Vatnajökull translates to “water glacier” in English and is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland, and one of the largest in Europe. So when given the opportunity to snowmobile across the top, it was a no brainer.
The local guide picked my boyfriend David and I up from the junction of road F985, just off the ring road west of Höfn, and drove us to the base of the glacier, hundreds of metres above sea level.
The drive up wasn’t easy and was filled with twists and turns, overlooking the cliff edge at every corner. The super jeep did it easy but for two Aussies who have never done anything like it, we found ourselves putting an awful lot of faith in the driver and vehicle.
Once we made it to the top we were given our thermal suits, face masks, helmets, gloves and boots.
Dressed and ready to go, we walked to the snowmobiles in waiting. We felt like astronauts, setting out to explore a newly discovered planet.
The two-seater snowmobiles were much like those we rode in Finland so we were used driving and steering.
We followed our guide to the top of the glacier, 1,000m above sea level. During the ride we stopped several times to change driver so David and I could take turns. Each time we stopped our guide told us interesting facts about the glacier and the concerns he had over global warming. Melting at a rate of 20-30 metres per year, the glacier certainly won’t be around forever. And with an average thickness of 400 metres, there’s a lot of flooding concerns too.
It started snowing when we reached the top so visibility was down to about five metres.
The experience was incredible. Riding along such the glacier’s barren landscape was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The only way to describe it would be out of this world.
Check out a snippet of our time on the glacier below.
23,000 ISK per person
Price based on two people sharing one snowmobile