Oceans, Valleys and Peaks - IMG55

Tour type: Alpine ski touring from hut to hut

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 295.000

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What's included: Guide/s, food for 6 days, all transportation and accommodation

Departures: March and April

Duration: 6 days, 5 nights

Accommodation: Mountain huts, hostel

Meeting point: Reykjavík domestic airport

Group size: 6 to 12 participants

Language: English

Skiing per day: 5 - 8 hours

Note: Participants are picked up at their accommodation before the tour starts in Reykjavik and dropped off at their accommodation in Reykjavik at the end of the tour

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Alpine ski touring from hut to hut
    • One of our favorite alpine touring ski areas
    • Pure wilderness feeling

    Alpine touring skiing in Eyjafjörður

    The mountain massif between the Skjálfandaflói bay and the Eyjafjörður fjord is one of the greatest areas for alpine touring in Iceland. The massif is cut into three mountain ridges by two walleys from north to south with peaks rising on each side up to 1200 meters (4000 feet) over sea level. This makes each day‘s skiing ideal in length and guarantees very nice skiing down to the huts we stay in during the tour. This ski tour takes us from the east part of the massif across to the west, staying in small basic but warm mountain huts on the way, enjoying one the best skiing possible on Iceland’s north coast.

    Total distance: 63 kilometers (40 miles)
    Walking/Skiing per day: 5 - 8 hours
    Altitude: 250 - 1500 meters (850 - 5000 feet)
    Maximum ascent: 1100 meters (3600 feet)

    Included in price: Flights to/from Akureyri, guide for 6 days for groups up to 8 participants and assistant guide for groups from 9 - 12 participants, food for 6 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 6)(except dinner on day 1), all transportation during the 6 days, 4 nights in mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation, 1 night in hostel in Akureyri.

    Please note: You can add a pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Reykjavík at the beginning/end of the tour for 4.400 ISK.

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavík -Kinnarfjöll

    Early pick up from accommodation at 8:00. Flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri. Warm up by a around 4-6 hours touring in the mountains close to Akureyri. At the end of the day we check our selfs in at one of the hostels, and head our for dinner (not included).
    Skiing: 4-6 hours. Ascent: 800m (2000ft) - Descent: 800m (2000ft)

    Day 2: Kotárhnúkur- Heiðarhús

    Crossing of the Kinnarfjöll mountains, passing the valley Kotadalur and the 1211m (3973f) high Kotárhnúkur. We then descent into the wide Flateyjardalur to the Heiðarhús hut where we pass the night.
    Skiing: 5-7 hours . Ascent: 1500m (4900f) - Descent: 1400m (4500f)

    Day 3: Skálavíkurhnúkur

    With skins on we climb the ridges of the Skálavíkurhnúkur peak. From the top there is a fantastic view over the Skjálfandi bay and the row of peaks to the north. Beautiful descent to the same hut where we stay for a second night.
    Skiing: 5 to 8 hours Ascent/descent: 1000m (3280f)

    Day 4: Lambaskálar – Gil

    From our hut we climb the slopes towards the peaks of Lambaskálar 980m high (3210f). We pass north of the peaks, climbing them if conditions allow. We then ski down the steep slopes of Lambárstykki, towards the hut at Gil where we stay for the night. 
    Skiing: 5 to 7 hours Ascent/descent: 900m (2950f) 

    Day 5: Gil

    From the hut Gil we will move north, down the valley and towards the ocean. There are plenty of options to choose from as we start climbing – endless slopes and bowls. We set our day up with a few climbs and runs that by the time we have had our fill, leave us with one final run ending at the hut. This last night is spent in Gil.
    Skiing: 5 to 7 hours Ascent/descent: 900m (2950f)

    Day 6: Þröskuldur – Kaldbakur - Akureyri

    Climb from the hut at Gil to the col at Þröskuldur and from there up the ridge to the summit of Kaldbakur 1160m (3800f). From there a magnificent descent towards the village Grenivík and the Eyjafjörður fjord. Close to the village we get picked up and drive to Akureyri airport for our flight back to Reykjavik.
    Skiing: 5 - 7 hours Ascent: 1060m (3480f) - Descent: 1160m (3800f)

    *Please note that the itineraries described can change. Final decision on which routes will be skied each day is in the hands of the guide, and is based on snow conditions, avalanche danger etc. There are abundant possibilities for skiing in the area.

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  • Equipment List

    Ski Mountaineering / Alpine Touring

    Ski touring:

    • Touring skis (AT – Telemark – Split-board)
    • Ski boots
    • Skins, cut for the skis, in good working conditions.
    • Ski-crampons
    • Ski poles
    • Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel
    • Small first AID kit including a blister kit
    • Ski socks
    • Warm underwear / wool or synthetics
    • Pants, e.g soft-shell
    • Light fleece jacket
    • Soft-shell jacket or other wind proof and breathable layer.
    • Waterproof jacket and pants.
    • Light puffy jacket (e.g. down or primaloft).
    • Ski-goggles.
    • Sunglasses
    • Warm hat.
    • Water bottle / thermos (1 – 2 liters total).
    • Gloves – two pairs thin and thick
    • Sun block, lip balm etc.
    • Back-pack with straps for skis (30 – 40 liters)
    • Ski helmet (optional)
    • Ski strap
    • Favorite sweets / energy bars (optional)

    Ski-mountaineering tours (e.g. Hvannadalshnukur climbs). The mountaineering equipment is included in the IMG trips on most occasions when needed.

    • Harness
    • Crampons
    • Ice-axe

    Overnight gear: The style of accommodations varies between different IMG tours. Consider the following:

    • Comfortable clothes for indoor use and non-skiing activities.
    • Toiletries
    • Any medication
    • Sleeping bag – (most tours in Greenland / IMG 55)
    • Bathing gear (most tours in Iceland)
    • Aperitif or likewise (optional)

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  • Gear Lexicon

    Alpine Ski Touring

    What is Alpine Ski Touring?

    Alpine Ski Touring is the activity of climbing mountains on ski gear that can be converted from a walk (uphill) mode to a down hill mode. The objective of the climb is both the enjoyment of the uphill movement and the thrill of the downhill skiing.  
    Most IMG Alpine Ski Tours are based off accommodation in guest houses or hotels. It is also possible to have tours that travel from Hut-to-Hut (IMG 55).  In all cases only daypacks are carried.  Participants are expected to be capable of skiing in most snow conditions and be reasonably fit for uphill travel.  This gear lexicon deals with tours based in guesthouses and hotels. 


    Jacket with a good hood (wind and waterproof)

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    ME Manaslu

    A good “hard-shell” jacket with a large protective hood. Gore-Tex membrane or similar to keep you dry. Make sure it is not too tight and that you can fit insulation underneath. Note that a soft-shell jacket is a great addition but will not replace a good waterproof hard-shell when you really, really need one! Good rain-gear – tops and bottoms are mandatory on all IMG tours.


    Ski-touring pants

    Most will use either soft shell pants or a combination of thermal underwear and hard-shell pants. In both cases the pants need to have pegs wide enough to accommodate the touring boot in walk mode. 
    Normal insulated ski pants will not work as they will simply be too warm when walking uphill. 
    Those using softshell pants should also have a pair of wind and waterproof hard-shell pants for bad weather days. 

    Having extra ventilation openings for the uphill on warmer days is a great benefit. 


    Base layer

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    Bergans Merino

    A thin base layer (next to skin). The most popular is merino wool – comfortable to wear for multiple days without the smell of synthetic materials. Most people should be fine with the same merino shirt on for 2 – 3 days on harder tours where weight matters. Having short and long sleeve is great for adjusting to different weather conditions.  Women might want a sports bra as a part of their base layer. Cotton t-shirts are not advisable for any strenuous outdoor activity. 


    Hands, feet and head:

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    ME Knitted beanie

    Gloves: A light pair of fleece or wool gloves or mittens does the job. You can also take a pair of ski-gloves or other wind and waterproof shell gloves. Having an extra pair is recommended, and then of different thickness.
    Socks: Wool is definitely the preferred material for hiking socks. Different blends are available. If you are prone to blisters or have new boots you should consider wearing a thin liner sock underneath your hiking socks. Make sure you have a few pairs of socks to keep your feet dry and in good conditions.
    Warm hat: A normal ski-hat/beanie is perfect. You could also use a thick buff. An extra a buff is also nice to have, you can use it to protect your neck and face when needed or as a thinner option for a hat. 


    Insulation layer

    A fleece jacket would the classical insulating layer. Wool would also be a good option. Here it is also possible to layer up – two thin jackets or a jacket and a vest rather than one very thick jacket. A thicker base-layer for colder days could also be a part of adjustable layering. 


    Puffy Jacket

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    ME Compressor Hooded Jacket PrimaLoft

    A nice light puffy is great during brakes. The insulation could be down or synthetics (such as Primaloft). It should not be very big or bulky for summer time use. Synthetic insulation is preferred as it keeps most of its insulating properties also when wet but down is also a good option.  A puffy vest would also be a good option. 


    Casual clothes / change of clothes

    Once in the hut it is good to be able to change out of your trekking gear. Even if we do not like you to wear jeans during the hike you are welcome to wear them in the hut/tent in the evening - same with a cotton T-shirt. If it is could a warm jumper or an extra fleece jacket is always nice. Few pairs of comfy socks and some fresh underwear.  Avoid bringing too much extra clothing – life in the mountains is simple and nice, so one pair of extra pants, warm jumper and a few t-shirts and briefs should do the job just fine. Light sneakers and slippers for indoor use will feel great at the end of the day. 


    Backpack

    The best is to have a dedicated ski-touring pack. They will have a special compartment to carry a shovel and probe and the option to carry a helmet on the outside. Most will get away with a pack of 30 – 35 L in size.  We rarely need to put skis on the pack but it is recommended to have a pack where strapping the skis on is an option.
    ABS bags have also become popular, they have a “air bag” that can be opened in the case of an avalanche and they will help keeping the user floating in the avalanche. The down side of the ABS and similar systems is that they will add about 3kg to the weight of the back pack plush some bulk. They are also quite expensive 


    Water container / thermos flask

    In Iceland & Greenland you can drink from any stream, no filters, no iodine or chlorine! It is good to have a small water bottle at hand. A 1L bottle should be plenty as water is easily found all over. If you are a warm drinker we will be happy to fill up your thermos in the morning and a selection of teas will be available (very dedicated tea drinkers often bring an emergency stash of their favourite brand). Cold drinkers might like to bring their favoured powdered flavouring/vitamin/energy drink. 


    Head-lamp

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    Even though the summer night is bright the inside of the hut/tent might not be. A headlamp is also useful for a bit of reading. There are plenty of options available for LED head lamps that are just perfect for reading and getting around. A small flash-light will also do the job. Most LED headlamps have more than enough light for our purposes and the battery life is so good that one set will do for your trip.  


    Personal first-aid-kit

    The guides on our tours will have a first aid kit available. It is still nice to have some small items to be self-sufficient with minor things. Band-Aid, Compeed for blisters, pain killers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.  


    Personal items

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    Make sure to have all your prescription medication with you, if you have any medical condition that could in any way affect you during the trip make sure to let your guide know. For those suffering from allergies having antihistamine is advisable – or any other medication that works for your condition. Items for personal hygiene should also be included, having a small bar of soap handy or some liquid hand soap is a good idea. Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental-floss should be packed. Avoid liquid antiperspirant and glass containers due to risks of spilling. Feminine products like pads, tampons etc. should also be packed if needed. If you take vitamins or other supplements you should continue to do so during your holiday.
    In most cases you are sharing sleeping facilities with one or more fellow travellers – so a pair of good ear-plugs can ensure a good night sleep. Those not used to the bright summer might also like to bring an eye mask.  Contact lenses, lens liquid etc. Pack shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in small plastic bottles that close tight.
    A big towel is nice to have – especially if you are taking a bath in one of the natural hot-pools. 


    Swim suit

    Bathing in the natural hot-pools will be one of the highlights of your trip in Iceland (depending on the tour). Make sure you come dressed for the occasion. There are no specific rules, written or unwritten on how to dress or not to dress; board shorts, speedos, bikinis or bathing suits – anything goes. Quick drying is good. 


    Ski equipment

    Iceland and Greenland often have variable snow conditions. Your ski gear depends on your personal preference but if you are new to the wold of ski touring you should consider a mid-with ski (ca. 100mm at the waist) with a good all terrain rocker. Rental of ski-touring gear is very difficult in Iceland and impossible in Greenland.

    Ski Boots:

    A dedicated touring boot, many companies sell downhill boots with a touring option (side country), although those are really good for skiing they are often very heavy for the uphill. 
    Beginners in ski-touring should also avoid having the supper light Race type ski boots. Your boot will also need to be compatible with your bindings. 

    Skis:

    A good all-round ski that is a compromise between perfect powder days and days on hard icy snow. For the uphill they should be light weight. With the development in touring and freeride skis in the last few years there are plenty of good options.

    Ski-poles:

    A two-piece telescope pole with an insulated grip on the middle of the pole as well as the top is ideal. Note that regular ski-poles often have a handle that is very uncomfortable to hold while touring uphill.

    Skins:

    Climbing skins are essentially hairs that are glued to the bottom of the skis, allowing them to glide one way but stopping them from sliding backwards. Much like the fish-scales on Nordic skis, but more affective.  Make sure they are in good condition and fit the width of your skis. Many touring skis come with a pre-cut skin.

    Bindings:

    Ski touring bindings are essentially of two types, Frame or Tech. The frame bindings resemble regular downhill bindings and tent to be heavier but easy to use and with a higher level of DIN adjustments.
    Tech bindings (aka pin-bindings) need a special connection holes on the boot – so they are not compatible with any touring boot. They are lighter in weight and most modern tech bindings also have a reasonable range of DIN settings and safety fetures. Due to the light weight most dedicated ski-tourers prefer a tech style binding.

    Ski Crampons:

    Ski Crampons fit to the binding and are needed on hard uphill sections. They are compulsory on our tours. The ski crampons are specific to each ski binding and come in a range of sizes to fit different with skis.

    Snowboards:

    You are welcome to come to our tours on a split-board, but due to the limitations on travel on snow-shoes we cannot allow snowboarders that plan to carry their board on the back.
    The split-board still has limitations on travel due to the soft setup of boots and bindings – “ski”-crampons are there for absolutely necessary. If you are looking into buying a touring setup for snowboarding and expect to do much touring with skiers, you should consider investing in a “hard-boot” setup. We also ask you to practice putting your board together so that it takes the minimum amount of time.

    Avalanche gear:

    You will need a modern Avalanche Beacon, an avalanche probe and a shovel. We recommend 3 antennathe Beacons. Dual antenna will do – but it is far more difficult to use. 

    Any working probe will work – we would recommend it being 220 – 260cm and your will want a lightweight aluminium or carbon prob.

    The shovel should be aluminium, foldable with a good blade for digging snow.
    The avalanche gear can be rented from IMG.

    Helmet: 

    A ski helmet is optional on our tours. If you choose to bring one, then you will need to make sure that you can carry it on your pack as you will not wear it on the uphill.

    Ski mountaineering equipment:

    On our regular ski-touring trips we do not need to have mountaineering equipment like a harness, crampons, ice-axe etc. This may be appropriate for some special tours and if that is needed we will specifically let you know. 


    Sunglasses, sunblock and Goggles

    Playing in the snow you will need sunglasses. When the sun comes out the reflection from the snow can be quite strong so we would recommend a quality pair. The reflection can also do damage to unprotected skin – so a small tube of sun-block SPF 25 – 50 is advised.
    When the wind picks up and for the downhill you will want a pair of quality goggles. The bigger the better. 


    Other cool things to have

    Book – to read during the evenings.
    Music - and head phones. Some of our guides also have speakers with them to share Icelandic music.
    Diary or note-book – to write down your good memories from Iceland. Also a pen or pencil.
    Power-bank / extra battery for your electronics – small solar cells usually do not work that well in Iceland so a pre charged power bank is a better option.  Charging your electronics in huts in the highlands often is not an option or will cost you extra. Having converters adapters for 220 V will help.
    Playing cards and travel games – or other toys you might like and can travel.
    Cash – in mountain huts shower normally costs about 500 ISK and work on 100kr coins.
    Travel pillow – as long as it is not very bulky, otherwise you can just use your clothes.
    Powder drink mix – Good water is never a problem – but you might like a bit of variety. Some also contain vitamins and minerals that help your body after a hard day. 
    Shorts - It does get warm enough to wear shorts. They are also nice for sleeping in, in case you need to get out in the night. For hiking it is nice to have some pockets, for the items that other ways would be in the pockets of you pants. But any old pair of shorts will do.


    Aperitif of other heart-warming spirits

    Aperitif of other heart-warming spirits - Liquor laws in Iceland prohibit the sale of alcohol in most places you come by on your trip in the highlands and limited opening hours stop you from buying any most other places unless you are staying in a hotel. So having a flask (preferably plastic or metal) to share with your fellow travels in front of the camp fire (gas heater) can be the crowning of a good day. You can take care of this in the duty-free up on arrival in Iceland if you like. Just follow all the Icelanders on your flight – they will take you straight to duty-free!
    On trips to Greenland you can take care of this in the duty-free up on arrival in Iceland. Duty free in Kulusuk, Greenland does not sell high % spirits – but if you make it to the supermarket they will have beer. 


    Gear shopping in Iceland

    Already in Iceland and need to grab some extra gear? No worries. There are a few shops in Reykjavík to go to (remember to ask for a VAT refund slip when you buy over 5000ISK, saving 14%):

    Íslensku Alparnir: http://alparnir.is/  this is where IMG gets its Mountain Equipment gear, much of with is featured on the pictures above – can’t go wrong there.

    GG-Sjósport: http://www.gummibatar.is/ grate products, but not in the down town.

    Laugavegur: the main shopping street down town has a few stores, including some local brands like 66°North and Cintamany.

    Kringlan & Smáralind are the indoor shopping centers in Iceland – both have outdoor stores – and they are open on Sundays and till 21:00 on Thursdays. 

    For your own wellbeing and safety, we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, this includes having good quality rain-gear, tops and bottoms!  Also respect that cotton clothing is not appropriate for any strenuous outdoor activity – this includes jeans and t-shirts. Modern outdoor clothing is by far more comfortable and will greatly improve your experience. 
    Should you have any questions regarding this equipment list or the equipment on our tours feel free to contact
    incoming@mountainguides.is


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