Mountain climbing is like a life lesson… when you climb you need courage and strength with prudence of course! Step by step, one at a time you conquer each step to achieve greater heights, ultimate goal is to reach the top! A minor momentary negligence can cause a fall and may destroy everything. So that taught me not to do anything hastily in life, be aware of each step, and plan from the beginning what I wanna achieve to reach the top!
On the way to the Glacier
When I was in Iceland, I went out for a day to the Sólheimajökull Glacier. Along the way, the view was spectacular and amazing! We drove down to the South West side of Iceland, where million tonnes of Glaciers or snow accumulated. A lot of people asked me why Iceland? My answer was, “why not?” haha… Only in Iceland, you will see Ice (Glaciers) mixed with Fire (Volcanoes), so you will expect the landscape be really rewarding and inspiring. You can testify it yourself whether my trip is worth it. 🙂
Because there were absolutely no one and due to it’s low population in Iceland. I can do whatever I want in the middle of the road. This was actually my top bucket list to do in Iceland! Sitting in the middle of the road and of course my KJS! haha
At Sólheimajökull Glacier
Once I arrived, I was totally captivated by the unique beauty of the landscape. With the rest of the crew and new mates, we walked across this magnificent phenomenon rugged, raw and ever changing hub of ancient frozen water. As the glacier is actually crawling slowly down towards the Artic ocean, and forms a long outlet of ice, people call this natural phenomenon as “ice tongue”.
Of course, it was awesome because I felt so much safer with my guide. Glacier can be a very very dangerous place due to the harsh weather and unknown “natural traps”. My guide took me to explore the outlet of glacier with it’s amazing ice formation, crevasses, sink holes and the deep cracks of jagged ridges.
Glacier Ice Cave aka Crystal Cave
Ice Cave – another natural phenomenon and a truly mesmerizing wonder of nature that I only saw it before on geography books or television. Finally I got to see a real crystal blue ice cave, I was thrilled and excited! A typical Ice Cave will need to contain a LARGE significant amount of perennial ice. At least with a temperature of zero degrees celsius all year round and water must have traveled into the cave’s coldest area. Cutting out an Ice Cave will take millions years! All these, probably existed or started to formulate during dinosaur years! 🙂
Black Dirty Glacier?
My guide also explained why some parts of the glacier is black, not because it’s dirty. It was the aftermath of the famous volcano eruption in 2010 by the E15 (people can’t pronouce that, but I’ve learnt) haha the Eyjafjallajokull (pronounce something like Ayer-Flaka-Yo-Kull), so it was caused by the eruption thick lava ashes that stained the glacier. However, Glacier loves to be clean, and they will take some time to “clean themselves up”. According to my guide, the Icelandic people predicts and giving pre-warnings for Mount Hekla to erupt! It is believed to be a bigger eruption than Eyjafjallajokull.
Icelandic’s 10 minutes weather
People call Iceland as “the whole island is air conditioned!” Iceland is cool, oceanic climate is consider as mild weather during it’s harsh winter due to the warm Gulf Stream from Mexico. Summers are short and is the best time to visit due to it’s brightness. Only in Iceland where you can catch the world renowned Midnight Sun (Summer) and the my personal favourite – The Northern Lights (Winter).
Good news or bad news, weather in Iceland is really extremely unpredictable and changeable AT ALL TIMES! Oh god! haha You must always prepared for the unexpected and it just keeps changing and changing every 10 minutes. Like drastic changes! The Icelandic people will tell ya “if you don’t like the weather, just wait for 10 minutes, it will change.” A typical weather experience in Iceland, can goes Bright Sunshine –> Strong Sleek Storm –> Heavy Downpour of Snow –> Rain –> Strong Wind –> Bright Sunshine again so on and so forth. I was being hit by different kind of Artic storm so many times when i was in Iceland! It can be brutal and not fun at all! BUT… still an experience! 🙂
Finally, I walked to a high thick ice wall. The guide spent some time setting up the safety tools and equipment for us. You will need:
- Ice axes (for stabilising not for climbing, many of us thought that ice axes are for your hands to climb. It’s actually for balancing)
- Crampons (wearing a good shoe is very important! I gotta recommend Timberland’s Low Ventilated Hiking Boots with Gore-Tex®) It’s ventilated, meaning no stinky smell from your sweat feet, it’s gore-tex material, hence very comfortable and it’s waterproof. My feet dipped into the Icy water in Greenland, people were thinking my feet should be extremely cold and wet. Well, my feet was actually perfectly dry and warm! haha Note: I’m not doing an advertising for them! haha It’s truly highly recommended by me. Oh, yea Crampons is for you to walk around in the icy slippery glacier.
- Safety lines (for climbing)
This is not compulsory, especially for those who might scare of height or not enough strength to do the climbing, BUT the brave ones will definitely be rewarded throughout the whole climb with stunning natural sights and completing an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience! You basically gotta use your legs power to climb, not using hands cause hands are used for supporting and balancing yourself. This is actually NOT AN EASY TASK AT ALL! Just be patience, step by step will get you up there! haha… A Must Do!
I totally expended all my strength for the climb! haha
On the way back to Reykjavik, we stopped by and visited Skógafoss waterfall. One of the most spectacular and probably one of the biggest Iceland’s waterfall with the width of 25 meters and the drop height of 60 meters! I saw the beautiful rainbow when I was there, and a nice American couple helped me took the KJS at the waterfall with the rainbow (SCORED 100 points) haha, In return, I wanted to help them take a nice shot as well, they hesitated a bit, but when they decided to, the rainbow disappeared! oh uh…. well, rainbows don’t wait! So, general tip: DO NOT WAIT! 🙂
Compare to the the big scale waterfall I have been to i.e. Victoria falls (in Zimbabe) and Niagara falls (in USA and Canada), Skogafoss is considered much smaller. However, I was really impressed with this amazing, gorgeous, majestic landscape and the massive of water plunging down giving everyone a “little sprinkle” haha An amazing experience I should say.
There is a beautiful legend about this waterfall. A viking settler hid his treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. Decades later, a local boy found the chest of treasure and only able to take one handle before the heavy chest fell into the bottom and disappeared. As the boy was only able to retrieve the one ring handle which was later used for the church door at Skogar, now a museum. 🙂
Some Tips: There was a hiking trail up to the mid point and the top of the waterfall. I think the most beautiful sight of this waterfall is to admire it from the bottom rather than wasting your energy to hike all the way up. Just my 5 cents worth for those who may think is worth climbing. It will takes about 15 minutes at least for both way up and down! 🙂
When you are in Iceland, do give Ice Climbing a try, and definitely you can’t miss visiting a glacier! What’s the odds for you (especially I’m from Singapore) to see HUGE MASSIVE PIECE OF ICE? haha Only in Iceland! 🙂
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” ― Clifton Fadiman