Europe Trip 2015 – Day 33 – Sólheimajökull Glacier, Iceland

April 30, 2015

My last big day trip was one I’d been looking forward to since I booked this trip. I knew that I wanted to see the South Coast of Iceland, because I have ancestors from the region. But I also wasn’t interested in the standard South Coast trip packages, because they seemed to spend a lot of time at random museums. I ended up booking an intensely cool 3-hour-long glacier hike on the Sólheimajökull Glacier, with stops at the Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls on the way back.

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One of the large glacial-fed rivers that the ring road crosses over, heading towards the glacier.

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A flat floodplain, which carries waters from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier to the sea.

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Farms along the base of a coastal mountain ridge.

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Another floodplain, this one closer to the glacier I’d be hiking on.

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At the start of the glacier hike. We readied ourselves with harnesses, crampons, and an ice axe at a staging area roughly 900m from the base of the glacier. When the staging area was built, the glacier went right up to the edge of the parking lot.

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Beginning the hike up the glacier. The dark areas you see on the white ice is black dirt, gravel, and ash.

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An anchor in the wall of the ice, held in place with an ice screw. Our guide setup ropes to help our group reach an ice cave.

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Inside the ice cave.

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Selfie on a glacier.

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Ice axes are cool.

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Heading farther up the glacier, towards devices placed in the ice that measure the distance the glacier has moved, and the amount it has melted every year.

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An opening in the ice. The dripping waters most likely lead to a small tunnel under the ice, which leads to the small lagoon at the glacier’s base.

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Snow had started by this point, but it only added to the atmosphere of the moment.

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Looking back down the glacier towards the ocean. The staging area is just behind the grey ridge in the center of the photograph, to give an idea of distance traveled.

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Our guide pointing out a crack in the ice.

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Looking down one of the crevasses.

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There were multiple groups of hikers on the glacier at the same time. Some were just hikes, others involved small amounts of ice climbing.

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Our guide demonstrating basic ice climbing technique.

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Heading back towards Reykjavik, a stop at the famous Skógafoss waterfall.

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Looking across the coastal plane.

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Seljalandsfoss, the second waterfall we stopped at. This waterfall is noteworthy because you can walk behind it.

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View from behind Seljalandsfoss.

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