Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition - EXPI51

Cross the mighty Vatnajökull Glacier

Tour type: Cross-Country skiing tour with pulka/sleds




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Adult: 480000

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What's included: Guide/s, food for 9 days, exciting super-jeep transport, cabin fees, tents, cooking gear, pulkas/sledges.

Departures: 10.04 - 18.04.2018 & 08.05 - 16.05.2018

Duration: 9 days

Accommodation: Tents, huts and guesthouse

Pick up: Participants are picked up early in the morning and dropped off at their accommodation in Reykjavik in the end of the tour

Group size: Max 6 participants per guide

Language: English

Walking per day: 7-9 hours

Note: There is a meeting with the guide the day before departure to go over the equipment and travel details

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Grímsvötn volcano area
    • Crossing Europe‘s largest ice cap
    • Mávabyggðir and Esjufjöll mountains

    Nine-Day Cross Country ski Tour with Pulkas / Sleds across the mighty Vatnajökull Glacier.

    Crossing the mighty Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier*, is a worthy task indeed and something that no outdoors enthusiast should miss.

    The giant Vatnajökull glacier hides a number of active volcanoes. One of the highlights of this adventure is to reach Grímsvötn volcano at the heart of this massive ice field. After that we head a cross the glacier plateu, towards Hermannaskarð pass in the direction of Öræfajökull where Iceland‘s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m) is located. The peaks on the south side of the ice cap will seem to grow in size as we get further south. In Hermannaskarð pass we head east, down past Mávabyggðir mountain range and to the spectacular Esjufjöll mountains. The descent from the glacier the last day is down Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, the one that feeds the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

    On this glacier traverse the conditions are often similar to those of the arctic. Even in spring we could find ourselves in demanding terrain and weather. Accommodation is in tents and huts.

    The Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition is a great adventure for those who like to experience a short but oh so real expedition with the challenges that follow. Vatnajökull is also the perfect training ground for those who plan on future arctic expeditions since it has many of the elements of the arctic. Even for seasoned expeditionists, the largest glacier in Europe is simply a must do.

    * Largest by volume, second largest by area.

    Please note that we recommend that passengers arrive in Iceland two days prior to departure. 

    Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition

    Cross country skiing: Eight days
    Walking/Skiing per day: 7-9 hours
    Total distance: 110-130 km (68-81 miles)
    Altitude: 850-2110 m. (2790-6923 feet)
    Maximum ascent: 750 m. (2460 feet)
    Group size: Max 6 participants per guide
    Level of difficulty: Demanding to strenuous

    Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition: Expedition Manual

    Included: Guide for 9 days, one for groups up to 6 participants and two for groups from 7-12 participants. Food for 9 days (from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 9), exciting super-jeep transport from Reykjavík to snow line on the glacier, cabin fees, tents, cooking gear, pulkas/sleds, sleeping bag accommodation the last night and transportation from Skaftafell to Reykjavík.

    Note: There is a preparation meeting with the guide in the morning of the day before departure. Therefore passengers should arrive in Iceland two days prior to departure.

    Meeting point: Participants are picked up at their accommodation location in Reykjavík before the preparation meeting  (day 0) and brought back later in the day. In the morning of day 1 participants are picked up early morning and dropped off at accommodation location in Reykjavík at the end of the tour on day 9.

    We can assist you with finding accommodation druing your days in Reykjavík before and after the tour.

    Please contact us via

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 0: Preparation meeting with the guide – Day before departure
    Morning meeting with the guide where he will inspect the gear each expedition member has brought and introduce the itinerary. If something is missing, ski equipment has to be rented or something else has to be arranged, there is time for that during this day.

    Day 1: Reykjavík – Jökulheimar
    Pick up from accommodation early morning (time decided the day before) and transfer to Jökulheimar on the west side of the glacier. A super-jeep takes us from Reykjavík and up to snow line on the glacier, where we start the walk in the afternoon. First night in tents.

    Days 2 and 3: Ascent to Grímsvötn
    We continue the ascent of the main glacier up to the vast plains of the Vatnajökull icecap. In the afternoon of day 3, our destination is in sight as we arrive to the Grímsvötn caldera near the center of the icecap. Second night in tents but the third in the comfortable Grímsvötn hut.

    Day 4: Grímsvötn Caldera
    This day is devoted to the exploration of the magnificent volcanic caldera of Grímsvötn. This is a highly active volcanic area with frequent eruptions in the last century, the last one in 2011. The Grímsvötn caldera is actually a complex of calderas and the effects of the geothermal heat continuously melt the glacier ice to create a sub glacial caldera lake. We spend another night in the comfortable Grímsvötn hut.

    Days 5 to 6: Traversing to the ice cap towards Öræfajökull glacier
    After Grímsvötn we following the glacier ridge southwards to the direction of Öræfajökull, aiming for Hermannaskarð pass. Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m) and other peaks will seem to grow in size as we get further south. Nights in tents.

    Day 7: Hermannaskarð pass to Esjufjöll mountains
    The past night has been spent either in Hermannaskarð pass or a bit further east under Mávabyggðir mountain range. We break camp and start our very so pleasant downwards cruise down to Esjufjöll Mountains. The day is not too long and the skiing less intense than the previous days so we might have time and energy to explore Esjufjöll a bit in the afternoon. Night in Esjufjöll hut.

    Day 8: From Esjufjöll down Breiðamerkurjökull glacier
    The last leg of our journey is slightly downwards. There is no real rush in the morning and we can really enjoy the magnificent area with all the mountains, crevasse fields (safe distance away) and glacier moraines around. Last night is in a sleeping bag accommodation, in or close to Skaftafell.

    Day 9: Return to Reykjavík
    We will be taken back to Reykjavík (private ride) in the morning of day 9 after a good night’s sleep and a breakfast. If, because of weather or other reasons, we can´t descend until day 9, we head back to Reykjavík in the evening.

  • Map

For availability and more information about this tour please contact us.