Trip Report
3 Weeks in Iceland - Horses, Glaciers, Hot Springs, Lava, and Rain (Update 2)
Friday July 11, 2014 10:27am
I just got back from a good 3 week trip to Iceland where I got to see the sights, do a little climbing, and spend a lot of time in the hot springs. Here's my trip report!

I was sitting around one day during school and wanted to throw in the towel. I'd had enough and was getting a little crazy. That night I was trying to do some homework and failing miserably. I turned to my girlfriend Shasta and said, "I can't take it, were going to Iceland and then at Christmas, Hawaii." Suddenly homework was easier and I seemed to be able to relax a lot better. I don't know why I said Iceland, I really didn't know anything about the place, but it sure felt nice to have that resting comfortably over my head.

So I did my normal amount of planning, which meant I occasionally looked at pictures of things I'd like to see and really didn't bother reading up on anything about the country. I figured I'd find out what the place was like when I got there.

The flight was direct from Anchorage to Reykjavik, Iceland and somehow I had managed to not sleep at all the night before and that left that specific flight feeling more like someone trying to pour warm molasses over my head as I walked through endless hallways that make up every airport I've ever been in. I was never quite sure if I was awake or asleep, but it didn't matter as I hadn't missed my flight.

Upon landing we promply we cruised around Reykjavik trying to buy some food and other things but for some reason everything was closed. It was early so we waited, and waited. It didn't seem like anyone was going to open, even though it was long past their "We open at __" time so we headed to a campsite and fell asleep. We would find out the next day that we had arrived on Iceland's Independence Day. No wonder everything was closed!

We finally got around to checking out the sites, which are generally everywhere so we just drove around and stopped at anything that looked neat. They have a lot of geothermal activity.

Continuing our drive we came to the end of Rekyjanes Peninsula.

Which has the oldest lighthouse in Iceland.

This is another coloful lighthouse.


The next day we headed off slightly inland toward Pingvellir

These guys are serious about their rock stackings.

After cruising through Reykjavik at a time when everything happened to actually be open, we found a hot springs book and began our mission to go to all that we could. Our first one was this little guy. The picture made it look like it would fit a few people...we were hoping this was not going to be a common theme.

There are not that many trees in Iceland but they do exist. In fact, heres a little forest!

Heres a big waterfall called Gullfoss. They have a ton of waterfalls and this post will include many of the popular ones. So if you don't like waterfalls you may have to skip a few. Oh, and you're a bit sick, who doesn't like waterfalls?

Near Gullfoss is Geysir, which is the geysir that all others are named after. Pretty cool, although I don't think its gone off for quite a while.

Nearby springs.

Then there was this guy, Stokker, which went off every 5-8 minutes. Pretty cool.

They have some pretty cool camping. This one, spelled incorrectly by me, is Alfaksied.

This area was called Seltun, the water boiled and bubbled at your feet.

Also it rained, continuously. I don't think it had stopped since we landed.

Their lakes had the most amazing blue colors at times. It looked like the one in Butte, Montana. Only, you know, it wouldn't kill you to fall in it.

We managed to find another hot spring that was full of algea and not to hot. Well, we were 0-2 at this point.

Awesome Icelandic art.

We decided that maybe the good hot springs took time to get to and we began the hike three miles to one we had heard was really good. The hike was up over a mountain and along the valley. Iceland constantly reminded me of Hatcher Pass (Alaska), partially because of the rain but also the surrounding area. You could see the hot springs steaming ahead, I wish Hatcher's was like that.

Jump in, the waters warm...

We finally made it up to the spring and with the exception of just a few people, we almost had it to ourselves. There are lots of areas in the river that you can go. The higher up stream you sit, the hotter it is. We spent and hour moving along the river from hot to cold and back again.

Then we saw someone come over the hill. Uh oh a few more people were coming up. Then something weird happened. It was like buffalo stampeding across the land. What was once a night quiet hot spring turned into Disneyland within the span of about 10 minutes.

Time to go!


Continuing the drive I would randomly pull off on a dirt road and find myself crawling up a mountain. The little diesel Polo did an awesome job and we early on named it Red Bandit.

More Waterfalls.

Playing around.

We camped just near the base of this waterfall, it was beautiful and quite unique.

Mystical places.

This is Seljalandsfoss and there are a lot of pictures of it here in a row. It was one of the three things I had in my mind that I wanted to take pictures of in Iceland. Also we managed to hunt down some blue sky!

Our campsite between the two waterfalls.

Rainbows and waterfalls!

Lets get another angle on it...

Went back for some nighttime shooting. Also, I somehow forgot to pack the tripod so all the night shots and long exposures were a bit interesting. This ones taken at after midnight.

We were still on a high from our last hot spring so we decided to try another one that looked pretty neat. It sat in a valley that seemed to explode with waterfalls and green.

It turned out to be amazing and somehow we got it to ourselves for a good 40 minutes.


Awesome formations.

More water.

We stopped at this beach for just a minute and ended up staying over an hour. Also we finally got to climb a little rock!

We brought our climbing gear but didn't end up changing into our shoes here. It was all slab and the minimus shoes did a decent job.

Some really awesome climbing on amazing features.

The gravel base made a decent crashpad too.

Shasta contemplating which way to go.


Most of the rock was pretty solid with some steep hard climbing.

Shasta in the cave

Traversing out.

We went around the corner to an even steeper section that had a really neat roof problem in it. I could only manage about 3 moves in but someone stronger could probably work their way out.

This was the one I worked on for a bit.


Requiring a bit of a swing.

Shasta gave it a try too.

Then we went and climbed something a little easier.

On to more scenery.

Then we headed off to one of the other things I wanted to see when I went to Iceland. Large basalt columns on the ocean.

Which of course we have to climb.

Then it was time to continue on and head toward the glaciers and other waterfalls.

There was lots to see in the highlands but we only had Red Bandit, now if I had been driving one of these babys!

We camped that night somewhere along the way. Thats the end of days 1-5! I am still editing and uploading the photos of the other days and will post them as I get them up!

This photo is for the trip report thumbnail.
This photo is for the trip report page.
This photo is for the trip report page.
Credit: Prezwoodz

  Trip Report Views: 3,238
About the Author
Prezwoodz is a climber of all types from Alaska

Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
part-time communist

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:37am PT
Wow...this is a sensational trip report. What a destination.

The spire in the 3rd photo looks like slate spire in Big Sur.
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:40am PT
wow, that's fantastic. I knew Giants causeway went from Ireland to Scotland but not all the way to Iceland, good to know!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:42am PT

Incredible photo awesomeness has descended upon you!

I love TR's about unusual places that aren't all about buttshots and sick leads.

One thing. Watermarks bug me. Are you really worried that someone will steal your image and make money off of it?

climber bob

Social climber
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:45am PT
fantastic..thank you
Big Mike

Trad climber
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:48am PT
Kelsey your stuff rules!! Thanks for posting it here. Very inspirational.

One thing. Watermarks bug me. Are you really worried that someone will steal your image and make money off of it?

Yup. It gets done all the time Bruce. Gripped stole one of my photos with the watermark on it! They posted it on facebook and when i called them on it they pulled it, but it have already received over 100 likes meaning great promotion for gripped cause they stole my work! No cheque, and i asked the social media manager to call me and no reply.... I guess this shit's pretty standard...
part-time communist

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:48am PT
Breathtaking photos and hidden waterfalls...and uncrowded, unknown campsites.

Dream trip!

Credit: part-time communist

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:53am PT
Hey Climber Bob, shut up!! BWA HA HA HA hahaaaaa!!!
Lepton says hello.

Big Mike, I suppose that's true. But I'm not trying to make a living off of photographs, so my perspective is a bit skewed.

Just FYI, if anyone could ever make a buck off of a picture I've taken, have at it! You have my permission.

And if my comments give a little attention to Kelsey's thread and he's able to sell a few pictures, all the better. It's good stuff.
Big Mike

Trad climber
  Jul 11, 2014 - 10:57am PT
I hear that Bruce. I'm not trying to make a living off it either but it's nice to get some recognition! If gripped had of asked i would have been flattered! They could have had it for free!

Not that i'd be adverse to selling a few photos... Lol

Author's Reply  Jul 11, 2014 - 11:02am PT
Thanks everyone for the awesome replies!

Survival - I know what you mean, actually watermarks bug me too and while I was Iceland I actually gave some good thought into changing mine. I want it to be smaller and not take up so much of the picture. It didn't use to do that but upgrades in Smugmug mean I need to upgrade the watermark! I mainly keep one so that if the photos go around the internet my names at least on them, and that has happened a lot.

I also do somewhat make a living off photography, so theres that too!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 11, 2014 - 11:00am PT
looks great!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 11, 2014 - 11:04am PT
Well, you certainly take awesome pix, so I can see that happening.

But I didn't see any horses!

No flying cars, no flying cars, grumble grumble moan....

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Jul 11, 2014 - 11:05am PT
What a beautiful TR. Thanks for taking & sharing such spectacular photos.

Author's Reply  Jul 11, 2014 - 11:11am PT
Thanks survival! The horses are coming, the flying cars...well those will take more time.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 11, 2014 - 03:23pm PT
You are a lucky man Kelsey!!!!
With a gift for photography!

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
  Jul 11, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
That was very cool.
Iceland,I hope to get there,but,I feel as if I have already.
Great stuff,cheers.

The Granite State.
  Jul 11, 2014 - 03:56pm PT
Beauty! Bug tides there, eh?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 11, 2014 - 04:05pm PT
Wow....great pics of gorgeous scenery! Not much sun around, you must have thought you were back in Anchorage at times.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jul 11, 2014 - 04:10pm PT
Here's the soundtrack I chose while looking at your photos.
It worked quite well!

Thanks for the share!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jul 12, 2014 - 04:51am PT
Coolest trip report
Awesome photography
What kind of camera?
Did you do much post-processing?


Trad climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 05:54am PT
Prezwoodz, you've done it again. Not only is the photography beautiful (as always), but you've brought us along on a trip that probably most of us won't get to do. On the other hand, it makes me wonder about my next international destination...

Awesome TR!

Trad climber
Missoula, MT & "Pourland", OR
  Jul 12, 2014 - 06:00am PT
Brought back great memories of my trip there 3 years ago. Wonderful country and wonderful people. Only shocking thing can be whats on the menu at times: icelandic ponies, whales, puffins! My wife had a bit of culture shock over that.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Jul 12, 2014 - 06:46am PT
Excellent choices made here. Keep on truckin'!

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
  Jul 12, 2014 - 10:15am PT
So awesome, thanks! Still one of the very coolest places I have ever been, back in 89. Have wanted to go back ever since.

How were the prices now?


Social climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 12:10pm PT
The usual awesomeness from you Kelsey!

Whodathunk there's a sched from Anchorage to Reykjavik. :-) I didn't imagine there was a lotta travel between those two destinations.....


Social climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 12:57pm PT
hey there say, prezwoodz... say, nice to hear from you, with this!!

wow, and a huge 'ohhhh my!' this is a fantastic share... thanks so very much for the time to set this up here...

am going to savor the photos, which i can finally see on line now!!

and these being veryy large, are still loading for me, and at a fairly good speed, which i'd never have seen before, at the dial up...

will enjoy them with coffee, now, :)
thanks again!! :)
and as i said, good to see you today here!

Social climber
  Jul 12, 2014 - 01:29pm PT
hey there say, ... hee hee, me again...

say, i went through these very slowly now, by way of eating homemade yogurt and frozen raspberries, instead of coffee...

:) it was time to pour the yogurt out of the thermos and WHAT better time for it, than this...

say, please email me, prezwoodz... i got a question, :)

edit for big mike, and photographers:

say, big mike, yeah, my twin buddies had a neat horse shot, with rose, etc.. and cowgal...

they are open on facebook, as, that is how they advertise their small horse-photography and business... (they put watermarks now, on their work) ...
well--their GAL and horse, turned up being 'taken' and used by someone, for sales...
with that someone 'adding a fourth of july or some-sort of independence day? logo to it' for their OWN use...

don't think they ever tracked down who it was... they used it at various horse, western, etc, sites, for ??T-shirt, etc, sales... without any 'where it was from' etc..

but they knew the risk... and had to let it slide...
they would not have minded, and would have let the 'someone' use it, too, if they had just given credit to the twins...

Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jul 12, 2014 - 09:15pm PT
Wow! I'm almost glad now that a buddy of mine is moving back to Iceland. Now I'll have another reason to visit. thanks very much for the wonderful shots.

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Jul 12, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
Beautiful photos! The best I've ever seen of that country.

Author's Reply  Jul 28, 2014 - 11:50am PT
Its time to continue the trip report!

We continued our drive to the next destination that was one of the three things I wanted to see. Svartifoss is a waterfall that spills over basalt columns and is unlike any I had seen before.

This is my favorite shot of the falls.

This ones a bit overdone but...meh

Yeah there are a bunch of this waterfall...but it was quite awesome.

We had rushed to the waterfall and managed to beat the majority of the tour bus folks but they arrived in due time. So we headed our way back toward the glacier. Here is Mt. Hvannadalshn˙kur, the highest peak in Iceland. There's lots of these pictures too but its not to often you get a sunny day in Iceland!

The river pulls life away from the frozen desert to the warmth of the ocean.

Beautiful scenery

We passed back by this guy for just another picture...

And to take a drink.

An offshoot of the Vatnaj÷kull Glacier. The largest in Europe.

Another one of the glacier. An awesome and beautiful sight even though there are many more where I live.

That big mountain again.

I really loved the interplay of snow, ice, and green that presented itself across the country.

That's one beautiful scene.

Also we saw some ptarmigan. More birds just like home!

As we continued along the Ring Road there were plenty more glaciers to see.

Thats all I've got for this post at the moment. The next one is also going to be full of glacier shots as well so I hope you guys aren't tired of them!
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report