Alex Hoffmann is back from his Marmot Rides Icleand Trip and tells us about splitboarding in Iceland.
When you hear Iceland maybe you think in terms as economic problems, volcanoes, Eyjafjallajokull, song contest ... . To connect with splitboarding in Iceland you need a bit "exotic" thinking. I myself honestly have not even played with the idea, until Marmot asked me to participate in their Icleand trip.
Shure, I immediately agreed and started to search Google Maps if there are any mountains right there. The Result -> looks quite OK. So I pack my bags, go to the airport and off to Iceland. Approaching Rekjavik continuous storm, looking out of the window on the bus heading north virtually no snow, lifeless land, rain. Was it really a good idea? On the arrival in the port city of Akureyri there was the first really positive experiences. Very cozy hostel, extremely open and helpful people and not little snow. Near Akureyri I did my first splitboard tour in the surrounding mountains.
The landscape is really breathtaking. No people far and wide, endless summits which are waiting to be climbed and down in the valley always fjords. From then on, all doubts were gone. Iceland's wilderness with endless potential of tours and decents that would last for two pure lifes. The only downer was that the snow is mostly hard to icy due to constant wind and low temperatures. After the first icy shred we know why Iceland is called Iceland.
So the most important accessories you need for splitboarding in Iceland are the crampons. After a few runs you get an eye for which white is ice, and where you can have fun riding.
When the wind blows out the snow everywhere you just have to look where it`s blown in, and then you can find really good conditions.
Somewhat more difficult is to assess the avalanche situation. We have seen no avalanche report and I'm not sure if there is one like we know it from Europe and the US. On one day we talk about the situation and decided that it is more than secure. But how wrong you can be, especially if you are not in your observed area showed an afternoon. By noon we already had some rough descents on compact snow and ice, we just looked around, watching the mountains an avalanche thundered down into the valley.
Nevertheless, the positive experiences surpass all expectations. Splitting above the fjords, riding down to sea level to unbuckle the splitboard on the beach and watch the surfable waves in the ocean, the northern lights in the night, a first descent on the port city of Isafjordur in a narrow gully with perfect powder, the incredible scenery , the open hospitable people ...
For those who are ready for an adventure to Iceland it just can be recommended.
Touring area around Akuregri:
From the port city you can see already some of the demanding Southeast colouires. Those can be achieved either directly from the street by splitting up as far as the conditions (snow and steepness) allow, than you change to the crampons and climb on with you board on the backpack. The advantage by accessing the gullies that way is that you can check the riding conditions and find out whether a gully is rideble or not. Just a few lines go through and it is difficult to see from the top. Alternatively, you can also split up from the backside. A leisurely tour which leads through an unspoiled valley at moderate steepness up to the ridge of the mountain range. From there you can reach all entrances without making more altimeters. Other routes can be made virtually anywhere starting at the street. From open faces to narrow gullies you can find everything you like. So it is just a question about going there and explore what Iceland has to offer.
Check out the blog of Alex as well