Allar upplýsingar og myndir eru fengnar úr leiðavísinum „Kaldakinn“ eftir Sigurð Tómas Þórisson og þakkar Ísalp kærlega fyrir afnotin

The climbing

The first routes in Kaldakinn were established in the mid-90s, but the bulk was established during the Alpine Club´s ice climbing festivals in 2001 and 2007. The most famous route in the area is Stekkjastaur (A10), graded WI5/5+/6/6+ (depending on conditions). One of the most striking ice lines in the whole country and a must climb for any climber of that caliber and above. Several testpieces were established during an international celebrity visit at the 2007 ice festival. Professional ice climbers Albert Leichtfried and Markus Bendler climbed Captain Hook (M9/9+) and a handful of hard ice lines. Ines Papert and Audrey Gariepy esablished several WI5+ to WI6+ routes and did a monster 1000m linkup day with all routes WI5 or harder. The Kaldakinn area currently boast roughly 60 registered routes, ranging in difficulty from WI3-WI6 (and an M9/9+) and there are still a handful of unclimbed lines of varying difficulties. Most of the unclimbed lines are however either quite hard or do not form except in very good ice conditions. The lenght of the routes ranges from 20m to almost 200m and everything in between of course. Be wary of avalanche risk and of rocks falling from above, especially in sector C („the trenches“), in particular during a thaw and as spring approaches (with the sun warming up the dark cliffs). In most cases, the easiest and safest descent is via a rappel on a V-thread at the top of the routes. It is possible to walk off above sector A, but you have to walk almost to Björg to reach the descent gully (and there can be avalanche risk on the slopes above A).


Iceland in general is very unpredictable in terms of ice and weather conditions in the winter. The best chance of good quality ice is in January/February. February being a better choice due to longer days and more ice buildup (NB the days are very short in Dec/Jan). March can give good conditions as well with even longer days but the chances of a thaw are starting to turn as spring approaches.

The sectors

O. Björg

Fyrsti sectorinn á leiðinni út að sjó, er alveg við bæinn Björg.

O0. Að Björgum – WI 3
O1. Konný – WI 4
O2. Hlöðver – WI 4+/5
O3. Heimasætan – WI 3

A. Stekkjastaur

A0. X-files – WI 4 / M 6 / WI 6
A1. Wish you were here – WI 6+
A2. Arctic pillar – WI 5+
A3. Sólhvörf – WI 4
A3,5. Stönt hrútur – WI 4
A4. Captin Hook WI 4 / M 9/9+
A5. Flowers and Puffins – WI 3+
A5,5. Salómon svarti – WI 4+/5
A6. Danska leiðin – WI 4+
A7.Swiming in Burning Soup – WI 5+
A8. Tangó kálfanna – WI 4+ 
A8,5. Veggfóður – WI 6 / M 6
A9. Ræsið – WI 3+
A10. Stekkjastaur – WI 5+
A11. Lost in Iceland – WI 5+
A12. Butter and Onions – WI 5+

B. Grind (Lust)

B1. Girnd – WI 5
B2. Sýnishornið – WI 5
B3. Græðgi – WI 5
B3,5. H&M – WI 5+
B4. Upprisa svínana – WI 4+
B5. Kostulegir postular – WI 4+
B5,5. Have no fear, eat Skyr – M7
B6. E300 – WI 5
B7. E222 – WI 5
B8. Sóðakjaftur – WI 5
B9. Öskubuska -WI 4

C. Rennurnar (The trenches)

C1. Gleymskan – WI 4
C2. Drífa – WI 5
C3. Frygð – WI 5
C4. Miðnæturhraðlestin – WI 4
C5. Flagan – WI 3
C6. Hlæjandi fýlar – WI 4
C7. Íssól – WI 4

D. The Gullies

D0. Heita kartaflan – WI 3
D0,5. Vörtusvínið – WI 3
D1. …og heilagur andi – WI 3+
D2. Faðir og sonur… – WI 3

E. Dramb (Pride)

E1. Meyjarhaftið – WI 4
E2. Mr. Freeze – WI 6
E3. Knúsumst um stund – WI 4+
E4. Blár dagur – WI 4
E5. Öfund – WI 5
E6. Leti – WI 5
E7. Reiði – WI 5
E8. Dramb – WI 5

F. Glassúr

F1. Limrusmiður – WI 4
F2. Í votri gröf – WI 4+
F2,5. Skotgrafarfótur – WI 4+
F2,6. Slefið – WI 5
F3. Maldon salt – WI 4
F4. Salt í sárin – WI 4
F5. Remúlaðisleikjó – WI 4+
F6. Skegg spámannsins – WI 4+
F7. Synir hafsins – WI 4+
F8. Glassúr – WI 4+
F9. Úr djúpinu – WI 5
F10. Við fjöruborðið – WI 5
F11. Sex on the beach – WI 5+
F12. Shooters – WI 4+
F13. Tower og Ágúll – WI 5


From Reykjavik, there are three main options:

a) The road route (458km). 6-8 hours in wintertime. Take route #1 (the ring road) to the west/north towards town Akureyri (388km, via the Hvalfjardargöng tunnel). Drive directly through Akureyri and continue on route #1 towards Husavik. Approx. 45km from Akureyri, turn left onto route #85 towards Husavík and drive north for ~15km. At that point the main road turns right/east to cross the Skjalfandafljot river. In the bend, country (gravel) road #851 continues north towards "Út-kinn". From there, it´s a 12km drive to reach farm Björg. Routes #1 and #85 are priority roads on the road service´s winter schedule and are serviced several times per day (except for holidays). There are however several mountain passes and moors that frequently get blocked during snowstorms, e.g. Holtavöruheiði, Vatnsskarð, Öxnadalsheiði, Víkurskarð. Route #851 towards Björg is classified as low-priority on the winter schedule and is only serviced 3x/week (and only after all the main roads have been serviced). A 4x4 vehicle is highly recommended. The rough road from Björg to the shore is not serviced at all and often gets blocked by snowdrift. If blocked, there´s a 1-5km walk from the farm to the climbing sectors. If staying at Björg, the farmers may be able to provide a snowmobile/jeep ride from the farm. Make sure you check the current road condition update at the road service's website - www.vegagerdin.is Contact the locals at farm Björg (see below) for information on road, weather and ice conditions.

b) Flight to Akureyri. From Reykjavik domestic airport, airline Air Iceland (www.flugfelag.is) flies several times per day to Akureyri airport. In Akureyri you can rent a car to drive Kaldakinn (70km, see driving directions above).

c) Flight to Husavik. From Reykjavik domestic airport, airline Ernir (www.ernir.is) flies 1-2x per day to Husavik airport all
days except Saturdays.At Husavik airport, a car can probably be rented (?) and
the drive to farm Björg is around 30km southbound on route #85 (and then north on route #851 as above).

In the northernost part of the Kaldakinn area in the Thineyjarsysla county in N-Iceland, one of the best ice climbing areas in the country can be found. The area spans over a wide cliffband from farm Björg (the northernmost farm) to the shore, some 5km in total. The total number or registered ice routes in this topo is roughly 40, and a number of new ascents are known, but not properly registered. Any information on new ascents is highly appreciated.


The farmers at Björg (bjorgum@bjorgum.is, +354 464 3636) have accommodation facilities for smaller and larger groups and are by far the most feasible option due to the proximity to the climbing and the option of a ride to the climbing sectors. The Björg people frequently post photos of the ice conditions on their Facebook page (IceBjorg). Another options is Hotel Raudaskrida, around 15km from Björg across the Skjalfandafljot river (hotel@hotelraudaskrida.is, 464 3504). A third option is to stay in Akureyri or Husavik but that requires quite a drive each day to go climbing.



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