Vatnajökull Glacier Crossing
Join us for an incredible 9 day crossing of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Located in south west Iceland, Vatnajökull covers 8,100 square km of snow and ice and boasts numerous volcanoes including Grímsvötn (Iceland’s most active volcano) and Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m).
This spectacular glacier offers the perfect location for this classic ski/pulk adventure. Like its polar cousins Vatnajökull has unpredictable weather with potential for strong winds and precipitation. On clear days the views are stunning with rocky nunataks and mountain peaks surrounding the glacier.
We will be traveling expedition style, camping in tents except for two nights at the Grimsfjall Hut (complete with a geothermal wet sauna) perched high atop the caldera of the Grímsvötn volcano.
The ease of travel to Iceland makes this expedition a breeze to plan and the relatively short duration means that you can go from door to door inside of two weeks. Contact us to learn more!
- Equipment List
- Dates & Rates
Vatnajökull Glacier Crossing Daily Itinerary
- Day 1
Meet in Reykjavik. Review clothing & equipment. Evening welcome reception.
- Day 2
Early morning departure for Jokulheimar on the western edge of Vatnajökull. Start skiing in the afternoon.
- Day 3-4
Skiing towards the Grimsvötn volcano, night in tent. Arrive at Grimsvötn caldera, night at the Grimsfall Hut (based upon availability).
- Day 5
Layover day at the hut. Review glacial travel skills for the upcoming days.
- Day 6
Descend off the Grimsvötn caldera and change our course towards Hermannaskaro Pass.
- Day 7
Continue towards Hermannaskaro Pass and assess weather for possible descent of the Breioamerkurjökull Glacier or ascent towards the Öræfajökull caldera.
- Day 8
Descend the Breioamerkurjökull Glacier with it's surrounding peaks and nunatuks, or, make our way to the base of Hvanndalshnjúkur.
- Day 9
Final descent of the Breioamerkurjökull Glacier or ascent attempt of Hvanndalshnjúkur followed by the descent off the Öræfajökull caldera. Night spent in guesthouse accommodations near Skaftafell Park.
- Day 10
Return to Reykjavik.
- Day 11
End of expedition.
Vatnajökull Glacier Crossing Equipment List
Upon registration you will receive a comprehensive equipment list as well as consultation from PolarExplorers on your personal kit.
- Sleeping system (sleeping bags and sleeping pads)
- Skis, boots, bindings and poles
- Skins for your skis
- Ice ace
- Climbing harness
- 3 locking carabiners
- 3 non locking carabiners
- 3 pussiks (13, 6 & 5 foot lengths prior to being tied in a loop)
- Daypack / rucksack
- Headlamp / head torch
- 1-2 liter wide mouthed water bottle with insulated cover(s)
- Wool or synthetic base layer (top & bottom)
- Wool or synthetic mid layer (top & bottom)
- Windproof and waterproof breathable jacket and pants
- Synthetic insulated parka or waterproof down parka
- 2-3 pair wool or synthetic blend ski socks
- Camp booties with sole
- 2 pair gloves
- Windproof / waterproof overmitts
- Ski goggles
- Sunglasses / glacier glasses
- 1-2 wool or synthetic hat
- Sun hat with brim
- Sun block
- Pee bottle
- Personal toiletries
Qualifications for Vatnajökull Glacier Crossing
This expedition is for people who are in good shape and are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. The days can be long and the skiing, though not technically difficult requires that you maintain an appropriate pace.
You will need to have very good cardiovascular endurance and the ability to pull a sled (between 25-35 kilos) for several hours at a time. Towards the end of the day when we stop skiing, it is critical that you have the energy reserves to help with the group camp chores. Most importantly you need to be able to regulate your body temperature so that you do not get too cold, or too hot while you are on the move.
This expedition can encounter extreme conditions including high winds, limited visibility, snow, rain, and cold temperatures. Living in such conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging. You do not have to be a world class athlete to participate in and enjoy this expedition, but every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer.
Vatnaökull Glacier Crossing Dates & Rates
Dates & Rates:
2021 Tentative Dates: May 14-24
2021 Tentative price: $ 5,900 per person
Includes all group equipment, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear, transfer to/from the glacier, most meals.
Vatnajökull Glacier Crossing Testimonials
“Incredible scenery and skiing. The descent off the Grimsvötn caldera was a blast! Sledding will never be more fun. I loved the changing weather and the fact that we experienced many travel conditions in 8 days on the glacier. This expedition should be on everyone’s short list.” – John Barkhausen