Iceland is a great place to do outdoor (cold) activities. Approximately 11% of Iceland’s total area is covered in glaciers, so of course they are the obvious choice for a hike! We booked our hike on Solheimajokull Glacier with Extreme Iceland.
After meeting at the glacier base, we were provided with crampons, a helmet, ice axe and climbing harness. I felt like a true ice mountaineer! We were a group of around ten, and had two guides with us (one to lead, and the other to scope out new routes). As the glacier melts, climbing routes change and caves appear and disappear. The route that we walked will probably not have been available the following week, and the ice steps that we climbed have to be cut in daily.
On our climb to the top, we came across an ice cave that we were able to go in. The range of shades of blue was incredible, with the patterns causing a marble like effect in the ice! We also came across a small stream running down the middle of the glacier which we were encouraged to drink from. Icelanders really are proud of their fresh water! After walking across the top, we then made the descent back down. I really appreciated our group leaving early, as many other groups had then started to appear on the glacier – ice rush hour! We also saw people ‘ice climbing’!
In total we were on the ice for around an hour and half, with the walk to and from the ice base taking about 30mins each way. Our guides were very knowledgable, educating us on many of the aspects of Icelandic culture, the environment and glaciers. As with everything in Iceland, it was slightly on the pricey side, costing around £70. Solheimajokull Glacier is approximately two hours drive from Reykjavik, and Extreme Iceland offer a collection and drop off from your accommodation in the city, along with including this activity as part of a day tour.
It was a great morning activity, and again one that I would highly recommend! A glacier hike isn’t often available as a holiday activity, so I was really excited to do this! Some points felt tricky enough climbing that it justified being called an ‘extreme activity’, along with regularly hearing rocks falling down the mountains on either side of us! It definitely was not a leisurely stroll in the snow!