Crossing the toe of the Tindfjallajökull, complete with crevasse and piles of black grit

A walk on Tindfjallajökull


We all manage to get out of bed before 9am this morning. Something of a record. Tom and I pack up whilst Andy writes his diary and has the mick taken. We drive up the Markarfljot canyon a bit and take another look at the impasse. It really is as bad as it looked yesterday. The whole problem is most frustrating but I don’t want to have to face a river wide pour-over in an overhanging section of canyon. There is a big drop at the top of the canyon, but that looks easy enough to portage.

We may well paddle a bit of the river higher up, but today we went for a walk up on to the Tindfjallajökull. We parked at the crossing of the Markarfljot at the top of the canyon and plan to get to the top of the highest peak at 1462m. We set off in high hope ; there was not too much cloud and no rain. There is a long walk in to the col before we could even see the top. The glacier dropped rapidly round a tight bend, and was heavily crevased. We picked our route (no footpaths here) and continued, to find our way blocked by a large stream coming out of the toe of the glacier. There was no way to cross this stream, so we went up onto the ice. All a bit hairy without crampons, but we got across without mishap and carried on up  a scree slope.

Swiss roll on the way to a summit, Tindfjallajökull

The route continued up a ridge where we were able to walk on rock and not snow, and soon enough got to the main ridge to the summit. There were some large snow fields to cross, but no real horrors. We stopped to share a swiss roll and as we ate, the clouds came down with a resounding thump. We continued to the top along the route we had previously seen, with the vain hope that the cloud would clear. Was not actually too bad when we got to the summit, and there was a chance for some nice shots.

The three of us on our summit, Tindfjallajökull

We came back down a similar route, but on the way discovered it was possible to slide down steep snow banks on our boots. Back across the toe of the glacier and we discovered we could divert a stream over a large bank of glacial till and cause a small amount of rapid erosion.

A long slog back to the Landrover and another massive feast.

View from our summit, Tindfjallajökull