Vatnajokull Ski Traverse
Oh, how we love this expedition. It's beautiful, it's exciting, it's challenging and it's so much fun! But the best part about this polar-style expedition is that it's not at the ends of the Earth, which makes it a lot more accessible. Located in south west Iceland, Vatnajökull covers 8,100 square km of snow and ice and boasts numerous volcanoes including Grímsvötn (Iceland’s most active volcano) and Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m). This spectacular glacier offers the perfect location for this classic ski/pulk adventure. In fact, if your dream is to go to Antarctica or Greenland, but your wallet says otherwise, Vatnajokull is the perfect adventure hack. Like its polar cousins (Greenland, Svalbard...) Vatnajökull has unpredictable weather with potential for strong winds and precipitation but on clear days the views are stunning with rocky nunataks and mountain peaks surrounding the glacier. But don't be fooled by its "relaxed latitude" (being sub polar); this expedition will require a ton of grit, fortitude, team work and an intrepid spirit. An adventurer's dream come true.
Dates & Rates
Tentatively May 13-22
TBA (in 2022 the price was $ 5,900 per person)
Participants receive a discount on our 5-day Polar Shakedown Training.
Includes all group equipment, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear, transfer to/from the glacier, most meals.
Meet in Reykjavik. Review clothing & equipment. Evening welcome reception.
Early morning departure for Jokulheimar on the western edge of Vatnajökull. Start skiing in the afternoon.
Skiing towards the Grimsvötn volcano, night in tent. Arrive at Grimsvötn caldera, night at the Grimsfall Hut (based upon availability).
Layover day at the hut. Review glacial travel skills for the upcoming days.
Descend off the Grimsvötn caldera and change our course towards Hermannaskaro Pass.
This expedition is for people who are in good shape and are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. The days can be long and the skiing, though not technically difficult requires that you maintain an appropriate pace. You will need to have very good cardiovascular endurance and the ability to pull a sled (between 25-35 kilos) for several hours at a time. Most importantly you need to be able to regulate your body temperature so that you do not get too cold, or too hot while you are on the move. Towards the end of the day when we stop skiing, it is critical that you have the energy reserves to help with the group camp chores.
This expedition can encounter extreme conditions including high winds, limited visibility, snow, rain, and cold temperatures. Living in such conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging. You do not have to be a world class athlete to participate in and enjoy this expedition, but every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer.
Please contact us with further questions!
Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants. Please contact us for more information about your personal gear and group gear for this expedition.
Several items on our equipment checklist are available from our store.