The Crossing of Fire and Water - T61L

Tour type: Discovery adventure with sightseeing and short hikes

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 255.000

  • JAN
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  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

What's included: Guide, full board, camping fees and camping gear (except sleeping bag), transportation with public bus.

Departures: June, July, August

Duration: 8 days

Accommodation: Camping

Meeting point: BSÍ bus station in Reykjavík

Group size: 6-15 participants

Language: English and French

Walking per day: 2-7 hours

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Hiking in three exceptional yet different sites.
    • Time devoted to hiking as transfers are concentrated on certain days.
    • Þórsmörk valley underneath the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
    • Skaftafell and the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón. 

    This program highlights hikes in three exceptional sites.  Þórsmörk, in the heart of the volcanic zone, is the first stop.  In the beginning of 2010, during the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull that paralyzed air traffic throughout Europe, this valley rapidly flooded by the ensuing glacial melt in the aftermath of the eruption.  Þórsmörk is a verdant valley carved out of volcanic tuff that is home to an immense variety of landscapes: narrow gorges, phantasmagoric rocks, birch forests, and much more.  Dominated by the surrounding Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers it is a true paradise for hiking.  Then we have the Skaftafell National Park, at the foot of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull.  This park is surrounded by the highest peaks of the country, Hvannadalshnúkur being the tallest at 2110m.  From the summits gigantic glacial tongues descend onto the black volcanic sand that borders the ocean.  Finally, passing by the great canyon of fire Eldgjá we complete the journey in Landmannalaugar and hike amongst its famous volcanic landscapes shimmering with color and hot springs.  It is a journey through lava, canyons, waterfalls, and ice in the middle of a vast ocean.

    Included: Guide, full board, camping fees and camping gear, transportation with public bus. 

    Not Included: Sleeping bag, boat tour on Jökulsárlón, glacier tour in Skaftafell, anything else not mention above. 

    Note: For this tour to be confirmed, the minimum number of passengers has to be met. If the tour is not confirmed you will get a full refund.

    Available upon request: Accommodation in Reykjavík. 

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavík - Þórsmörk

    Heading south-east we leave the main road to enter the valley of Þórsmörk, a beautiful valley hidden behind the glaciers of the south coast.  This fantastic landscape of volcanic tuff has been carved out by the numerous rivers originating from the ice above and is covered with small forests of arctic birch.  Going to Þórsmörk is already a small expedition in itself as you need to ford two dozens of glacial rivers.  Being the Þórsmörk we stand at the foot of a large volcano covered by the infamous glacier, Eyjafjallajökull.  Arrival towards mid-day where we setup camp.  In the afternoon, our first exploration of the surroundings.  

    Driving: 3 - 4 hrs                          Walking: 3 hrs (accumulated) 

    Day 2: Valley of Þórsmörk

    From our base camp we have many choices for hiking.  Your guide will help you choose between the tuff gorge of Stakkholtsgjá, an approach to one of the many glacial tongues of Krossárjökull, the top to bottom green covered mountain of Rjúpnafell formed during a subglacial eruption, the ridge of Stóri-Endi with overhangs and strangely shaped rocks, the valley of the Trolls, the Church of the Elves that contains a crater cavity shaped like a church nave, and many more possibilities. Night at the same camp.
    Driving: none                          Walking:  6-7 hrs. 

    Day 3:  Seljalandsfoss – Skógafoss – Vík – Skaftafell

    From Þórsmörk we return to the main road and continue east. Along the way we stop at the beautiful waterfall Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind, and the impressive Skógafoss. After that we stop in Reynisfjara where we have the opportunity to admire magnificent basaltic columns right next to the ocean. From May to June Reynisfjall hosts a large colony of friendly and picturesque puffins. We continue eastward through the village of Vík, where also in summer we can discover the country's largest arctic tern colony. A walk to the black sand beach is dominated by coastal cliffs and rocky needles protruding from the ocean. After a stop on the major flood plains of Mýrdalssandur the road crosses the vast lava fields of Eldhraun, which was one of the greatest lava flows of historic times. We arrive in the Skaftafell National Park in late afternoon. Setup camp for the night.
    Driving: 8 hrs. (including stops)                         Walking:  Small breaks during transfer. 

    Day 4: Skaftafell National Park

    This beautiful park sits at the foot of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull.  It is a green oasis of arctic birch decorated with flowers, valleys, waterfalls and rivers surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Overlooking the park is Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, an enormous glacial mountain that rises 2,110 meters above sea level.  From Skaftafell we can also see all the way to the ocean across the immense black flood plain of Skeiðarársandur.  Our climb of the day leads us to the peaks of Kristínartindar, a breathtaking view of all the park’s glaciers descending from the highest peaks of the country.  Night at the same campsite.
    Driving: none                         Walking:  5-7 hrs. 

    Day 5: Jökulsárlón

    By bus we head to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake dotted with icebergs that calve from the massive Breiðamerkurjökull, one of the wonders of this region.  There is hiking around the lagoon and along the beach, both areas are frequented by sea lions. Optional boat tour among the icebergs (Price: 5000 ISK).  Return again to Skaftafell afterwards. Night at the same campsite.
    Driving: 2 hrs.                                                Walking:   2 – 3 hrs. 

    Optional (not included in price) on Day 4 or 5:

    • Climbing to the highest point of Iceland Hvannadalshnúkur with a summit guide: 42 900 ISK.
    • Excursion onto the Svínafellsjökull glacier, led by a glacier guide: 2.5 hours (price: 11 900 ISK) or 4 hours (16 900 ISK).

    Day 6: Eldgjá – Landmannalaugar

    Spectacular bus transfer from Skaftafell to Landmannalaugar as we head back west.   After the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur the road turns inland towards Eldgjá.  ​The "canyon of fire" probably dates back to 934 according to ash and ice core samples carried out in Greenlandic glaciers.  The eruption was shown to have been as powerful as Laki in 1783.  Eldgjá is only a small section of the long mid-Atlantic rift, which for the last 200 million years has been slowly pulling America and Europe apart.  Under the pressure of the lava, the rift diverges here at an average speed of about 2.5 cm per year.  A hike into the canyon brings us to Ófærufoss, a waterfall whose waters plunge in two majestic leaps into the depths of the Eldgjá fault.  We continue on to Landmannalaugar where a colorful landscape of ochre yellow to reddish or blueish inclusions awaits us.  There is bathing in the hot spring close by to end the day. Setup camp at the campsite.
    Driving:  5 hrs total (including stop at Eldgjá)                        Walking: 3 (accumulated) 

    Day 7: Landmannalaugar and the Torfajökull massif

    Walking day to explore some of the many trails of Landmannalaugar.  In addition to its high geothermal activity, Landmannalaugar is particularly interesting for its great variety of volcanic formations.  Rhyolite domes and casts of acid rock situated side by side with cinder cones, explosive craters, pseudo-craters and crater lakes.  In the vicinity lies the caldera of Torfajökull, its name describing a small glacier that lies outside of the caldera itself but nonetheless has quite strong thermal activity.  It composes of the largest area of silicic rock in Iceland.  The day ends with a bath in the hot springs! Night at the same camp as before.
    Driving: none                                                                         Walking:  6 hrs. 

    Day 8: Landmannalaugar - Reykjavík

    Last hike and swim in Landmannalaugar.  In the early afternoon, we head by bus westwards back to Reykjavík through the valley of Dómadalur.  The drive will take us past Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano.  Arrival at the end of the afternoon in Reykjavík.
    Driving: 4 hrs.                                                            Walking:  2 - 3 hrs

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  • Equipment List

    For your own wellbeing and safety, we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list, which includes having good quality rain-gear tops and bottoms! Also, understand 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. 

    Boots and Clothing:

    • Hiking boots – light hiking boots with waterproofing and ankle support are preferred. 
    • Long and short sleeve thermal underwear – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Rain Jacket with a good hood– Preferably waterproof and breathable material. 
    • Hiking pants.
    • Rain trousers – Waterproof and breathable material. 
    • Gloves – Wool or synthetic.
    • Socks – two to three pairs of hiking socks - Wool or synthetic.
    • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic. 

    Other gear:

    • Backpack for clothes and items used during the day. Size: 20-30 litres. 
    • Duffel bag for your overnight gear, preferably not a suit-case.  
    • Towel – A light weight and packable one. 
    • Sunglasses and sun protection. 
    • Water bottle. 
    • Casual clothes / change of clothes.
    • Prescription medication and other personal health items.
    • Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap etc. 
    • Swim suit (depends on tour). 
    • Tours in huts: 
    • Sleeping bag – A basic sleeping bag with no specific temperature rating is sufficient for summer tours. Good summer sleeping bag will do for winter tours in huts (depending on tour). Please note Sleeping bag is not needed for The Treasure Trail IMG332
    • Earplugs 
    • Headlamp for reading and getting around the hut. 

    Optional gear:

    • Walking pole(s). 
    • Pen knife. 
    • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap. 
    • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks). 
    • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card or films. 
    • Puffy jacket to throw on during stops (e.g. Primaloft or down) 
    • Slippers for indoor use. 
    • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits.

    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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  • Gear Lexicon

    Discovery Adventure

    What is a Discovery Adventure?

    On our Discovery Adventures you will get a chance to see allot of Iceland – driving between sightseeing spot. You should also be ready for some for a bit of walking – but nothing extreme or hard. Depending on tours you could be staying in Mountain huts, guesthouses or hotels.
    Please note that not all parts of the gear lexicon apply on all tours. 


    Light Hiking Boots

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    Salomon Quest Origins GTX

    A light pair of boots is more than sufficient. Having them waterproof and high enough to support and cover your ankles is a great benefit and will help keep you dry on wet or snowy ground. 


    Rain Jacket and Pants

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    ME Manaslu

    Wind and waterproof tops and bottoms are essential in Iceland. Preferably a jacket with a good hood. Rain pants with zippers along the legs make getting them on much easier. 


    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. 


    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. 


    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 / day-pack

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    Love Alpine AirZone Trek 30L

    You will need a nice daypack to carry your extra clothes, river crossing shoes, food and water for the day. Having a compartment for smaller items like sun screen and sunglasses is also good. The pack will never be heavy, but a bit of padding on the shoulder- and hip straps/belt with a buckle is good. Unless you have some bulky personal needs, like photographic equipment, then you should be fine with 20-30L (1200 - 2000 cu in).


    Duffel-bag

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    ME Wet & Dry bag

    On many of our tours your overnight gear is going to be transported from hut-to-hut / camp-to-camp and space is limited. We therefore ask you to pack your gear in a soft bag rather than a regular hard suite case, since this is more space-efficient. A 60 - 80L bag should be more than enough for all your extra kit including a sleeping bag.  If it is reasonably waterproof that is a big plus. 


    Sun

    A baseball cap or a comfortable hat with brim is great to have and is useful both in sunny and rainy weather. You should also have a nice pair of sunglasses and some sun-bloc – SPF 15-25 should be enough protection for most.  If you plan to be playing on snow covers summits you should bring a pair of quality sunglasses for mountaineering SPF 30 – 50 sunblock.  


    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. 


    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. 


    Sleeping Bag Hut

    The mountain-huts during the summer are usually warm, although most are not heated during the night. Any old sleeping bag will therefore do, unless you get cold easily. For temperature control having a full length zipper is the best. A liner bag is also a very nice addition and will improve your ability to regulate your head during the night.  If you are doing a winter hut trip or summer camping a 3 season sleeping bag would be sufficient. All the huts we use have mattresses on the beds so no need to bring your own for huts.  


    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.  


    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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