Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Video: A group of skiers climb and then descend Hvannadalshnjúkur, the highest peak in Iceland

By Staff

  • At the top 12 year old Tómas Andri Ólafsson is the youngest person to climb Iceland's highest peak both on foot and on skis. Photo/Screenshot from video, see below.

Early spring is the best time of the year to climb Hvannadalshnjúkur peak, the highest point in Vatnajökull glacier and the highest peak in Iceland. And judging by this video it is a fascinating adventure.

The video follows a group of locals, including Tómas Andri Ólafsson, the 12 year old son of the videographer, Ólafur Már Björnsson climbing the glacier with touring skis, and then descend down its slopes. Last year one of the mountaineers, 12 year old Tómas climbed Hvannadalshnjúkur on foot, making him the youngest person to climb the mountain both on skis and on foot.


Iceland’s highest point, Hvannadalshnjúkur peak, is in Vatnajökull, standing at 2,110 meters (6.921 ft). It is located on the north-western rim of the ice covered crater of Öræfajökull volcano, one of the largest active volcano in the country (last eruption 1727-1728). In fact Vatnajökull is the home to many of Iceland’s active volcanoes, including Bárðarbunga, which is at the center of a 200 km (124 mi) long volcanic system, one of the largest on the planet. The 10 km (6,2 mi) wide caldera is located underneath a 600 to 850-meter (1,968 to 2,788 ft.) thick ice cap in Vatnajökull glacier.

Read more: Scaling Iceland’s highest peak, guided tours to the top starts in April

The climb and the return trip takes between 11 and 18 hours, making it easily doable in one day. However, climbing Hvannadalshnjúkur is not recommended to people who do not have significant mountaineering experience. It is also crucial to climb with a guide who knows the glacier. Growing interest in climbing the glacier in recent years, both by locals and foreign visitors, has led to a sharp increase in accidents on its slopes.

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