Crossing Vatnajokull: Joklasel to Kverkfjoll in April '19

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Tryggvi U 3 weeks, 3 days síðan.

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  • #66922

    jh_charles
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Together with a couple of friends I’m planning to come to Iceland in April to retrace a traverse of the Vatnajokull ice cap originally made in 1932 (retaking the original photographs etc.). We are planning to recreate their crossing from Joklasel to the Kverkfjoll „open“ hut at 1800m from mid/end April to mid May. We have extensive experience of mountain, alpine, and remote area trips, but want to ensure we plan appropriately and effectively and we would very much appreciate your advice on the following points:

    – What is the status of this „open“ 1800m Kverkfjoll hut during early May, is it OK to access from the ice cap? Would it be an appropriate base from which to rest? (e.g. accessible, warm and dry!)
    – What is the terrain to expect around Kverkfjoll in early/mid-May? Is there lots of debris/ ash?
    – Given this likely terrain, what is the most effective method of transport along this route? We will use snowshoes in combination with skis. We would like to understand which ski-type to utilize – back-country or nordic? Please note, that for your context, our team is slightly more experienced and comfortable on back-country skis.
    – What is the best way to exit from the Kverkfjoll „open“ hut? Is it back via a a superjeep from the lower Kverkfjoll hut? Is it back on snowmobile from the superjeeps team in Joklasel? Is it a traverse back to Jokalasel?
    – Is our timeline appropriate? We would be looking to begin the traverse end of April – would it make more sense to go earlier or later?

    Thank you in advance for your help. We very much appreciate your local advice, and look forwards to modifying plans etc. accordingly! If the questions are too detailed for this forum, a local contact to reach out to for further advice would also be much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance for your help,
    John-Henry

    #67284

    Tryggvi U
    Participant

    Hi,
    About the access to the open Kverkfjöll hut from the ice cap as it seemed to me when I was there last November: From the ice cap leads a easy going narrow (~200-300m wide) slope down to the hut with ice walls towering above lakes on each side with some crevasses surrounding them. These are farely obvious when travelling in good visibility but I’d recommend having a rather densely spaced gps track when closing in on the hut in case if the conditions don’t allow for a good oversight. Judging by the conditions back in November you will not need to worry about debris/ash on the way from the ice cap to the hut.
    To get info on the state and availability of the hut you should contact the Icelandic Glaciological Society (Jörfí – jorfi.is – jorfi@jorfi.is). Website of the hut: http://jorfi.is/?page_id=34

    Tryggvi

    #67419

    jh_charles
    Participant

    Hi Tryggvi,

    Thanks alot for your response – very helpful!

    Do you by any chance have your GPS tracks saved from that journey? If so, it would be great if you were able to share and for us to see your route to the hut.

    Do you know of any Topos or route descriptions up some of the mountains/ crags in the Kverkfjoll range? I’ve managed to find a boulder topo online: (http://www.isalp.is/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/KverkfjollBoulderTopo.pdf) but was wondering if you knew if a Kverkfjoll mountains guidebook was out there.

    Thanks alot for your help!

    John-Henry

    #67421

    Tryggvi U
    Participant

    Hi,
    I don’t have our GPS tracks but I asked about it and apparently we followed the waypoints that are available (for free) online: https://safetravel.is/crevasse-maps
    I don’t know of any Topos but some brief route descriptions can be found here: https://www.vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is/en/areas/odadahraun/plan-your-visit/hiking but you can maybe ask the rangers at Vatnajökull national park for more information.
    Cheers,
    Tryggvi

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