time right. If you are beginner we start earlier so we can do this on a nice pace, but if you are a good hiker and used to mountaineering we can start later in the morning, the main purpose is to be on the summit around 13:00 a clock (1pm).
The trip starts early in the morning, our guides will meet you at Sandfell (Sand hill) which is the beginning of the hike. The first part is a steep gravel hill that take us from 20 meters up to 700m. The good thing about this first hill is that you can refill your water bottle in a spring around 500 meters, so you don’t need to bring a lot of water for the first 1-2 hours, this is also a nice place to grab some snack.
We will continue on gravel, rocks and snow up to 1100m. This place is called Skerið or (the reef) at this point we put on harnesses and rope up for the hills ahead. This is another good place to eat and drink something so it’s nice to stop and take in the nature and view the area.
Next part we will go from 1100m up to 1800m that is a long snow hill and will lead us to the plateau of Öræfajökull glacier. On a clear day the view can be beautiful in this area so it’s nice to break up this hill with some stops to drink and take some photos. The main danger on this part are crevasses, that our guides will navigate through.
When we get to the plateau it’s a perfect place to have some lunch and enjoy the view and the achievements of the morning. After lunch we start to cross the plateau to the summit itself. The peak rise about 200m above the plateau. We make a short break below the summit and put on crampons this is the final push to the summit of the highest peak in Iceland. On clear days the view from the top is stunning, you can see Hrútfellstindar, Þumall and part of Vatnajökull ice cap.
Next we’ll hike back down the same way, this will not take as long as the hike up but we will move slowly due to tired muscles and we still have rope between us. After Skerið (the reef) we can move a lot faster back to the car.
It‘s nice to take 3 days to do this hike,
Day 1: Drive to Skaftafell
Day 2: Summit day 10-14 hours
Day 3: Sleep, recover and drive back. We don’t recommend to drive back to Reykjavík the same day as the hike is.
Duration / Walking: 10 – 14 hour
Level of difficulty: 4/5
Age Min: 13 years
Pax: min 2pax – max 6pax
Time of year: Summer
Pick up: not available
Meet on location: You can meet us in Skaftafell national park next to the information center, car with North Ice logo on it, you can also meet us at Hotel Skaftafell.
Meeting time: 06:00
- Glacier gear
- Ice axe
- Local Glacier guide
- Warm cloths:
- Rain gear pants & jacket
- Down or primaloft jacket ( can be nice on lunch brake)
- Good hiking shoes
- Hat & gloves
- 20-30L backpack
- Food & water for the day
- Hiking poles (not required)
You can rent some of this gear from us if you don‘t have it.
About the weather in Iceland
Weather in Iceland can change fast so if the weather is not good for this hike day we may have to cancel this trip or we can move the hike to the next day if that is better.