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Trek at the Doors of Hell (Southern Route)

Offered by Fjallabak Trekking Company

Doors of Hell

Trip Details

  • Location: South Central Iceland
  • Length: 4 days
  • Grade: Strenuous and moderate
  • Accommodations: Mountain huts and tents
  • Group size: 6 – 12
  • Land Cost: $1,400
  • 2019 Dates: June 3 – 6, July 10 – 13, July 24 – 27, August 14 – 17, August 28 – 31,  September 11 – 14. Contact us regarding additional dates.

Hiking Trip Summary

Beautiful hut to hut assisted  4-day trekking along the East and south flank of Mount Hekla, one of Iceland’s best known volcano and through the caldera of Hrafntinnusker in the Fjallabak Natural Reserve
This concentrated itinerary is part of our collection of trips that speak to purist hikers with a spirit of adventure. This year, we are offering several departures for a maximum number of 12 participants. The volcano Mount Hekla and the magic that revolves around its reputation, which goes well beyond Icelands’ shores, has always fascinated man. Considered during the Middle Ages as an access to hell, Ancient Rome in it’s day advised fishermen to see for themselves what lay beyond if they ventured as far. The volcano’s eruptions often ruined the countryside and were the source of worry for the Icelandic people, who feared and revered the volcano at the same time. But what was feared the most was that an eruption from one of the faces of the volcano would ruin its perfect shape.

This beautiful strato-volcano (a volcanic edifice built over centuries through a series of volcanic eruptions) is still active and closely monitored by the volcanologists’ seismographs. We hike along the volcano from a reasonably safe distance in order to maintain safety and we stay informed about the relative volcanic activity.

With the exception of a lightweight day pack, all equipment and luggage is transported by a 4×4 support vehicle.

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Reykjavik – Fjallabak North – Landmannahellir
140 km of road 70 km on tracks – 3-4 hours walking around Landmannahellir

Departure by bus from the Reykjavik bus station at 8:00 AM. Four hours drive and then trail lead through the southern heaths and volcanic desert of Hekla to the meeting point with your guide who is already on the ground. (Unless he leaves Reykjavik with you). The majestic Hekla volcano rises above a grassy plain and marks the entrance to the high volcanic lands. Probably It is Iceland’s most famous (or infamous!) and active volcano  “the Gateway to Hell” (as Hekla was known in the middle ages) The black surroundings, so dark they resemble the blue color of a crow’s feathers. Tiny, we are moving in a completely mineral world of infinite slag plain along the eastern flank of the volcano, which has been vomited most of the cast of the latest eruptions. further on the landscape begins to soften; the green colors of the mosses slowly covering lava fields and the pumices that rain on the land with each eruption.  We walk in the direction of the majestic monolithic crown of Mount Loðmundur, surrounded by marshland and rich pasture, reflecting in the beautiful lake Loðmundarvatn reflecting Mount Loðmundur a flat-topped volcanic monolith that erupted through glacial ice during the Ice Age. Landmannahellir has been for ages and it is still used now by the shepherds as a base when catching thousand sheep in fall after having been grassing free the whole summer. We are in a legendary place with thousand stories to tell.

Day 2:  Caldera of Hrafntinnusker – The black raven reefs
6-8 hours – ca.20km (12 miles) – Alt. 590 > 1000 m > 800 (1940 > 3300 > 2575 feet)

Hiking clothes, duffle bag and daypack ready for trekking. The trek begins. Slow climb to the colorful caldera of Hrafntinnusker (or Torfajökull). Walking among countless bubbling, steaming hot springs; we cross this pearl of the interior, famous for its incredible natural beauty in all shades and colours. The notorious Landmannalaugar Valley is just below us, but we stay away from the crowds and discover the extraordinary caldera.The metaphor “Black raven reefs” is a perfect example of the natural poetry of the old Icelandic language. (Hrafntinnusker: Hrafn for raven, tinna for black and sker for reefs)

Day 3: Fjallabak South to Tindfjöll
6-8 hours – ca. 21 km (13 miles) – Alt. 800 to 550 m (2575 to 1800 feet)

One can admire here the alignment of mountain ranges, all perfectly parallel and aligned in the same direction: the direction of the mid-Atlantic ridge that crosses Iceland from North to South enjoying a spectacular view of Fjallabak South with three major icecaps : Mýrdalsjökull,Eyjafjallajökull and Tíndafjallajökull.
Our trail cross small green valleys where wander chrystaline water streams, swamps dotted with cottony linolette, deep canyons, volcanic cones covered with moss. This area could well be an advanced post of observation of the Elven Kingdom at Mordor’s Gate.

Day 4: Tindfjöll to Road Nr 1 (Reykjavik or individual Westmann Islands extension)
5-6 hours hike – ca. 18 km (11 miles) – Alt. 550 to 250 m (1800 to 800 feet)

The Tindfjöll called “The Peaks” is a small chain of majestic mountains with many summits, including the largest Ýmir (1462m) and Ýma (1448m). Of course this is not the Himalayas, nor the Patagonian Andes, but a mixture of the two miniutarized that gives this illusion of virgin immensity which Iceland has the secret. While Tindfjallajökull is the smallest glacier in the country, it is located on a giant crater about 7 to 10 miles in diameter, formed by an explosion of ancient fissures.

Following the Mountains we cross desolate lava fields of Mount Hekla volcanic system which dominates the northern horizon of its visible or invisible presence, then a rapid descent to the valley, where the expanses of lava are now covered with grassy meadows, sheep and cries of birds. Transfer by jeep to the village of Hella on the circular road No. 1 where our base is situated.

  1. Return to Reykjavik where we arrive in the evening (Central Bus Station Reykjavik – BSI), either by regular bus or with one of our vehicles.
  2. Individual two-day / two-night extension to the Vestmann Islands (see online program)

Additional Information

Included

English speaking guide from day 1 to day 6, bus transfers to and from the mountains, transport of luggage by 4×4 assistant vehicle, all accommodation in mountain huts and tents, full board(breakfast, lunch, dinner) from lunch day 1 to lunch day 4.

Not Included

Flights to/from Iceland, transfers from/to airport, accommodation and meals in Reykjavík, showers in the huts, drinks and other personal expenses, additional small group surcharge below 6 participants, insurance, tips to guides/leaders, items of personal nature.

Luggage

Presenting no difficulty for persons with at least some mountain walking experience, plus a good level of personal fitness, each member carries only a light day pack. A 4×4 truck carries all your personal things, heavy equipment and supplies.

Accommodations and Food

Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts (usually one comfortable, mixed bunkhouse) and depending on route and conditions, at the peak of the season 1 or 2 nights may be spent in spacious double tents equipped with comfortable mattresses. Showers are available in most of the huts.

Fjallabak pride themselves in providing the best cuisine in the highlands! Breakfast is Scandinavian-style, with muesli, breads, jams, fish and cheese. Packed lunch, with a variety of sandwich fillings, from smoked meats and fish to local cheeses and salads. Dinners involve fresh, local fish and meat dishes, with pasta, rice or potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad. Vegetarians and those with food allergies can be fully catered for with a range of tasty options. It is essential that you inform our office of any special food requirements at the time of booking!

For usability, but no obligation, you can bring with you a little speciality of your home country to share with your companions as well as a flask of some thing for a short drink in the middle of nowhere

Travel

All international flights are served by Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, which is about a 45 minutes outside the capitol city of Reykjavik. Accommodations in Reykjavik before and after the trek are not included in Fjallabak’s itinerary. Please contact us if you would like more information about various levels of accommodations available or if you would like assistance booking accommodations in Reykjavik.

Who would like this trip?

Specially suited for nature lovers, this compact 6 day-trek is ideal for walkers who do not have much time for longer holidays, but dream of discovering the unique mountains of Iceland by foot, without carrying a heavy backpack and also want a cosy shelter each night.

The group is expected to assist with all aspects of making and breaking camp, including meal preparation. Once in the mountains, each group becomes an independent entity. The camaraderie, teamwork and friendships forged, add much to the richness of each person’s experience. This trek passes through some areas of complete wilderness. Some of the walking is partly off-track, with terrain conditions constantly changing, with underfoot conditions constantly changing. Therefore, sturdy, well worn-in hiking boots are a must. Most days involve river crossings, so it is essential that all trekkers carry suitable footwear to change into. See our kit list for more information. We trek for 6-7 hours per day, on average, but this may be longer, depending on weather conditions and group speed. Maximum altitude doesn’t rise more than 1000m. Elevation change for most days should be no more than 200m, rising to 400m the last day.

Safety

The remoteness of the terrain, coupled with an ever-changing climate can make this a most challenging environment; therefore, safety is of primary concern. Your guide and our support vehicle are radio equipped. Fjallabak’s guides, all experienced mountaineers with extensive local knowledge, are fully trained in wilderness first aid and rescue procedures. To complement this, our personal clothing and equipment systems must be sufficient to ensure your comfort in all kinds of weather – see our kit list for advice.

Meeting point

This trip is 4 days from-to Reykjavik. Early morning rendezvous at 7:30 AM with your guide at Reykjavik Central Bus station.

Ending Point

Drop-off will be at the central bus station in Reykjavik on the last day of the trip.

For a more information about how to book this trek with Fjallabak or to register, please call.

Iceland Trips

Fjallabak Trekking Company

Classic Treks 2019

Similar Trips

We just got back from the most incredible, amazing, awesome trip!…By the way, my son wants to go back (to Iceland) next year for the five day trek, and my daughter says the trip ‘changed her life’. Not bad!

Alice DelDonno, Lexington MA

Any hiking trip in the mountains requires a certain amount of effort and proper fitness training will enhance your enjoyment. In the mountains, time and elevation gain or loss as opposed to distance, tend to be the determining factors when defining hiking grades or level of difficulty. We have done our best to grade our trips consistently, please contact us for further clarification. We are happy to offer names of past participants.