Ice Climbing

Glymsgil, Iceland

Dec 26, 2007
Outside Magazine
Ice Climbing in Glymsgil, Iceland

Reykjavík’s hottest hotel    Photo: courtesy, Hotel 101

Contrary to what you might have heard, there is, in fact, ice in Iceland. Known mostly for its epic sagas, outrageous drink prices, and a 67-to-one puffin-to-human ratio, Iceland is also one of the world's best ice-climbing destinations. Most visitors climb 6,952-foot Hvannadalshnúkur, the island's highest peak (and an active volcano). But the best ice climbing is found one hour north of Reykjavík, in a canyon called Glymsgil. There's a 600-foot frozen waterfall; 40 different routes with at least two pitches each; and, nearby, a hot-springs-fed river for relaxation. "Will Gadd loves coming here to ice-climb," says Einar Torfi Finnsson, co-owner of Reykjavík's Icelandic Mountain Guides ($600 per day for a private guide in Glymsgil; For people who prefer their ice in a glass, the Ölstofan and Café Oliver bars, in downtown Reykjavík, are favorite local watering holes.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Stay at 101 hotel, a luxury boutique property that displays the work of prominent local artists. If you want a taste of authentic local flavor, order the baked bacalao (salted cod fish). Doubles, $555;