Friday, July 19, 2013

We Conquer Glaciers

Alright.  My legs are consumed in some serious soreness right now.  If you know me, you'll know one of a couple things.  One, I'm a terrible driver (but that's beside the point), and two, I'm not an athletic person, though I very well try to be or at people try to convince me into thinking that I am.  

The crown jewel of activity for the entire trip was that the latter thought was proven very much wrong.  Kalie and I climbed not only one, but two glaciers, and climbed an ice cliff.  The latter of which again, I'm probably never going to do it again, because as it turns out, I'm incredibly afraid of heights.  Nonetheless, it was absolutely killer to be hanging off of a side of a glacier.

Separated by two days an two different companies (Arcanum Mountain Guides and Icelandic Mountain Guides), we climbed the Sólheimajökull and Vatnajökull glaciers in the Southern part of Iceland.  Both companies outfitted us in picks and cramp-ons, which are used to keep you from slipping into a crevasse.  So now the question is, did I fall into a hole, as some would predict?
... and the answer to that question is, no!  I, however, did twist my ankle twice, but only as a result of my own clumsiness.

For the first hike, we went ice-climbing down Sólheimajökull.  The guide, Thomas, led us to a large ravine, where he set up the belaying equipment.  From there, we took turns with a Brazilian family scaling down the cliff.  Everything was completely safe, as we sat in a harness the entire time, but there were some close calls.  Toward the top, my crampon wouldn't be deep enough in the ice to stick, and the only thing keeping me up was the harness and upper body strength.  After the first few screams (and the fact that they would have to lower me down to the very bottom again to drag me up), I made it to the top of the cliff.  Kalie, on the other hand, had no trouble at all scaling the cliff.

The second attempt at glacier hiking was a little less eventful.  However, it was the largest ice-cap in Iceland, which made for some pretty cool stories, but not so many pictures.  Then again, I admittedly grew a little skittish after the first day of hiking.  Fun fact, however, much of Game of Thrones' North of the Wall scenes were filmed at Vatnajökull.  Hence, even more reason why Jon Snow and I should be together.

A trip to the southern glaciers is not complete without going to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, or as I like to call it, where glaciers go to die.  The lake is filed with pieces of icebergs broken off from glaciers in the mountains, and it's a photographer's dream to go to.  The park offers boat rides for visitors, but a majority will stay ashore just to snap pictures.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts or any future recommendations.  The trip is winding down/is over, as I am sitting in a hot cafe in the Lower East Side in New York, eating the most humongous salad and drinking a smoothie.

No comments:

Post a Comment