Adventurer of the Week: George's Three Peaks Adventure

13. October 2016 —
Georg
Georg, a traveler from Germany, shares his adventure to Iceland’s three highest peaks, with a trip to the Himalayas lined up. We caught up with Georg and he shared some of his insights about why Iceland is a great alpine mountaineering destination.

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

I really love volcanoes, and I have climbed many volcanoes in New Zealand, Kilimanjaro, Hawaii, Italy and many other places, and so I thought why not try Iceland? It has been on my adventure bucket list for a while. And now I wonder why I haven’t been there earlier.

I have taken long journeys to faraway places like New Zealand, Mt Kilimanjaro,  to now realise that Iceland is something so close by is even more impressive. I love to travel, I love to the adventure travel and I like to experience new places, cultures and food. I love to visit less crowded places and I like volcanoes and mountains: Iceland has it all because I was able to combine alpine experience with volcanoes. 

The plan was to go to the highest peak,  but it was quite a hot summer and so there were too many crevasses, and this is why we had to take the other side of the mountain. This turned out to be for the best and it was a great experience.

Georg

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

We did the Three Peak Challenge over 6 days. Since I love to hike and climb mountains and I love the landscapes of volcanos, so the choice was obvious to pick a tour that combined all of these. Whenever I go somewhere I always try to book via a local company as they should surely know their home country best. This way you not only experience the country but you get some cultural flavour as well. We all really enjoyed our Icelandic guide and the many day and evening talks. Would not do it any other way.

The tour was ideal for me since I was able to get alpine experience: mountains that have ice and snow especially without having to go up to very altitudes. Iceland has more extreme condition at lower altitudes, which means that it is not necessary to go through several days, even up to a week of altitude training acclimatization, before commencing a journey. 

Georg

Iceland has it all because I was able to combine alpine experience with volcanoes.

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

I will always remember the trip to Hrútfjallstindar and the 16 hours it took. Walking on a mountain rim between two big glaciers which run down from 2000m down to sea-level and end up in a glacier lagoon is just such a unique experience. Plus having the view across an endless glacier field of Vatnajökull in front you while you are crossing the ice plateau to reach the peak with many crevasses.  We were so lucky to have such a sunny day to really get the best out of this trip. These sorts of weather condition occur 3 or 4 times a year: we could see for 50 miles and had nearly the complete Vatnajokull ice cap in front of us. 

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

Since we traveled at the same time the European soccer championship took place in France we really could experience how a nation that has a smaller population than the most European cities and surely no big budgets for soccer can really rule the soccer championship and win against some very established great soccer nations.  To see some games in Reykjavik and experience the proud and passion was a very great experience.

Georg

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

Since I had some family- and business-based time restrictions, I could not stay for 2-3 weeks in Iceland. So the plan is to come back for Laugavegur hiking trail and to see the Northern Lights which we couldn’t see during the midnight sun in the middle of summer. The next trip is already in the planning stages for next year.

Iceland is definitely more than just spending a few days in Reykjavik and do the Golden Circle bus tour and the Blue Lagoon.

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

Get out there! Iceland is definitely more than just spending a few days in Reykjavik and do the Golden Circle bus tour and the Blue Lagoon. Do more than this, a lot of the people we met on the plane or in the hotel were doing only this. Im not saying that is not nice, but instead of a stop-and-go bus tour, you should really experience the beautiful countryside of Iceland and take a few longer hikes. Once you leave the parking lot a mile behind or for a few hours, the real Iceland begins. Don't do a tour bus, get some hiking gear ready. It’s not challenging because there is no altitude, and all of the trails are very well maintained.

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure?

It was such a pleasure to do this trip with Icelandic Mountain Guides.

The Himalayas are still a white spot on my adventure bucket list and my dream destination would be Mera Peak, almost 7000m high in altitude. You need at least 10 days for acclimatisation. 

The challenge obviously is that I would need to find a 3-4 week time slot where my family and business can spare me. This is another reason that Iceland is a great place to go to as you have on a very low altitude level a real alpine experience and don’t need those extra weeks for acclimatization.

You can really give a big thank you to your colleagues for doing a great job, it was such a pleasure to do this trip with Icelandic Mountain Guides: its a great team, everything was very easy and very smooth and very enjoyable.

Georg's Three Peak Challenge is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.  

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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