Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing Iceland


While I was on a trip through Iceland with Matt, Expert Vagabond’s travel blogger, I was both excited and nervous about our partnership with Arctic Adventures, an Icelandic adventure tour operator.

I’m thrilled to be exploring the best places in Iceland.

Because I’m afraid of heights, I get nervous. Also, cold water. Also, small spaces. The dark.

Yes, I’m a total scaredy cat. It’s a fact I will be the first one to admit. It’s hard for me to control the things that make my heart beat a little faster. However, I have done my best in my travels to overcome my fears.

This is why I leapt out of a plane at 12,000ft in New Zealand to save my tandem skydiver buddy. That’s why I received my PADI diver certification despite being terrified of the deep sea.

Matt and I would join Arctic Adventures’ Blue Ice Glacier Tour for an entire day of icy exploration. We met our group in Reykjavik’s city center and started our journey to Solheimajokull (say it 5 times fast).

It took us about two hours to reach the glacier. When we arrived at the glacier, it was a typical Icelandic storm. The adventure continues, regardless of the weather!

It was my first time using ice axes or crampons, and I must admit that I was intimidated by the metal and spikes. All I could think of was “What did I get into?” !”

We got into our gear and started the Icelandic glacier hiking/ice climbing adventure!

Walking to the glacier

The walk to the glacier was breathtaking!

My crampons are basically spikes that you wear to grip the ice better.

The glacier is “crawling”, meaning it is always moving. Every day, it shrinks and grows, changing the ice formation. It might look very different if you visited in Winter and returned in Spring.

It was amazing.

Glaciers were always big blocks of ice floating in middle of the ocean. Solheimajokull, however, is a glacial tongue, which is rugged and riddled in ice caves.

After arriving at the glacier, we were taken to safe areas that we could hike. The glacier was a colorful mosaic of blue ice and black volcanic rocks.

After we had climbed over massive cracks, holes, and glacial waterfalls we reached the ice wall we were about to climb. The fear began to set in.

I didn’t want anyone to see how scared I was so I offered to be one the first ones to go. I was handed ice climbing axes, and was harnessed to a rope that was attached at the top of the wall. One guide would hold the other end of my line and adjust the slack to make sure I didn’t fall.

The ice wall that I was about to climb

There was no danger to me and I would have been hung like an ornament if I fell from the wall. The scary part was not going up. It’s always the down that I find difficult to comprehend.

I pushed my crampons into ice walls and slammed my fingers in until they were firm enough to hold. Then I started my climb to the top. It was easy to maneuver the ice wall, and I reached the top without falling.

I then closed my eyes, preparing myself for the “trustfall” of a lifetime.

As instructed, I leaned back and was able moonwalk slowly back down the ice wall. I exhaled a huge sigh of accomplishment as I firmly planted my feet on the ground.

This was the best Outdoor Explorer Badge I have ever earned.

The guides discovered a cool ice cave as we were wrapping up our tour. The ice looked bright blue as the light reflected through it. It was stunning!

After our hike on the glacier, we drove back to Reykjavik to make one final stop at the famous Icelandic Skogafoss falls. Although the weather was not ideal for photos, it was stunning to see in person.

Skogafoss Falls

The guides were amazing in leading us through the glacier. It was amazing, even in the rain. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Iceland. Even if you are a big scaredy pant like me.

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