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Ascent of Heiðarhorn on 2016-05-21

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
Pål Bjørstad
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 21, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Heiðarhorn
    Location:Iceland
    Elevation:3455 ft / 1053 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left our rural farm guesthouse of Brennistaðir on Route 515 near Reykholt in the morning and drove south on Route 50. It was not long until we could see the towering range of Skarðsheiði to the south—its sheer north slopes were covered with snow and the view was quite impressive, it reminded me of the Canadian Rockies. Climbing the high point of that massif seemed like a daunting task.

We drove around the east end of the range on Route 502 and then headed west, where the views of the gentle, mostly snow-free south slopes were more encouraging. It took us some effort to find the right dirt track heading north from the highway, it is the sign pointing to Efraskard. We parked too soon and started hiking up the road, but we should have driven north a bit further, to where a backhoe was parked.

The peak was actually a pretty easy scramble. A broad curving ramp of grassy/rocky terrain led us up the valley, and from there we started up a steeper triangular slope of large talus blocks and dirt/grass sections. I had thought to get to the apex of the triangle, but Petter led more across the slope to the right, which was a smarter idea. This led to more gentle terrain that was soon totally snow-covered, and after a short while we could see the summit pyramid of Heiðarhorn ahead.

The snow provided good footing, allowing for good steps without postholing. I got out my ice axe but crampons were not necessary. We reached the broad south ridge of the peak and then followed a bit of a switchbacking snow path up the slightly steep east slopes of the final summit. The top was flatter than one might expect, with a big cairn. Views were very nice on this partly-cloudy day.

The downhill hike was easy and fun, especially on the snow, which was perfect for plunge stepping or standing glissades. We deviated from our uphill route on the steep talus slope, trying to maximize our snow time. Then it was down to the car over the mellow grassy slopes of the lower valley. We were feeling pretty fit after almost a week of hiking/skiing on our trip, and our total trip time was less than four hours.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3380 ft / 1030 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3380 ft / 1030 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3380 ft / 1030 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:S Slopes
    Start Trailhead:Efraskarð\Tunga  75 ft / 22 m
    Time:2 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3380 ft / 1030 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.7 km
    Route:S Slopes
    End Trailhead:Efraskarð\Tunga  75 ft / 22 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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