Westfjords of Iceland 2015
Ski mountaineering and Snowshoeing
This tour includes: Ísafjörður • Lonafjörður • Hrafnsfjörður • Hesteyrarfjörður or Veiðileysufjörður • Hornvik • Hornbjarg • Adalvik • Ísafjörður
Separated from the main island of Iceland by a 7 km isthmus, West Fjordlands is the most remote, the oldest and the least visited area of Iceland. The scenery is spectacular, with table mountains dropping precipitously to the sea and the coastline carved by numerous fjords. Described as “a must-see for any serious explorer”, the area is rich in natural history and folklore.
This is a voyage for experienced ski mountaineers who climb snow covered alpine mountains and ski downhill. A typical ski day will involve climbs of 600 m (on occasion even more). Non-skiers explore the valleys and lower peaks on snowshoes.
Scheduled flights from the US arrive in the morning, and from Europe in the afternoon at Keflavik International Airport. There are frequent Flybus connections from airport to Reykjavik ( this Flybus shuttle service is not included in the price). On day 1 , passengers will be collectively transferred to the ship from centrally located hotels in Reykjavik (t.b.d.) to Ísafjörður by chartered highland bus. The bus shuttle takes approx. 7 hours. Embarkation starts earliest at 16.00 hrs local time in port of Ísafjörður. The ship will depart in the evening.
The almost uninhabited Westfjords of Iceland are the remotest corner of Iceland listed as one of the world‘s best-kept secrets in travelling. The slopes of the mountains surrounding Lonafjörður & Hrafnsfjörður are attractive for skiers and snowshoe walkers. The snow conditions govern our best options for the day. We will spend the day and the night at this beautiful location giving skiers the rare possibility of skiing from the top of a mountain down to the coast.
Days 3 & 4
On the ship everyone will enjoy a great scenic cruise. We aim for sheltered fjords of Hesteyrarfjörður or Veiðileysufjörður in to anchor and snowshoe / ski from here. The mountains are not that high but alpine slopes will offer promising ski outings. The snowshoe walkers opt for an easy route whilst the ski mountaineers scale higher peaks and pick a downhill run. The Westfjords are a great place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) during the winter months. End of March / early April we should still witness them.
We hope to find a calm area in the bay of Hornvik surrounded by rugged mountains. Here, at the northern tip of Iceland we hope to be able to snowshoe or ski up to a view point, Hornbjarg, an impressive rock face towering the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. In summer the cliffs and valleys are inhabited with birds, the fjords offer moments of silence and tranquillity, and Arctic fox proudly roams the mountains and inlets.
On our final day out in the wilderness of the Westfjords we will find ski and snowshoe tours near Adalvik. The rugged mountains tower from the sea and the views from this height are great. Ski mountaineers explore the higher peaks whilst the non-skiers can enjoy a walk with snowshoes.
Arrival in Ísafjörður in the morning and transfer by chartered highland bus to centrally located hotels in Reykjavik (approx. 7 hours ). Flight departures to European destinations leave in the morning and to US destinations in the afternoon of the following day ( flights not included in the price). There are frequent Flybus connections to the airport which can be booked in most hotels in Reykjavik ( this Flybus shuttle service is not included in the price).
This itinerary is for guidance only. The programme may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.