This is a great chance to visit one of the most stunning ice caves that form in the winter months in the outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull, the biggest glacier in Europe. The trip is an incredible experience that many people won´t have in their lifetime and we are excited to take you one of our favorite ice cave this winter.
In the Sapphire Ice Cave Tour we go with small party of max 5 clients to ice cave that is not as easy for the crowds as the Crystal Ice Cave so this trip is well suited for photographers and nature and mountain loving people that want to be able to visit a beautiful ice cave with the first and most experienced ice cave company of Iceland. There might be more companies coming with like minded people, but we will have plenty of time on our tour so if we need to wait them out we will.
If weather is difficult at the time, we might visit more than one ice cave where we don’t need to hike far, instead on committing on long hike on glacier in crazy weather.
On this about 5-7hour trip we will drive for half to one hour from our base in Fagurhólsmýri to the parking for the ice cave and head up onto the ice to visit the cave. The hiking route is normally over 3 km long each way. Once at the cave you will have plenty of time to explore, take in the deep blue ice and to take photos. This tour does involve walking on uneven terrain and is reasonably physical and so we rate this trip as moderate.
The winter 2017-18 we are normally going to ice caves we call Treasure Island Ice Cave and Lightroom Ice Cave (just 50 meters apart).
We cannot guarantee that other independent companies will not be operating the same location but so far there have at least been smaller and fewer groups going there than to the Crystal Ice Cave, since the hike to Treasure Island is long.
Transport with a super 4×4 jeep or truck. Mountaing guide and ice cave guidance to the Ice Cave. Helmet + headlamp & climbing harness with lanyard for rope safety & ice axe & crampons when needed.
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. I occasionally use long lens for some details higher up in the ice cave ceiling but mostly I use wide angle.
The route we take includes normally 2 miles of hiking each way, and sometimes the last part is on glacier. So we will use crampons, and glacier safety gear when needed.
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.
MEETING POINT FOR ICECAVING TOURS IN WINTER:
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.
Inreb_12First Class Ice Cave Experience!
I have traveled to Iceland the last 3 winters and have gone on ice cave tours with Einar on each those visits. You won’t find a more experienced or accommodating guide than Einar to explore Iceland’s spectacular ice caves. If you are a serious photographer like me you will appreciate the effort he makes to provide the best possible settings for great pictures.