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Into the Glacier – what to anticipate on a journey into the guts of the Langjökull glacier, Iceland

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For an Icelandic expertise with a distinction, we heartily suggest Into the Glacier which will be visited as a part of a tour from Reykjavik or, as we did, by self-driving to Klaki base camp (or so far as Húsafell within the winter).

The best technique to attain base camp from Reykjavik is by heading north alongside the ring highway after which following route 50 if you attain the tunnel to Borgarbyggð. For some cause, our satnav thought we would want a extra adventurous route and took us alongside the maybe barely extra direct routes 30 and 550. This was high-quality for essentially the most half, however the remaining 40-kilometre stretch alongside the F550 (considered one of Iceland‘s mountain roads) was just a little hairier than we had anticipated so early on in our time in Iceland!

Nevertheless you select to get there, you received’t see the glacier at first, however you will note indicators which are indicative of its earlier presence. Markers that depict the glacier’s most extent each 20 years spotlight the speedy retreat of the glacier over time.

Between the markers for 1940 and 1960 is Klaki base camp. No matter your method, the final stretch of the drive may be very uneven and it’s essential to have a 4×4 car, whatever the time of yr you go to.

It’s a easy constructing the place you possibly can acquire or buy tickets for this slightly distinctive expertise. It’s additionally the place you will get kitted out with overalls, in preparation for the expertise.

For those who’ve come dressed for Iceland’s variable climate, with heat garments, waterproofs and durable footwear, then you definitely should be moderately well-prepared, however you may wish to make the most of their light-weight waterproof overshoes. There are elements of the tunnels that may then be fairly moist underfoot as meltwater discover its approach via the glacier, so I might positively suggest these.

Because the title suggests, Into the Glacier takes you into artifical ice tunnels inside Langjökull, the second largest ice cap in Iceland (after Vatnajökull which is by the far the biggest and round eight occasions the dimensions) and apparently the one privately-owned glacier on the earth. It’s open yr spherical and is the one glacier tunnel constructed particularly for guests, not simply in Iceland, however on the earth. Additionally it is the world’s largest artifical ice tunnel.


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However first you need to get there. Fortunately, your ticket contains transport on to the ice camp aboard outdated specialist NATO missile autos which were tailored particularly for this distinctive attraction. It follows a GPS-led path to the tunnel – crevasses decide the route taken, and it modified annually.

Inside these 8×8 monster vans, it’s fairly snug however you do want to make use of seatbelts as it may be just a little bumpy.

For the motive force, it’s apparently a fair bumpier experience. From inside his cabin, he can monitor the stress within the tyres by way of an app, and alter the extent of inflation to swimsuit the altering terrain that he finds himself driving over.

The truck took us to a location that’s 1,260 metres above sea stage. On the journey, we had been accompanied by two English-speaking Icelandic guides who shared their information on what defines a glacier and the way it’s that glaciers are shaped. We learnt that there are 300 glaciers in Iceland (200 of that are at Vatnajökull alone) and round 7 or 8 ice lots.

The guides had fairly a dry sense of humour – one thing we encountered on a variety of our excursions – and informed us, as we ventured on to the ice, about how there have been three completely different animals to look out – the Arctic fox, ptarmigans and middle-aged males who get caught on snowmobiles and want rescuing.

However there are critical messages additionally as we go but extra markers that present how a lot the glacier has retreated each 20 years – apparently greater than 100 metres since 2019 alone. We’re additional reminded of the local weather change message after we hear that, near Langjökull used to face Okjökull, a glacier that was declared lifeless in 2019. They even had a funeral for it – you will have heard about it within the information.

With our journey full, it was time to enter the glacier. As you possibly can see, it appears slightly underwhelming from the surface. Nevertheless, all that adjustments as soon as inside.

The primary a part of the tunnel is sort of darkish and re-enforced with a big cylindrical steel construction.

As soon as correctly inside, you head down right into a community of LED-lit tunnels measuring 550 metres lengthy and as much as 40 metres under the ice floor.

Fairly early on, you cease to placed on crampons. These are simple to place over your sneakers – you merely match them on the entrance after which stretch them beneath your shoe till they are often affixed to your heel… after which you’re good to go! It simply offers you just a little extra grip as you wander across the tunnels.

Strolling additional nonetheless, we reached an indication the place we stopped for pictures and realized extra from our guides.

As we continued to discover the tunnel, there are locations the place it actually is sort of moist – dripping down from above in addition to underfoot. For those who’re visiting throughout Winter, this will likely be much less of a difficulty after all, however chances are you’ll must wrap up extra!

A small off-shoot to the principle tunnel takes you to a small chapel, full with seating space. Who knew that you could possibly get married underneath a glacier?!

Look rigorously on the ice and you will note trapped bubbles of ice. Throughout the chapel, there are some clusters of bubbles which have taken on some slightly enjoyable formations. One that’s mentioned to seem like a fish…

…and one other that, should you tilt your head sufficient, exhibits a smiley face.

There’s additionally an space on the tour the place you possibly can see a crevasse from under, the place ice is sort of soiled due to the buildup of particles inside the crevasse.

You’ll rely largely in your guides to study in regards to the glacier on the tour, however there one or two indicators giving some pictorial insights into the glacier’s previous and future.

Apparently, when the tunnels had been first created, two separate tunnels had been created and the thought was that they’d be a part of to create a circle. Their calculations didn’t fairly work, and so they ended up creating extra of a coronary heart form as a substitute!

Would we suggest Into the Glacier? Most positively, sure! Not solely is it a very distinctive expertise, but it surely was enjoyable and entertaining for all of our household, in addition to fascinating and academic. Though your complete expertise from arriving at basecamp to returning is round 3-4 hours, you’re solely strolling within the tunnels for about one hour of that point, so that is nicely inside the capabilities of most youthful kids additionally.

The next Google Map exhibits the assembly level in Húsafell, which is the place you’d meet if visiting within the Winter.

If travelling within the Summer time, you’d begin from Klaki base camp and the next Strava map exhibits the precise route we adopted from base camp to the tunnel and again.

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You’ll be able to watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here. You will note footage from Into the Glacier between 30 seconds and 54 seconds into the video:

Disclosure: This submit is sponsored by Into the Glacier. Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.



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