To Go Uphill, All It Takes Is Will

Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir.

Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir. Photo/Contributed

Vala Hafstað

Icelandic mountaineer Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir has climbed many a mountain, been to the South Pole and reached every continent’s highest peak. She is one of the founders of Tindar Travel – a company that organizes all sorts of hiking trips.

She tells Morgunblaðið that no talent is needed for hiking in the mountains. All it takes is will.

This is what she advises people who have no hiking experience:

“It’s important not to start too abruptly, but to gradually increase the distance and the height... You quickly build up endurance, and before you know it, you’ve made new friends and discovered new trails.”

Setting goals is important, Vilborg states. “Such as climbing a new mountain every month, completing a certain distance, or reaching a certain elevation. Hiking in the mountains and outdoor activities have a very positive effect on your mental wellbeing and your physical health – especially on your heart and your vascular system.”

“[Before hiking,] I always recommend thinking about safety, for example, by choosing well marked trails, by keeping your cell phone fully charged and preferably taking along a portable charger for longer hikes, by being warmly dressed and by bringing along sufficient nutrition.” She recommends the hiking apps Wapp and Wikiloc, where you can look up all the main hiking trails. (See our story on the Wapp here ).

Shoes with a good sole and good support are important, she states. “I always tell people to buy wool clothing before buying any other gear for hiking, since wool is a must for hiking in Iceland.”

“I experience so much freedom in the mountains,” Vilborg states. “Challenging yourself in nature is good for you and makes you grow in surprising ways.”




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