How To: Go Snowmobiling on Langjökull

*I took a trip to Iceland back in July and absolutely fell in love with the country of Ice & Fire. In turn I want to inspire as many people as possible to enjoy the land of the vikings. So while all my Iceland posts happened before I began this blog, I couldn’t skip mentioning what an amazing time we had there.*

Langjökull translated from Icelandic means “Long Glacier” it is the second largest glacier in Iceland. An impressive position as the tiny island is home to numerous glaciers. Located in the western Highlands, Langjökull is an impressive sight, high in the mountains it juts out carving the landscape while slowly crawling along.

Now don’t be fooled. Langjökull is a mountain in it’s own right. While from the photo it looks like its a gentle sloping hill, it is in all actuality a MASSIVE ice structure. It has an average height of 1,900 feet. So go ahead & try to walk up a 1,900 foot vertical ice wall. Let me know how it works out.

So how did we manage to scale the ice and actually snowmobile on Langjökull?

By Iceland’s favorite mode of transportation: The 4×4 of course!

We all clamored into the 4×4 and began the very bouncy off-road journey to base camp. Once we arrived we were given snow suits, helmets, gloves and a quick safety talk then it was back into the 4×4 to climb up the glacier to where the snowmobiles actually sat.

The guide gave us another talk about how to operate the snowmobile. Twist for the throttle. Squeeze for the break. Simple enough. With me in the driver’s seat and my mom at the back, we were off.

snowm

It is easy to follow the guide but for the first 100 yards or so there was a man-made path which was even easier to follow. While this may not seem important, many people forget: glaciers are moving landscapes. They have their own mountains, (Langjökull’s highest point is about 4,700 feet up) and deep deep crevasses (it’s deepest goes about 1,000 feet down). Without perspective these mountains can look like gentle slopes and the crevasses can completely disappear & to top it off, glaciers MOVE, so their features are constantly shifting too.

TLDR: Staying on the path and following the guide is important.

It was hands-down one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in my life. We were flying through the cold at 30 mph taking in the gorgeous landscape. Ice is very architectural and creates some beautiful sights. Also I’m adrenaline junkie, anything fast and/or dangerous I automatically love. Snowmobiling is both those things.

My mom asked to drive for a minute or two. Two minutes into her driving she tipped us. No one was hurt but I was in command the rest of the time.

We went through Mountaineers of Iceland. The experience was fantastic. The guides were very knowledgeable. At no point did I ever feel unsafe, even when my mom tipped us over I had confidence that we were in capable hands. And if you’re not in the Golden Circle area, they offer pick-ups from Reykjavik, alternately, (and I only recommend this for the adventurous as the drive to base camp is INTENSE) you can drive yourself to their base camp.

 

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