This is the Solheimajokull glacier. It’s a big ass sheet of ice that flows down from the Myrdalsjokull glacier, the fourth largest glacier in Iceland.
And this glacier is soon to be my b-tch.
It’s not everyday you wake up and decide you want to hike a glacier. It’s not everyday that you wake up and decide to book a one-way ticket to Iceland. Nevertheless, this specific glacier hike was part of the South Coast tour with Extreme Iceland and I strapped on my man parts, worked up the courage to hike a glacier on a random Thursday.
We were surrounded by mountains, and the glacier looked massive from a distance. We crept closer and it still looked pretty damn massive. We were equipped with crampons, helmet and a hiking axe before we walked over to the glacier. The crampons are strapped onto your hiking boots, which I had to rent since my Aigle waterproof boots were way too soft on the bottoms. Our tour guide Ragnar proceeded to publicly point out that Tineey and I had the worst possible shoes on for any kind of glacier hiking.
I thought I was super cool with my hiking axe, until I found out that its existence is to prevent you from slipping and sliding into the cracks in the glacier that seem to go on forever. Wait, what? You hold it horizontally, one hand on the end and one hand on the spike, and drag the spike end into the ice to keep you from sliding.
Our tour guide Ragnar gave us the inside scoop on how to prevent falling while on the glacier (including stepping forwards NOT sideways) which have luckily never happened in his many glacier hikes, but it is something that can mean life or death. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FALL. AT ALL.
That little ten minute intro / safety lesson is what hit my nerves before starting the hike. Fear swoops in, and I had a nervous feeling at the pit of my stomach that faded a bit throughout but lasted throughout the entire hike. But then you look up and you feel like you’re in another world.
It’s just me and the Earth, sharing this incredible experience with a good friend and everyone else on this awesome small group tour. I left a horrible job in the city to hike a freaking glacier, and I wouldn’t trade this experience in for anything. The view, the smell, the ambiance – all worth the nerves and completely lifechanging.
So the question is, when are you going?
Photos by me, Tineey and K.Pickle