Markarfljot Canyon

River: Markarfljot (Canyon section)

Grid Reference: 63 deg 45* N; 19 deg 22′ W.

Grade: V/VI.

Length: 10 km.

Date run: Inspected 15.07.91.

Weather conditions: Hot and sunny.

River level:

Significant portages: Ideally one, but very difficult to do.

Access arrangements

After a very difficult drive up the track on the west side of the valley you will arrive at a deep canyon. This track involves several deep river crossings and is only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles. Even with the correct vehicle it is a tricky undertaking.


Get out anywhere after the canyon opens out.


Tom trying to get a closer look at the Markarfljot Canyon section

This would be a very impressive place to be canoeing if only you could get down to the river. It is not possible to get in before the canyon starts because of two very large and intimidating drops. Neither of these are suitable for canoeing over. The river then enters a very deep (125m) canyon. From the top of this impressive canyon the lower two thirds of this stretch looks OK. Possibly big grade IV. The upper third is very large and continious grade V plus. There is a horrible river wide pourover which looks big from the top of the canyon. No portages would be possible in this upper section. To get into it avoiding the two large drops at the top would require a very long rope or a helicopter.

Binoculars out too see if there is a route