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Ascent of Klifatindur on 2019-07-31

Climber: Evan Battaglia

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Klifatindur
    Location:Iceland
    Elevation:2907 ft / 886 m

Ascent Trip Report

At the pass/viewpoint/parking lot, it was very windy, probably 40 mph, coming from the NE, pushing me towards the cliffs on the climber's right. I almost didn't even leave the car because I figured scrambling on the ridge could be dangerous. But it was sunny and there was no immediate danger if I stuck far enough east while heading up the ridge, so I decided to go up and turn around if things got dangerous... I'd at least get a little exercise.

The weird squishy thick sponge-like moss eventually yielded to scree, and I made a tedious rising traverse on steep scree to avoid the buttresses on the ridge. When I got to the ridge I followed it up, thankfully the wind had completely abated (it was windy a little at the very top, although not nearly as bad as near the bottom). The wind turned out to not be a safety issue at all on the climb -- probably mostly due to the particular wind direction and topography, although it was also not as strong as it had been when I returned to my car.

I continued up, staying near the actual ridge or slightly to climber's left. I took it slow as the rock quality was pretty atrocious (what do you expect for an island full of volcanic rock), several times retreating just to make sure I could make it down OK. Eventually I switched to climber's right and followed a path on the top of a screen field (I think there were footprints, or it might have just been a natural kind of almost ledge), climbing directly up a couple times when necessary. It was technically very easy, but felt fairly exposed (the screen on the climber's right continued to steep cliffs), and the rock was pretty bad. I passed a couple parts I wasn't too thrilled about going down, but eventually made it to the top. On the way back, I actually couldn't find the way I had come up (despite leaving a couple cairns to help me retrace my steps... The "scree ledge path" wasn't evident enough near the top), but it worked out ok -- I stayed more on the ridge on the way down instead of going so far down to climber's right, but it worked OK, maybe better than the way I had gone up. Still, overall I'd feel safer on peaks with better rock quality...

Going down was about twice as fast. According to the peakbagger app GPS track, it was a little over 3 hours round trip.

Iceland is a stunning place, one of the most beautiful countries I've been to. I didn't have time to do it justice on this trip, having only allocated a four-day Icelandair stopover, and I didn't have time to plan everything out. I learned that camping is a great way to save money in Iceland (I lucked out and got a hatchback that folded down flat so I could sleep in it), you should book ferry tickets on advance if you want to go to the Westmann Islands (and sometimes ferry websites are hard to find and don't work well on phones), and that 4wd would be pretty useful to get a lot of places... Also, unfortunately, Iceland is extremely popular and there were lots of people at most of the tourist spots I went to. The best way to avoid that is, as with anywhere, probably to go places that require a lot of exercise (walking) to get to, or otherwise are undeveloped like this peak...
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble



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