"Amazing to be on the top of the world"

Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir on top of the world on Hvannadalshnjúkur which …

Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir on top of the world on Hvannadalshnjúkur which is 2110 m high.

The foodblogger Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir managed to get to the top of Hvannadalshnjúkur the other day. It is her second attempt, but last time she had to back down because of the weather. She says it is a feeling like no other to stand on the highest mountain in Iceland.

"Hvannadalshnjúkur during a yellow alert! This will be something. Are you not ready my little hotties to put on those mittens? That's how me and my girlfriends were talking in the days leading to the trip and we could both feel excitement and a little anxiety facing our next feat.The hotelrooms were full of equipment we needed to sort out and it sure was good to be well prepared for such a long day where we could expect all kinds of weather. We managed to sleep for just over four hours before we all met by Sandfell at 05:00 AM," Hreiðarsdóttir says.

The weather was great most of the way.

The weather was great most of the way.

The weather plays a big role when you take on Hvannadalshnjúkur and this time we moved the trip up a day in order to get better visibility. However, there was a yellow alert and a lot of wind and cold temperatures in the charts so we were prepared for the worst.

The hike up to Hvannadalshnjúkur takes a few hours and …

The hike up to Hvannadalshnjúkur takes a few hours and you need to be fit, but not necessarily an experienced mountaineer.

We went with the Fjallhalla Adventures and Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson with Öræfaferðir was our main mountain guide along with Ólafur Þór Kristinsson . We started out a group of thirteen, but only a few of us managed to get to the top due to illness and some were really feeling fatigued and had to turn back.

Not a cloud in the sky

Einar has gone up Hvannadalshnjúkur 319 times and it is impossible to find a more seasoned guide in the area in the world. He knew exactly what to expect weather-wise and knew we would be sheltered in the beginning of the trip but then it would start blowing and getting cooler. But the view! Oh my god there was not a cloud in the sky for most of the trip. Then we were lucky that the forecast had been a bit harsher than the weather we actually got, which was a huge plus.

It didn´t take us too long ascend up to 1000 m height and then you know you are halfway there when it comes to the elevation. The next bit of the walk is a slow and steady walk all the way over the so called „Death Hill“, but this hill gets its name because it seems endless. You just see the hill in front of you and walk and walk and it never seems to end.

It's a long way to the top, but it is …

It's a long way to the top, but it is one step at a time.

When you finally reach the top, a relatively flat area lies ahead, but it is harder than it seems. The snow is deep and it is good to follow in each other‘s footsteps. This part takes around two hours and then you have to climb the last part at the end to get to the top.

Before we started going up the „Death Hill“ a part of the group had to turn back because of two people falling ill. It was really sad to see them go, but the correct response by our mountain guides because these are not circumstances where you take risks. Einar guided them down and Ólafur got the rest of us to the top.

Berglind with her friends Ester and Guðrún at the top …

Berglind with her friends Ester and Guðrún at the top in great spirits.

The last climb looks deceptively easy but is steeper than it looks and it is important to have ice axes and wear glacier spikes because you don’t want to slide down. It took us around 45 minutes or an hour to get to the top, but the elevation at this final part of the hike is 250 m, which is quite exhausting after a long walk.

Berglind tried to jump with her heavy rucksack after 10 …

Berglind tried to jump with her heavy rucksack after 10 hours of walking. We think she did quite well!

We were exhilarated to get to the top in great visibility and it is an amazing feeling to be on top of the world on the highest mountain peak in Iceland. It was simply wonderful!

We needed to thread carefully on the downslope and once we got down the first 250 metres and could take off our glacier spikes and pack the axes the weather got worse with less visibility. We didn’t see much going down the “Death Hill” but one we got to 1500 m elevation, the clouds parted and we had outstanding views and the rest of the trip was very enjoyable.

The weather got worse the first metres down but after …

The weather got worse the first metres down but after a while it cleared and the rest of the way downwards was very good with stunning views.

I cannot express enough how grateful I am to be able to go on these mountain trips. It is a privilege to be healthy and get older and I hope I will be able to continue my fun trips to the mountains for many years to come.”

Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir was both literally and figuratively on top of …

Berglind Hreiðarsdóttir was both literally and figuratively on top of the world by getting to the top of Hvannadalshnjúkur.

Weather

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9 °C