There are many right places in the world to go Ice climbing, but there is one very special called an island of fire and ice. It allows you to do ice climbing all year round!

There are a few countries in the world where you can go ice climbing, to Canada in the Rockies, Norway (Rjukan), United States, Francia or even Spain (Pyrennes). An Ice climber will climb ice walls, mountain gulleys, frozen waterfalls, glaciers or even icebergs (careful with these!).
But today, I will talk about Iceland, the island of Ice.

Iceland’s geographic location, “66° North”, positions this country basically in the middle of nowhere and at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Its climate depends on changeable moods of our mother Nature.
The Golf Stream usually bring warm air fronts and quite a lot of precipitations. Fronts from the North, from Greenland, on the other hand, will cool the air down resulting in chilly and sunny days.
I wish this explanation would be the definitive one, but it´s not. Many times there are all four year seasons in one day, and the weather patterns are far complicated than that. I am not going to go in detail in this matter as the weather science is far away from my expertise as a guide. ( For those who are interested I can get you some links on Icelandic weather directly from the experts; let me know in the comments). But this type of weather is beneficial for Iceland to have a lot of glacier ice, which we love for climbing.

Falljokull Outlet Glacier in the South East of Iceland.

So, if you visit Iceland and you want to do ice climbing there will be plenty. And what is actually very convenient that you can do it even in the Summertime!!!! Why?!?!??!? It´s because in Iceland we have these fantastic and massive glaciers. So, this way you can do ice climbing all year round. Isn´t that amazing?!

We have glaciers mostly on the South Coast, with the biggest Icecap called Vatnajokull, a little bit difficult to pronounce, right? Several outlet glaciers on the coast offer a possibility of Ice climbing in the summer and wintertime. And it´s fantastic and exciting.

Ice climbing in a big glacial crevasse
Ice Climbing in a big Crevasse on Skaftafell Glacier, South East Iceland.

In the winter the chances of ice increase as during cold weekdays we get frozen waterfalls which offer amazing ice climbing. Some of the falls are actual waterfalls that freeze overtime but also sometimes on top of the mountains some swamps leak water continuously forming very solid icefall. One of the examples would be a Mula mountain in Hvalfjördur, in West Iceland.

Outlet Glacier to go Ice climbing with easy access.

  • Solheimajökull Glacier, 2hrs from Reykjavik.
  • Falljökull Glacier, Skaftafell, 5hrs from Reykjavik.
  • Skaftafelljökull Glacier, Skaftafell. Sometimes the access might get complicated, because of the glacier river flowing just next to the glacier.
  • Svinafelljökull Glacier, Skaftafell. It is a fantastic outlet glacier, but for the last years we had landslide warnings, and it is still to confirm the final risk possibility by the experts.
  • We have other outlet glaciers in the East part of Iceland, but there is a good jeep required to get there, or the approach is pretty long. I can send you info on the other glaciers worth checking, just drop me a line.

Mountains, Gulleys worth checking in the wintertime. There are 1147 ice routes to discover! For a more extensive list and grades, click HERE.

  • Múlafjall, Hvalfjördur
  • Glymur Canyon, Hvalfjördur
  • Esja, very close to Reykjavik
  • Brynjudalur

In the next articles, I will talk more in detail about how to prepare to go ice climbing. What kind of gear it´s necessary, how to interpret ice or the right places to go. And finally what to consider to climb safely and still enjoy it!!!