Matteo's 100 Challenge: The 4 Month Update

19. February 2017
Shape Matteo Meucci

It’s hard to believe, but Matteo’s 100 Challenge is 4 months old! Time has really flown. In that time, Matteo has made remarkable progress during a year in which , honestly, has barely seen anything like the winter conditions that we in Iceland are accustomed to. In this “non-winter”, we asked Matteo for update about how things were going. 

We were pretty impressed. He had this say.

How is it going, Matteo?

Shape Matteo Meucci
Matteo climbing up the frozen waterfall

M100C is not going as I thought it would. I'm a bit late in the plan; I have completed 32 routes and at least 6 of them are first ascents. I'm happy about what I have achieved so far, but it may not be enough. I'll keep on going. In the end, we will see.

Unfortunately, I picked the worst year, the warmest winter in decades; a lot of rain, little snow and lack of cold except for a few days. Conditions had been growing for few days and then a warm front came in; this brought all the ice crashing down, and this has happened for several times this winter.

It was going to be a Red Christmas in Rvk (no snow in town) and The Icelandic Alpine Club (ISALP) had to cancel the traditional Christmas Climb as well as  the Ice-climbing festival in the East fjords (in that weekend we had 16°C close by Egilstadir when it should have been -16°C)

Shape Matteo Meucci
Gear encrusted with ice

What was your favorite route?

My favorite climb was the first we did. It was also a first ascent and was on the tallest mountain of Iceland. Hvannadalshnukur and with 2 of my best friends in Iceland. We made a small expedition over 2 days; we climbed the line on the first day and we were planning to do more on the following day, but the forecasted storm hit the mountain earlier the we thought and we have to walk back in the morning. Definitely a solid mission.

Shape Matteo Meucci

Any close calls?

One of the worst days, after 2-3 days of searching for the right conditions, Thorstein and I went in Mulafjall and we tried to climb despite of the 6-7°C. On the first route, I was close by the crux and I moved a big rock with my axes and fell down, I tried to catch it but was too big. Luckily, it didn't cut the rope and Thorstein was on a safe spot, so everything went well. We went down after that. After few minutes we moved to another route, harder and safer but I didn't ascend. Not such a productive day!

Shape Matteo Meucci
Long lines long climbs

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The challenge so far has been to find conditions, something that could work and sometimes it was a challenge to find a climbing partner. People were seeing that there was no ice and few were motivated in join me. There was a lack of enthusiasm for ice climbing. Probably the worst winter, if we can say this is winter, since I moved to Iceland.

Shape Matteo Meucci

Stay tuned

We are immensely proud of Matteo and his achievements in these adverse conditions, and the 100 Challenge goes on! We haven’t even gotten to the running part yet! Stay tuned for more on our Facebook and Instagram;  the next update is coming in 2 months: this will be6 months and the half way point of the challenge!

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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