In the heart of Europe's greatest glacial playground, take your glacier adventure to the next level!
This trip gives you the opportunity to go further and really explore the glacier by combining glacier hiking with Ice climbing. The Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier is one of the most impressive icefalls coming from the Vatnajökull icecap. It is a unique and beautiful environment, both rugged and raw with stunning blue ice and ever changing ice formations. Not only will you be exploring this extraordinary landscape, you will also have the chance to conquer gravity by climbing some of the glaciers many walls of ice. Our step-by-step approach ensures professional instruction in the form and technical aspects of ice climbing. There is no prior experience necessary, only a sense of adventure.
~ 4 hours
Meet on location
- Tour highlights
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Svínafellsjökull Glacier
- Glacier Hike
- Ice Climbing
- Guided Glacier Hike
- Introduction to Ice Climbing
- Certified Glacier Guide
- All Necessary Glacier Hike & Ice Climbing Gear
We will meet at Glacier Guide’s Skaftafell booking center, 30 minutes prior departure time.
All our trips start from our base by the visitors center in Skaftafell National Park, and we will provide you with all of the appropriate gear including crampons, harness, helmet and ice axes. After taking a short drive to the glacier, we will gear up on crampons, making our way past unique ice formations to a wall of ice where we will set up safety lines. Exploring the outlet glaciers from Vatnajökull is truly an amazing experience, this is a safe and fun introduction into the exhilarating world of glacier ice and is sure to be a trip you will never forget!
Remember to bring: Warm outdoor clothing, waterproof jacket & pants, headwear, and gloves. Good hiking shoes are recommended.
What if I don’t own all of these clothing necessaries?
Don’t worry, you can always rent sturdy hiking shoes, waterproof jacket, and pants in the booking process. We do not rent gear from location.
Departure from Glacier Guide’s Skaftafell booking center (gray house with the turf roof next to the Vatnajökull national park visitor center). Skaftafell is located 327km (203 miles) from Reykjavík. The nearest towns to Skaftafell are Kirkjubæjarklaustur, 69km to the west and Höfn, 130km to the east. Our tours leave promptly at the departure time and no refund will be provided if you are late. Please print and complete the medical disclaimer form included with your booking voucher before arrival in Skaftafell. If you cannot print the voucher, the form must be completed upon arrival in Skaftafell.
The main difference between these trips is that they take you to different locations on the glacier and also the duration on the ice.
The Glacier Explorer (5.5 hours) trip spends approximately 3 hours on the ice, exploring the magnificent icefall on Svínafellsjökull. This tour has a ratio of 12:1 clients per guide.
The Glacier Wonders (3.5 hours) trip explores the lower section of the Svínafellsjökull glacier. You will spend approximately 1 hour on the ice, giving you a fantastic but brief encounter to the highlights of the Svínafellsjökull glacier and crevassed area.This tour has a ratio of 12:1 clients per guide.
The Glacier Xtreme (7 hours) is the ice climbing tour that operates from May – September only. This tour takes place in the same area as the Glacier Explorer tour – the upper area of the Svínafellsjökull glacier. On average the group will climb 2-4 climbs depending on the ability of the groups.
Both trips start about 15 min driving away from our Skaftafell base camp. After the drive, we continue on foot following the retreat of the glacier for about 25-30 minutes where we set foot on the ice. Once there the 3.5-hour walkers spend their time exploring the features of the lower glacier and seeing spectacular views of the icefall and crevasses area. The 5.5-hour walkers explore the glacier more thoroughly and experience majestic pinnacles and deep crevasses. Both trips sometimes come across spectacular ice-caves but due to the nature of glaciers, this is not always the case.
The 5.5-hour walk requires a higher level of fitness and agility as you will be on your feet for a longer period of time and the terrain is more challenging.
Skaftafell is located about 330 kilometers from Reykjavík. See map for directions.
Iceland is known for colorful weather. It can sometimes show you all 4 seasons in one day.
Dressing for this sort of weather can be a challenge so we always recommend to dress in layers. Dress is 3 or 4 upper layers such as a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleece or heavy wool garment, topped off with a waterproof wind-breaker. Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet. Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are best and then wind/waterproof pants over. We also recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy due to the high UV and sunlight reflection off of the glacier.
You will need sturdy hiking boots that fit crampons for the glacier hiking tours. If you do not own a pair then we rent out good hiking boots as well as a waterproof raincoat and trousers.
We recommend bringing your own backpack on our full day or 1/2 day tours. It’s great to carry a small lunch or some extra clothing.
You can bring you camera along, and you should definitely bring one since the setting on the tour is full of amazing, scenic views.
This is, of course, a personal choice, we have often had pregnant women on our trips. We recommend you take a close look at our trip description and difficulty rating, they will hopefully give you a better idea. It is also good to contact your physician, pregnant women’s health can be quite different. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or concerns.
We do not provide lunch on any of our trips, so we recommend you bring your own lunch (for the longer trips), snacks and a bottle of water (you can refill it on the trip).
Crampons are metal spikes that we attach to the soles of your hiking shoes, these enable you to walk on the glacier ice without slipping.
Yes, there is a specially trained and certified glacier guide on each trip glacier tour we offer.
All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Arctic Adventures does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realize that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.