Mountaineering Ice Cave Tour

Öræfaferðir - FromCoastToMountains


Some of the best ice caves are often quite far up the valley, and it might be very hard to get a big group there, while one qualified mountain guide with 1 or 2 clients on short rope can easily get there. Thats why we will offer some Mountaineering Ice Cave Tour every week of winter 2017-18.






The cave we choose from day to day depends on time of winter, weather and other conditions at the time. We always go to the most interesting ice cave available at each given time. We normally go into one cave per trip, but if there are more ice caves along the way that we would stop there too.

Mountaineering Ice Cave Tour is the version suited for 1-2 serious photographers that want to make sure they get the best experience possible to photograph an ice cave. In some cases we would walk several km up the glacier to get to ice cave where hopefully nobody else would be at the same time, but if weather or ice cave conditions (or your physical state) don’t allow that, we might have to go to more crowded ice cave but then we would have plenty of time to get photos, hopefully between new group coming and going. The guide will adjust the trip to the conditions at the time, and since he will not be booking anything else on the same day it is guarantied that he can focus on doing the best he can to make the trip a success. The reason for only 1-2 persons on the trip is that on the normal version of this trip we normally need to walk up slippery glacier route that in some cases is only safe for a mountain guide to have 2 clients to hold on a short rope, in case of fall on the slippery glacier.

If you want to have a private tour for you alone with our mountain guide, you can simply book both the spaces. We guarantee that then we don’t add another client. The same applies if you want more serious mountaineering instead of having the main emphasis on getting to photograph an ice cave. Book both spaces, or have a like minded friend booking the other space, and let us know that ice climbing and mountaineering would be more important than long time on photography, and we will plan the trip to suit you.

Difficulty: Challenging! If you are not up to about 8-10 km hike make sure you book both the spaces, or have a friend book the other space, and we will do a private trip that suits your ability.

What’s included?
Transport and guidance to the best ice cave available depending on conditions, and weather and your ability. We take the time we need to be successful of making ice cave photos on the trip. Might be finished in 5 hours, but might need 6-8 hours in difficult conditions.

What do I need to bring?
Warm outdoor clothing. Good boots, gloves and some snacks/drink. Be careful to wear hat that can be inside the helmet. Tripod and wide angel lens is a must in ice cave photography, but don’t bother too much with flash etc. Bring good back pack.

Duration about about 5-7 hours.
The duration of the tour depends on several things; How far we need to drive, how far we have to walk and how complicated the ice cave is. We always stay long enough for serious photography in the ice cave.

We are located in the heart of Vatnajökull region, 350 km away from Reykjavík.

We are restoring an old building by the main road at Fagurhólsmýri that will be our meeting point for the ice cave tours  We share this building with our daughter company Local Guide and they run their glacier walks and ice cave tours from there. A small café called Café Vatnajökull also operates in the same building.

The starting point for the Ingólfshöfði tour is only 5 min drive away, first 800 meters to the west on the main road, and then 2 km by a gravel road down to the Ingólfshöfði parking.

Local Guide HQ in Fagurhólsmýri (N1 fuel automat at the same location).
1/2 hour east of Skaftafell and 1/2 hour west Jökulsárlón in southeast Iceland.
GPS: N63° 52.865 W16° 38.780 (WGS84, Degree-Minutes.Minutes) or 63.881083 and -16.646333 (WGS84, Hd .d°)

Words from Einar, founder and manager of Öræfaferðir

My name is Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson and I manage the travel service FromCoastToMountains (In Icelandic  the company is called “ÖRÆFAFERÐIR – frá fjöru til fjalla (Frá fjöru til fjalla means From Coast To Mountains).

We live on the farm Hofsnes in the county Öræfi, but Öræfi has been the residence of my family since the settlement of Iceland around the year 900 AD.

I’m proud of my great grandfather Páll Jónsson in Svínafell who in 1891 was the first person in the world to climb Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, when he and Þorlákur Þorláksson, also from Svínafell in Öræfi, guided the British traveller Frederick W. Howell to the top. My great grandfather Páll went at least couple of times to the top of Hvannadalshnúkur after this, for example guiding the Danish soldiers that made maps of Iceland aorund 1904. I would say that this makes my great grandfather the first mountain guide in Iceland 🙂

It were also my relatives who were the first to climb to the main top crater in 1800 meters altituide of the volcano Oraefajokull as early as 1794 (guiding Sveinn Pálsson, and 1813 guiding Hans Frisak from Norway).

Of course I’m also very proud of my father. My father Sigurður Bjarnason started to do a bird watching and history trip to Ingólfshöfði in 1991, when he gave up sheep farming and found a new use for his hay cart. In the spring 1994 I started to guide people up to the top of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. Now I have been 297 times on the top of Hvannadalshnúkur which is a world record.

Since 2000 when I married Matthildur Unnur (or Matta) she and me have been doing more and more of the trips to Ingólfshöfði, and at the same time my father has been retiring. He is born 1932 so he deserves to take it easy. I’m actually the oldest (in working years) mountain guide of the country. I’m born in 1968, but I started to offer mountain guiding in spring 1994 (wich makes my company the oldest mountain guiding company in the country 🙂

And of course I’m extra proud of our oldest son Aron Franklín (born 1991) how was helping me and Matta doing the trips for several years and his fiancée Helen María Björnsdóttir has also been doing the trips with us since fall 2013. Now Aron and Helen have founded a younger branch of the family company called Local Guide of Vatnajökull.


Öræfaferðir / From Coast to Mountains

Tel: +354 894 0894

Email: [email protected]

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The highlight of our Iceland trip (besides seeing the Aurora Borealis) was the Private Ice Cave Photo Tour. We chose Einar because he was one of the first (if not the first) guides leading tours to the ice caves since the 90s, and because we wanted a private tour with sufficient time to photograph the ice cave without a lot of people. He was very helpful in getting us through the hike and to the ice cave. He also provided some advice on different photo compositions, given his experience in the caves and his amazing photos online and in various articles. While the best time for the caves is in the Winter (and we went in the Fall when there was a lot of rain), we still had a great time. We definitely recommend Einar for an ice cave tour.

edwyunIce Cave Photo Tour - Amazing Experience
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