Icelandic Ice
posted on March, 2020

None of us three had ever been in Iceland, neighter
me nor my boyfriend Marco or our friend Maurizio, so
our excitement was big. As the name Iceland
suggests, there was much to expect for us
iceclimbers. Already the first view of the island
from the window of our airplane, coloured in pink by
the last sunlight of the day, was magical.
After we got our rental car, a Defender with 4 wheel
drive and after having picked up also our friend
Matteo, an Italian who lives in Iceland since 7
years and works as a glacier guide, we were ready to
go. We drove to the South-east of the island, to the
Vatnajökull National park which hosts the biggest
glacier of whole Iceland.
After some hours and a very adventurous last part of
the drive on an Offroad track we arrived to our
first climbing spot. The view of this smooth wall
was breathtaking and we quickly choose 2 lines to
climb before dark. To swing our iceaxes and crampons
into this 200 years old ice almost felt like a sin,
fortunately Matteo explained us that the fresh snow
and sunlight would cancel the holes within a few
days. The wall was slightly overhanging and bent
like a sail, the lower part coloured black from the
lava ashes while the upper part was shining bright
blue. A real miracle by mother nature.
The next day we left our apartment with our head ful
of ideas and our backpack ful of gear. As we were
not sure what conditions we would find, we had
decided to bring all our equipment. Unfortunately
the warm weather one week ago had melted all
waterfalls and we found out that all glacier holes
we wanted to climb were covered with snow. But the
major project of the trip, the ice cave was in
perfect condition! This cave had been created by a
river making it's entrance into the glacier, the
tunnel being bright in the outer part and becoming
darker and darker inside. Maurizio immediately
started to prepare a route and pre-place the ice
screws on the steep overhanging wall.
As we always try to visit as much sites as possible
additional to climbing, we decided to take one day
to see the lagoon and diamond beach. Here enormous
blocks of ice break from the glacier and float
through the lagoon towards the sea. Some of the ice
pieces get thrown back onto the beach by the waves,
where they then lay around, shining as bright as
Now it was time to try our route in the cave and I
was psyched to give my best. After I made it though
the first part of the roof, my iceaxe got stuck and
I had to fight for various minutes before I was able
to free it. Tired but determined I made my way
through the rest of the route and clipped the final
Also Maurizio was able to climb the route and for
the first time we made it back to our apartment
before dark. We spent the rest of the afternoon
cooking a delicious dinner with Icelandic lamb and
local potatoes in the oven.
As we had been following the weather forecast every
day, we knew that the next day a snowstorm would hit
the Island and as the preview was talking about
150km/h of wind speed it was clear that the roads
would be closed as the wind can even break the
windows of the cars and the visibility is almost
zero. So we slept in the next morning and then met
for breakfast while checking the forecast once
again. But there were no good news. The next days, a
new snowstorm was coming and after a quick analysis
it was clear, that we would only be sure to catch
our flight home scheduled after 3 days, if we would
drive to Reykjavik immediately the next morning.
During our last days we could visit the geyser in
the Golden Circle and walk around the old town of
Reykjavik, climbing was impossible.
We learned that in Iceland the beauty of the nature
is unlimited, but so is the forces of the nature.
A huge thank you goes to our friend Matteo, he
showed us some of the most beautiful corners of the

pictures by Matteo Meucci and Marco Servalli