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Category Archives: vatnajokull 2012

Expedition in Reykjavik

After surprisingly laid back check-in and flight our expedition landed at the Keflavik International Airport around 4 p.m. local time. We then took the airport bus to the hostel where we ended up stopping the traffic of the Reykjavik’s main street for some time, while unloading our gear from the bus. It seems we have a huge pile of it!

We settled in and then it was time to meet our local contact Paavo and acquire even some more stuff – that is fuel for our portable stove and food from the local market. The local discount supermarket chain Bonus offers amongst other things many products that are familiar to Finnish customers, like the Euroshopper brand. They even have the product information written in Finnish!

Next up was a trip to harbour district and a dinner at a fish restaurant, where we sat eating and gazing at the local night life, which is rather active and has it’s own distinctive shade & tone. Whilst the local people enjoyed the night life we had other tasks awaiting – packing, packing and adjusting the gear. This time we will pack everything ready for leg one of the skiing, because our ride to the glacier leaves at 8 a.m. local time. We planned to leave a few hours later, but the driver asked for an earlier departure to make it back before dark in case of bad weather, which could delay the trip in the Super-Jeep from an easy going five hours to fifteen hours! Luckily the weather forecast looks to be at our side.

That is not the case with statistics: Paavo told us that during this season five expeditions have tried to cross the glacier, out of which four have made it to local news after evacuation. Well, we believe that if we just work hard enough we’ll make it. We won’t still mind an occasional wishes of good weather and good luck 😉


Last minute preparations at Reykjavik

After picking up a satellite phone on our way to airport in the morning we spend an hour packing, repacking and adjusting our luggages at the airport and thanks to thorough preparations on sport the check-in was very easy and quick despite huge loads of gear. The flight was very nice and went fast despite not sleeping on board.

We took an airport shuttle bus from Keflavik straight to our hostel jamming the traffic in the city center for a moment while moving our luggage from bus to the hostel. We met our local contact, got fuel for stoves and bought quite a load of food to top our supplies. Then we had a quick dinner at small fish restaurant in the harbor and now we are back at the hostel – once again repacking and adjusting our gear. I’m not sure if I like the gear that much anymore! 😛

Our super-jeep pick-up was supposed to be at 10 am tomorrow but it was rescheduled to 08 am so that in case of bad weather the driver should get out from the back-country in daylight. In good conditions the trip takes around 5 hours but in very bad weather it can take up to 15 hours! Luckily weather forecast seems good. In addition we got news that during this season there have been at least five expeditions aiming to cross the Vatnajokull… And at least four of them have been evacuated and have made it to the local news. Well, we trust our skills and gear, but we really hope for and need good weather to make the crossing successful so keep your fingers crossed!

From now on the updates will be translations from the expedition blog at http://vatnajokull2012.wordpress.com.

At the Moment: Skiing in Iceland

This sticky post is here to inform you that at the moment I am in Iceland on my “Vatnajökull 2012 expedition” skiing across the Vatnajökull glacier. I’m leading a four person Finnish expedition skiing across the glacier and summitting Hvannadalshnjukur (2109,6m, Iceland’s highest peak) on the way weather and schedule permitting. The trip will take from 23.3.2012 to 9.4.2012 with 16 days on the ice.

The planned route.

The expedition preparations have been the main reason for the unfortunate radio silence in the blog but while I’m on the ice skiing I should also have time to write blog posts and share the trip with you!

Our four person expedition will be sending daily updates to the expedition blog  but these posts will be in Finnish. During the trip a very kind person named Kimmo has promised to translate our posts from the ice into English and publish them in my blog. There will be a bit of delay because of translation but none the less, you should be able to follow us also in English.

You can leave comments to posts in the normal way and my friend Matias, who is responsible for our comms, will post them to us so that we’ll have some entertainment on the ice. If you’d like to contact us during the trip, you should first contact Matias by e-mail to him at mazcu@jossain.com.

We are also carrying a Yellowbrick satellite tracker so you can also follow our progress online on:

And if you are really interested in the topic and need an arm-chair adventure to speculate you can also follow the local weather on:

I’ll be writing more after the trip, untill then, enjoy the translated updates from the ice!

Vatnajökull 2012 blog online!

Not so long ago I published an announcement about my future skiing trip to Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland. I promised that there would be more info online by end of the week. Well, it didn’t quite happen during the last week. But now the plane tickets are booked and most other things are also squared out. It took an extra week but now the info is public and online!

The Vatnajökull 2102 blog is mostly in Finnish but there is also a brief info in English. The updates in the blog will be in Finnish but I’ll write about my personal preparations and maybe something general about the expedition to my blog in English. We plan to send daily updates from the glacier to the blog but also these will be in Finnish. I am still looking for a volunteer to translate the dispatches (from Finnish to English, dispatches in text, about 1-3 SMS messages per day) and publish them in English in my blog. Volunteers, please feel free to contact me with a comment or e-mail!


Dear fellow armchair adventurers, I’d have an announcement to make. Those following me on Twitter might have already spotted the reason for the blog being a bit quiet, a lot more quiet than I’d like it to be… This is because I’ve been busy organizing my next project and my main trip for this winter:

I’m going to Iceland to ski across the Vatnajökull.

Training Z-pulley building and use for crevasse rescue.


Vatnajökull is located in South-East Iceland. It is the largest glacier in Europe (measured with volume of the ice, Austfonna in Svalbard having slightly larger surface area) and it could be even considered to be a small ice cap. Here are few facts about the Vatnajökull:

– 8100 km² of icy surface to enjoy
– 3100 km³ of ice
– Average thickness of the ice is 400 m reaching 1000 m at maximum and soaring up to 1800 m above the sea-level in some places.
– Distance from the Western edge to the Easternmost point is about 200 km as the crow flies.
– There are things like the volcano Grimsvötn and the Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur (2109 m) on the glacier.
– The weather at the glacier can be really shitty: cold, rain, snow, white outs and winds well over 100kmh.

The plan

There are still some uncertain things and lots of things to do but so much time and effort has been put into the planning of this trip that I feel confident to tell about the plan in public.

The planned route

I’m going to do the trip with my long time girlfriend Nina and two friends (Jouni and Heini) from the last year’s Ultima Thule 2011 expedition to Svalbard. The trip will take place in March-April and we are going to spend around two weeks on the glacier. The plan is to:

– start the skiing from Jökulheimar near the Westernmost point of the glacier
– ski to East up to Grimsvötn, the volcano at the middle of the glacier
– ski South to Hvannadalshnúkur and climb to the summit (weather and schedule permitting)
– ski a bit back to North and then turn East and ski to Lambatungajökull, one of the Eastern most outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull
– descent the Lambatungajökull and walk from there to the village of Hoffel
– ski a bit over 250km of skiing and have great time!

We are just hoping to have good weather (better than Alex Hibbert had on his try), no volcanoes erupting near us and not having to negotiate very bad crevasse fields.

Training for crevasse rescue: climbing rope with prusiks.

Coming up soon…

Even though this is not a ground breaking expedition we are still going to put up a separate blog for the expedition and send short updates from the glacier during the trip. The blog will be in Finnish but I’m working on getting translations of the updates to this blog. If there are voluntary translators out there, please leave a comment or send an e-mail for details!  (Finnish to English translation, few SMS each day for two weeks in March-April.) And of course there will be some posts in English here related to my personal preparations and some analysis after the trip.

Stay tuned for more info…