During this activity tour you will take a hike among the ice sculptures and crevasses of Sólheimajökull glacial tongue in the Hekla area under the safe instructions of an expert glacier guide. You'll be totally immersed in the magnificent scenery and experience the power of the living glacier. It's a pretty easy to moderate walk and you’ll have real ice crampons attached to your hiking shoes. Iceland is the type of place that could make you feel small and fragile, even powerless at times, while you lose yourself in its nature and truly astonishing scenery. So let's have intimate encounter so you can truly feel and understand the strongest shaping force on earth - glaciers.
We start early morning by picking you up at your accommodation in Reykjavík. The tour takes us along the south coast, past Eyjafjallajökull glacier - and on to our base.
Before we start the glacier hike we have to put our gear on. For a safe and comfortable experience it’s essential to have the correct footwear for glacier hiking. If you have rented a pair of hiking boots from us, we’ll have them ready for you. We also provide ice crampons for everyone and teach you how to attach them to your boots. Crampons make it easier and safer to walk on the ice so you needn’t worry about slipping. We’ll also provide additional security equipment such as helmets and ice axes. Our route goes over amazing terrain with crevasses, sink holes and ice ridges.
The Sólheimajökull glacier tongue is a branch of the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier that covers about 600 km 2 . Below the glacier lies the volcano Katla , one of the biggest volcanoes in Iceland. The ice here is around 1,000 years old. Unlike many might think, glaciers are made of fallen snow and not frozen water.
Of course, you might ask yourself how does the snow turn into ice then? It happens simply by compression due to the weight of the snow as it keeps accumulating over time. Imagine taking a handful of fluffy snow and squeezing it with your hand into a hard snowball, then keep doing this for hundreds of years. The ice will eventually become so compressed that most of the air will be forced out of it. This is also what gives glacial its intense blue colour.
Glaciers are not static, they are rivers of ice that keep flowing and moving all the time. That's due to the fact that the highly compressed layers of ice are very flexible. At some places where a glacier flows rapidly, giant cracks (crevasses) are formed in it. This is the reason why it can be so risky to walk on a glacier as the crevasses are sometimes covered by snow and hard to notice. And of course this is also the reason why it’s so important to follow your guide’s instructions for your own safety and that of others in your group. During the hike your guide might point with the ice axe some spots that look like solid ice or snow to the untrained eye but are in fact a steep gap that just covered in a light dusting of snow.
After the glacier walk we will head back to Reykjavík. On the return we make a stop at the magnificent waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.
Difficulty: No special skills are required. The tour can be enjoyed by people in generally good health.
Minimum age requirement: 10 years