From time to time I join the trips organized by the hiking guide Einar Skulason. They crowd is kind of cool, you are always able to find somebody fun to chat to while you walk. Einar tells fun stories and those trips usually go really smoothly.
They are, quite frankly, a great way to highlight cool hiking trails that my readers might enjoy. So I try to join all of these trips if I can. In the beginning of January day I joined Einar et al on a popular hiking trail which takes you across three hills close to Reykjavik. These hills are close to Bláfjöll skiing area and are called Eldborg (´Fire City´ – a large crater), Drottning (Queen) and Stóra-Kóngsfell (Large Kings´s Hill).
As usual we started the day really early. We joined together to minimize the number of cars going to Blafjöll. It was a cold day and everything was covered in ice and snow but fortunately we were all dressed for it. As usual I had stocked up on high octane provisions, I look at winter hiking trips as an excellent excuse for eating a lot of chocolate bars. If you have to know, Snickers is my favorite. Anyway, we started out walking past Eldborg, an impressive crater. Then we came to Drottning Hill and that´s where things started to get a bit interesting. We all had our crampons on and the ascent to Drottning was easy. However, the descent was challenging. The slope was steep and at times there was slippery ice underneath the hard-packed snow. I found myself supporting a lady who almost froze up there and I have to say that vertigo was ´knocking on the door´ for me as well. Fortunately, I got it under control and we had help from an experienced member of the legendary SAR rescue teams who had joined the hike and he made a path for us with an an ice-ax.
The last part down the slope was easy but there were some people that needed further help so we waited for them for a while. This underscores that you should never underestimate Icelandic hills and have the proper equipment and experience and guidance when hiking in Iceland. There are some excellent tips on the Safetravel web site. The ascent to Stóra-Kóngsfell was slightly doubtful but Einar and company found a safe way up and down.
The view up there is pretty great but boy was it cold! Although there was a bit of ice and a lot of snow on the rocky hill the descent was easy. The crampons made it safe and easy and yet another great hike was at its conclusion.
Here is a GPS map of the trip. Hope that helps you to find your way 🙂