The Wilderness of Glaciers - IMG491

Tour type: Trekking tour from hut to hut

Difficulty:

EASY

HARD

Price from:  

Adult: 233.000

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What's included: Guide, food for 7 days, transportation, mountain hut fees, hostel, tent accommodation, cooking gear.

Duration: 7 days

Accommodation: Mounatin huts, Hostel and tent accommodation

Meeting point: Starts at Egilsstaðir airport and ends at the Reykjavík bus terminal

Group size: 6 to 15 participants

Language: English and French

Walking per day: 5- 8 hours

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Tröllakrókar cliffs
    • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
    • Vatnajökull National Park Skaftafell

    East Iceland Trekking

    East Iceland Trekking are tours that combine some of the best hiking and sights of east and southeast Iceland. They are made up of three parts that each has its own characteristics and charm. They all have in common stunning landscapes and variety in color. You will hike over green hills and between small coves, venture into one of Iceland ‘s most remote wildernesses and visit a world of glaciers and ice. With the three different parts, you may choose one section of the trek, combine two or three parts, or hike the whole East Iceland Trekking tour from the deserted farmland of the eastern coves, through the wilderness east of Vatnajökull glacier and to Skaftafell.

    On this tour you combine the In the Shadow of Vatnajökull tour and The South Coast Exploration tour.

    After having explored the colorful rhyolite hills of the Lón area east of Vatnajökull we continue from Höfn to Skaftafell  and then alont the south shore to Reykjavík. We visit the famous Glacier Lagoon at Jökulsárlón on our way to Skaftafell where we stay 2 nights camping in the National Park. There we can hike one of many trails or you can add a Glacier Walk or a tour up on one of Iceland’s highest peaks to your experience. ).  On the way back to Reykjavík we will stop at the black beaches of Vík and look at the waterfalls of the south coast.

    Total distance: 85 kilometers (50 miles)
    Altitude: 20-800 meters (65-2625 feet)
    Maximum ascent: 600 m (1970 feet)

    Included in price: 

    • Qualified guide for 7 days
    • Accommodation in mountain huts dormitory style for 3 nights
    • Accommodation in a hostel in Höfn for 1 night
    • Accommodation for 2 nights in a two persons tent in Skaftafell
    • Sleeping bags (sleeping bag liners needed)
    • Meals from lunch ond ay 1 to lunch on day 7 except for the dinner in Höfn
    • Transportation from Egilsstaðir airport to Eyjabakkar and from Lón to Höfn
    • Public bus from Höfn to Skaftafell and from Skaftafell to Reykjavik

    Not included: 

    • Flights from Reykjavik to Egilsstaðir (can be added)
    • Dinner in Höfn

    Meeting Point: The tour starts at Egilsstaðir airport and ends at the Reykjavík bus terminal (or begins at the airport in Reykjavík for option with domestic flights). Pick up from hotel or guest house in Reykjavík can be added for an extra fee.

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  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1:  Reykjavík – Egilsstaðir – Geldingafell
    We meet at the domestic airport in Egilsstadir in the morning. There those who came the land way meet those who came by air from Reykjavik. After getting acquainted  we get transfer into the Eyjabakkar area located east of Mt. Snæfell from where we start our hike. On this first day we follow the Eyjabakkar, the impressive riverbanks of the glacial river Jökulsá. Mt. Snæfell sits majestically on the other side of the river, perhaps even with a cover of snow. We turn east towards Geldingafell mountain at the edge of the great Vatnajökull glacier and the lush vegetation of the riverbanks gives way to the rough areas shaped by the receding glacier where the reindeer roam. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)                    
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent: 150 m (490') 

    Day 2Geldingafell – Egilssel
    Today we hike over the mountain of Geldingafell for excellent views over the Vatnajökull glacier as well as the outlet glaciers of the area and adjacent glacier lagoons. We then follow the top of the valley of Vesturdalur before descending down to lake Kollumúlavatn where pintails can often be heard and even seen. Accommodation in a fully equipped hut, Egilssel, on the lake.
    Distance: 15km (9.5mi)                    
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 300 m (980')/500m (1640’) 

    Day 3:  Egilssel – Múlaskáli

    Circling the lake we come to the Tröllakrókahnaus an interesting outcrop of columnar basalt, located on the impressive Tröllakrókar cliffs. Making our way along the cliffs´ edges we enjoy the stunning views of the rock formations as well as the views to the surrounding mountains. The monotony of the basaltic landscapes soon gives way to the colorful landscapes of the rhyolite where the purple, orange and even pink colors come as a real surprise. We continue down into the valley of the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni arriving at our hut for the night.
    Distance: 12km (7.5mi)                    
    Walking time: 5-7 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 200m (650')/450m (1450’) 

    Day 4:  Múlaskáli – Eskifell – Höfn
    We start by crossing the glacial river on a foot bridge before climbing the hill of Illikambur. We should enjoy the colors of the surrounding slopes on our way up as on top yet another landscape awaits us. Following the glacial river Jökulsá í Lóni we make our way south to the old farmstead of Eskifell. Just after we cross the mighty glacial river on a foot bridge a bus awaits us and brings us to the hostel in Höfn. 
    Distance: 11km (7.0 mi)                   
    Walking time: 6-8 hrs                       
    Ascent/Descent: 250 m (820')/300m (980’) 

    Day 5:  Höfn - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – Vatnajökull National Park Skaftafell
    In the morning we get on the scheduled bus that leaves from Höfn to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. There we find the famous lake, decorated with floating icebergs that have broken off the big glacier of Vatnajökull. It is possible to go on a boat tour between the icebergs (not included) or take a short walk along the shores of the lagoon. We then head on to Skaftafell where we will explore the footpaths of Vatnajökull National Park. Skaftafell is a green oasis where arctic birch and small flowers grow between the glaciers and the coast, and you get a view of Iceland‘s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m). Night in a tent at the camping in Skaftafell.
    Hiking: 4-5 h total

    Day 6:  Vatnajökull National Park Skaftafell
    A full day of hiking in the National Park. In the afternoon on day 2 and today there are many possibilities for hiking. We can hike up to the woods of Bæjastaðarskógur, the valley of Morsárdalur, or up to the peaks of Kristínartindar where we have superb views of the glaciers that come falling down from some of the highest mountains in Iceland. On this day there is also possible to sign up for either of these additional activities: 

    • Ascension of beautiful Hrútfjallstindar peaks (price 38.610 Isk). Please note that the hike is physically very challenging and takes up to 12-15 hours. 
    • A Glacier Walk on Svínafellsjökull, either 2 hour tour (price 9.810 ISK) or 4 hour tour (14.310 ISK). On both tours you will see a variety of glacier formations as you walk between water cauldrons, crevasses and strangely shaped ridges. 

    At the end of the day we return to you camp in Skaftafell, night in a tent. 

    Day 7:  Vík - The waterfalls of Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss – Reykjavík
    We get on the scheduled bus heading for Reykjavík. On the way we stop in Vík for a walk on the black sand beach that is dominated by coastal cliffs and rocks that rise up from the ocean. We will also make short stops at the waterfalls of Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss where you can walk behind the cascading water. Arrival in Reykjavík in the late afternoon/early evening.

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  • Gear Lexicon

    Trekking Tours

    What is a Trekking tour?

    On a IMG Trekking tour all the overnight gear it transported from one camp-site/hut to the next. You will only need to carry your daypack during each day’s hike.  This is a comfortable and light weight option for hiking. Some Trekking tours have hut accommodation with communal sleeping spaces while others have tents (1 – 2 persons) and a mess tent for group meals, cooking and socializing.


    Hiking Boots

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    Scarpa Hekla

    Sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support. Leather or synthetic with a waterproof membrane, e.g. Gore-Tex. Make sure they are a good fit, leaving some space for your toes – and wear them in, even if it is just by light hiking in the city. 


    Jacket with a good hood (wind and waterproof)

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    ME Manaslu

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


    Hard shell pants (wind and waterproof)

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    Ideally the hard-shell-pants should be lightweight – as they will be in your backpack most of the time. If they have zip-up legs to ease getting into it is a big bonus. Make sure they are breathable and strong enough to take some abuse from walking.  We often see cheap rain pants disintegrate during the tour.  Gore-Tex or similar waterproof breathing membrane is appropriate. Good rain gear – tops and bottoms are mandatory on all IMG tours.


    Base layer

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    Bergans Merino

    The most popular thin base layer (next to skin) is made with merino wool because it is comfortable to wear for multiple days without the smell of synthetic materials. Most people should be fine with wearing the same merino shirt for 2 – 3 days on harder tours where weight matters. A thicker base-layer for colder days could also be a part of your adjustable layering.  We recommend packing short and long sleeve options to adjust 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.


    Insulation layer

    A fleece jacket is a classic insulating layer material. Wool is also a good option. It is possible to layer up – two thin jackets or a jacket and a vest rather than one very thick jacket.


    Hiking pants

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    Soft shell is strong and durable, wind resistant and quick drying – ideal for any outdoor activity. Some might consider a thin base-layer (long-johns) for extra insulation on colder days.  Jeans and other cotton pants are not advisable for any outdoor activity. 


    Puffy Jacket

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    ME Compressor Hooded Jacket PrimaLoft

    A light puffy is great during breaks. The insulation could be down or synthetic material (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 when wet, but down is also a good option.  A puffy vest is a good option as well.


    Hands, feet and head:

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    ME Knitted beanie

    Gloves: A light pair of fleece or wool gloves/mittens does the job. You can also take a pair of ski-gloves or other wind and waterproof shell gloves. Having an extra pair of different thickness is recommended. 

    Socks: Wool is the preferred material for skiing socks, and different blends are available. If you are prone to blisters or have new boots, you should consider wearing a thin liner sock underneath your socks in your ski boots. Make sure you have a few pairs of socks to use to keep your feet dry.

    Warm hat: A normal ski-hat/beanie is perfect. You can also use a thick buff. An extra buff is nice to have - you can use it to protect your neck and face when needed, or as a thinner option for a hat. 


    Casual clothes / change of clothes

    Once in the hut, it is good to be able to change out of your trekking gear. We highly discourage you from wearing cotton clothing (including jeans!) while skiing or hiking but you are welcome to wear them in the hut/tent in the evening. If it is cold, a warm sweater (jumper) or an extra fleece jacket is always nice. We always recommend having a 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, a warm sweater (jumper), a few t-shirts and underwear should do the job just fine. Light sneakers and slippers for indoor use will feel great at the end of the day


    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.  


    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. 


    Dry-bags

    There are plenty of different products available for storing your equipment inside your pack and keeping it dry. A rain cover over your pack often has limited use due to high winds– a safer option is to pack whatever needs to be kept dry into dry-bags inside your back-pack. It is also a great way to organize the inside of your pack. One bag for electronics (camera and phone) and one bag for extra clothing, as an example. Note that dry-bags were out and might not be as dry as they were when you first bought them. 


    River shoes

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    Keen Newport Sandal

    An old pair of running shoes will do just fine. Closed hiking sandals or neoprene kayaking shoes will also work great.  Any quick drying shoe with a good sole that can be securely attached to the foot will do. Loose slippers, flip-flops etc. are not acceptable.
    A good addition to your river crossing shoes are neoprene socks – see Neoprene socks.


    Trekking pole(s)

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    Black Diamond Trekking / hiking poles

    One or two poles are nice to have. Some trekkers like to use them all the time, other use them only during river crossings or on steep ups and downs. If you like them, make sure that they are foldable and light weight. A small basket is also nice. 


    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.  


    Sleeping Bag Tent

    Camping in the arctic summer can be cold. A good quality sleeping bag is essential. Due to the favourable weight-to-warmth ratio down sleeping bags is most people’s choice. Consider a 3 season sleeping bag unless you are a very warm sleeper. Note that the pack volume of your sleeping bag should affect the size of your backpack.  Bear in mind also that temperature rating on sleeping bags are an inexact science, and you may need a heavier or lighter bag than the climate you are headed out to. Consider a liner bag for comfort, temperature regulation and to lengthen the lifetime of your sleeping bag. 


    Water container / thermos flask

    In Iceland & Greenland, you can drink from any stream, no filters, no iodine and no chlorine needed! 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 prefer warm drinks, we are 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 favorite brand. Those who like cold drinks might like to bring their favorite powdered 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 those that want to do some reading. There are plenty of options available for LED head lamps that are just perfect for reading and getting around. A small flashlight 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 fully charged battery will be enough for your trip.  


    Personal first-aid-kit

    All the guides on our tours will have a first-aid kit available. However, it is still nice to have some small items for minor injuries. Band-Aids, Compeed for blisters, pain killers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended personal first-aid kit items.  


    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 an antihistamine is advisable – or any other medication that works for your condition. Items for personal hygiene should also be included, such as a small bar of soap or some liquid hand soap. We recommend packing a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental-floss. Avoid liquid antiperspirant and glass containers due to risks of spillage. 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 travelers – so a pair of good ear-plugs can ensure a good night’s sleep. Those not accustom to the bright summer nights might want to bring an eye mask.  Please make sure to pack extra contact lenses (if needed), contact lens cleaning solution, 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. 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 material is always a good idea. 


    Thermal mattress

    It is really nice to have a small thermal mattress to sit on during lunch break and other stops.  It should not be big, just enough to sit on. And it should fold up nicely so it does not get in the way inside your pack. 


    Gaiters

    For summer time use you should normally not need gaiters as they are designed to keep snow from getting into your boots. Some like them also for scree slopes. Keep in mind that the volcanic soil in Iceland is very abrasive so you will want to be able to remove the strap that goes under your boot sole to keep it from getting trashed.


    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 notebook – 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. Make sure you have an adapter plug and/or a voltage converter for 220 V. 

    Playing cards and travel games – or other toys you might like and can travel. 

    Cash – showers in mountain huts normally cost about 500 ISK and take 100 ISK coins. 

    Travel pillow – if 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 powders contain vitamins and minerals that help your body after a hard day.  

    Shorts - It does get warm enough to wear shorts on occasions. They are also nice for sleeping in, and can be worn if you need to get out of your sleeping accommodations at night. For hiking, it is nice to have some pockets to hold items that would normally be in the pockets of your pants. But any old pair of shorts will do.


    Aperitif of other heart-warming spirits

    Aperitif or 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. Additionally, limited opening hours prevent you from buying alcohol in most places unless you are staying in a hotel. Having a flask (preferably plastic or metal) to share with your fellow travellers in front of the camp fire (gas heater) can be a great way top off a good day. You can buy alcohol in the duty-free shops upon your arrival in Iceland. Just follow all the Icelanders on your flight – they will take you straight to duty-free! Also, there are government run alcohol stores in Reykjavík called Vínbuðin.  If time allows, you can purchase alcohol there but alcohol is much less expensive in the duty-free shops at the airport. 

    On trips to Greenland, you can buy alcohol in the duty-free shop 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 5000 ISK, which will save you 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/ great products, but not in the downtown area.

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

    Kringlan & Smáralind are the indoor shopping centers in Iceland – both have outdoor adventure equipment stores and are open on Sundays.

    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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