AWOL in Iceland

AWOL in Iceland

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It’s been a crazy year of adventure travel for me. South America and the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race took up most of my February. Then it was a trek in Nepal to Mount Everest for three weeks in April. Now, this week I am heading to Iceland.

The plan: I am joining a group to climb the tallest peak in the country. While we’ll be staying far clear of Iceland’s infamous — and seemingly unpronounceable! — Eyjafjallajokull volcano, the country’s high point of Hvannadalshnúkur (also a volcano) should provide ample adrenaline in itself.

Climbers on the ascent of Hvannadalshnúkur. Photo © Icelandic Mountain Guides

At 6,922 feet, Hvannadalshnúkur is not a huge peak. But remember that this is a small island nation. Elevation gains are counted from sea level, not high mountain plateaus. Hvannadalshnúkur is a volcanic peak about 100KM from the smoking Eyjafjallajokull. It is the highest point on the island and a part of Skaftafell National Park.

Our group will climb with Icelandic Mountain Guides on the daylong adventure. Talus slopes, snow, ice, hidden crevasses, and roped glacier traverses are part of the daylong trip to the top.

Hvannadalshnúkur. Photo © Icelandic Mountain Guides

Stay tuned next month for a post including some narrative on my adventure up Hvannadalshnúkur. I will post photos from the climb, too. That is if I don’t get stranded in Reykjavik from an ash plume clouding the sky.

Bless! (Means “goodbye” in Icelandic, apparently) Off to catch a plane. . .

—Stephen Regenold wrote on Hvannadalshnúkur and international adventure travel for his new blog on

Stephen Regenold
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.