Fiercely I kicked my ice climbing boot into the light blue ribbed glacier wall, shattering ice below me. It seemed I just couldn’t get the right grip for leverage to pull myself to the top of the glacier wall. Ice climbing was nothing like rock climbing as I expected it would be! Arctic Adventure Blue Ice tour provides you with ice pics (which make for pretty cool photos), crampons (which are 1 1/2 inch silver metal spikes to clip on to hiking boots), a helmet, and a harness which is attached to a safety line drilled deep into the ice glacier above. Essentially, you’re as safe as one could be on a remote Icelandic glacier next to a volcano.
Yes that’s right, I said a volcano, and not just any volcano the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano that erupted in 2010 canceling all European flights for weeks. I’m pretty sure only Icelandic people can pronounce the name unless of course you’re really into geography or a reporter that covered the story in 2010.
However, despite the eminent danger (the tour is rated “easy” so I’m exaggerating here) we decided to travel 2 1/2 hours to the frozen glacial tongue that is the Sólheimajökull glacier. This is a raw, rugged, ever changing hub of ancient frozen water. The sites bring unique views of the light blue glacier, snowy mountain tops, and jagged rocks that can only be described similar to “Mordor” from “Lord of the Rings”. Seriously our guide Thor (an all to appropriate name for a volcanic glacier ice climbing guide), calls it that.
Although most of the three hour hike is pleasant views of snowy white and blue, the “Mordor” area displays a more sinister look that hints to its history. The dark ash and lava rock is due to a 1912 volcanic eruption that led to billions of tons of melted glacial water hurling into the sea and extending the land significantly.In fact, Iceland’s volcanic eruptions have led to many midnight black sand beaches.
This tour is seriously memorable. I highly recommend it for those of all ages (over 14 is required for the tour) because it is not too strenuous or lengthy. Plus the tour guides with Arctic Adventures are brilliant with ample experience and a great sense of humor. In fact I’m going to end this with a helpful yet humorous quote from our guide Thor.
“If you feel you aren’t getting grip with your shoes pretend the glacier is Justin Bieber and stomp harder”
— Thor (Arctic Adventures Guide)