Elevation: 128 ft
GPS: 63.892, -16.595 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 43,661 total · 634/month
Shared By: Gunkswest on Jan 23, 2016 · Updates
Admins: Muscrat, Matthew Clausen
Access Issue: Private farm land: annual use fee required Details

Description

Hnappavellir has the largest collection of rock climbing routes in the country and is a great destination for a multi-day trip. Located in SE Iceland, about four hours drive east from Reykjavík and 75 minutes west of Höfn, the area is easily accessed and well maintained. There are over 150 bolted sport lines, 25+ established trad lines, and around 150 established boulder problems. Hnappavellir is home to Iceland’s hardest route: Kamarprobbinn (5.14a).

The area features a well-kept outhouse, camping area, brick barbeque, picnic tables, and hut (restored from an abandoned shepherds’ hut with the help of area farmers). The quaint hut is called Tóftin. It serves as a dining hall, food storage room, library, workout room and social nexus for the climbing scene.

The nearest weather station (about five miles away) is this:

Weather Station near Hnappavellir

Hnappavellir (kind of pronounced nafa-ve-tlear) boasts gorgeous basalt single-pitch routes, stretching across a cliff band more than two miles long, interrupted at times by waterfalls, talus, sheep and arctic fox that prey upon sea birds. Nearly all sport lines are bolted well, with a several trad routes and a rapidly growing boulder scene. Routes vary in height, with many around 30 feet and the longest is about 90 feet. As of 2021, most of the bolts and anchors have been recently replaced.

A topo for Hnappavellir is published every year. It is in Icelandic but with information in English as well. Here is a link to the 2021 version of the topo: Hnappavellir guidebook A printed copy of the topo/climbing handbook can be purchased as well as a pdf version for direct download.

All climbers must pay the annual fee to the Icelandic bolting Fund. Please do this before going to Hnappavellir. The fee can be paid at the Klifurhúsið climbing gym at Ármúli 23 in Reykjavík, at the Booking Booth/Kaffi Vatnajökull at Fagurhólsmýri (5 minutes drive from Hnappavellir) or by direct bank transfer. Bring the receipt with you. The annual fee is ISK 1.500 for each person (approx. 15 USD or 12 Euros). All donations to the Fund are used to maintain the facilities and climbing routes at Hnappavellir as well as all other climbing areas in Iceland.

DIRECTIONS

From Highway 1, a bit east of the Glacier Lagoon Hotel, you will turn south (toward the ocean) across from the collection of houses on the inland side of the road signed "Hnappavellir." Drive this well graded dirt road roughly a half mile south to an obvious powerline, where the road makes a 90-degree turn to the west. As you drive west to the cliffs, you will cross two streams (check them out before attempting to drive through, especially in a low-slung car). A short distance further, you'll arrive at the hut and camping area, which are in front of the Miðskjól sector. Do not drive beyond the campsite and Tóftin Hut. The gravel road further west is for farmers only. Walk from the hut to the other sectors!

Remember, this is an active farm. All climbers must be respectful of the livestock and the land. This includes driving slowly on the dirt roads not only to protect livestock but also to prevent rutting and erosion in this relatively wet climate. Yield right of way to farm equipment unless they wave you past or generously pull over for you. Climbers have made a written agreement with the farmers. Only climbers are allowed to drive to the climbing area and camp there. The area is off-limits for regular tourists.

BEFORE YOU VISIT

1) Pay into the bolting fund as described above.

2) Bring all of your food and water with you, as the nearest large grocery stores are very far (Selfoss or Hofn). The Glacier Lagoon Hotel is just 20 minutes walk from the campsite and they do serve food, but it is expensive.

3) Bring a few rolls of toilet paper with you to contribute to the outhouse.

4) You need to take your trash with you, so bring some trash bags.

5) If you don't want to camp, some options are staying at the Glacier Lagoon Hotel or a bit east in the village of Hali.

Somewhat nearby climbing areas are:

Postin (a small sport area about 2.5 hours west [toward Reykjavik] and mere meters off Highway 1).

Steinafjall (predominantly a bouldering area about 30 minutes east [toward Hofn] and right off Highway 1).

Fallastakkanöf (a basalt trad area about 40 minutes east [toward Hofn] and a 30-40 minute hike up a steep hillside from Highway 1)

Fremstavatn (a small trad crag that is just north on Highway 1 of Fallastakkanöf).

Vestrahorn (a multi-pitch sport and bouldering area just east of Hofn).

Getting There

There are two stream crossings about 200 yards before you arrive at the cliff. All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended, but not usually necessary in the summer.

From Keflavik International Airport (the west):

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Keflavik+International+Airport,+Iceland/63.9038191,-16.5881442/@63.7449325,-21.8501196,7z

It is about a five hour drive straight-through from the airport to the Tóftin hut. But you really should stop to look around you on the way there, because this country and landscape are awe inspiring. Seriously, get a guide book or something and take your time.

Once in your car at the airport, head north to Hwy 41.

Take the roundabout to the right (east) on Hwy 41. You may want to stop at the supermarket for supplies on your left after about two miles (3.2km) from the roundabout (look for the Bonus supermarket).

Continue heading towards Reykjavik and, once you start getting near town, stay in the right lane.

Turn right onto Hwy 413 (it’s a big intersection with stop lights).

Stay on 413 until it connects at Hwy 1 in a round-about. You can’t miss it. Take the first exit from the roundabout, to your right (east).

Keep heading east on Hwy 1 for hours. Keep your fuel tank over 1/4 full, because gas stations will start to get spread out the further east you go. Seriously, though, stop and look around the country instead of driving straight through. This is the land of the elves!

You’re going to pass through Hof probably without even seeing the sign for the handful of houses, but if you happen to see it you’ll know you’re getting close.

Look for the Glacier Lagoon Hotel on your left. It’s three stories tall, dark colored brown and blocky.  It’s about 0.5km west of your turn onto a dirt road.

You’ll see signs for "Hnappavellir" and "Hnappavellir II" homesteads on your left, . Directly across the street from the driveway for "Hnappavellir II"  is the dirt road on the right (south) that will take you to Tóftin. If you cross another bridge after the hotel, then you’ve missed your turn off.

Follow the well graded dirt road south (toward the ocean) toward an obvious powerline.

There’s a 90-degree right-hand turn once you’ve driven in about 0.9km. Turn right onto it. You’ll come to a stream with no bridge. It’s depth and current depend on the time of the year. Staying to the left of the crossing is a little shallower. Do you drive across it? Your call. Most of the year, even passenger cars can make it through by staying to the southern (left, as you approach) side of the ford. Before the stream, there is room to park on the right, unload your gear, and then you can walk across (of course the water will be cold). The risk decision is yours and will depend a lot on the type of vehicle you’re driving. Driving through may violate your rental agreement, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.

Tóftin hut is a couple hundred yards past the stream. Turn right off the path to park on the grass, and your headlights will be pointing at the camping area. Outhouse is to the right (east) of camping area.

From Höfn (the east):

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Höfn,+Iceland/63.9041179,-16.5884443/@64.2827277,-15.2503603,13z

It is about a 1.5 hour trip from down-town Höfn to the cliff, but you’ll be driving past glacial lagoon and will probably want to stop with the throngs of tourists for some pictures of the glacier, bergs and seals in the bay.

From downtown Hofn, head north out of town on Hwy 99, turn left (west) onto Hwy 1. Drive west on Highway 1 for about an hour to the lagoon (there's a suspension bridge and you should see lots of cars on both sides of Highway 1)

After Glacial Lagoon (you can’t miss it), go over 6 more bridges (3 and 4 are pretty small).

After the 6th bridge, you’re about 3.8km from Hnappavellir II homestead on your right, marked by a road sign, and Hnappavellir homestead just after it on your right. Directly across the street from the driveway for Hnappavellir II is the dirt road on the left (south) that will take you to Toftin. If you reach the Glacial Lagoon Hotel on your right (a three-story brown, boxy building), you’ve gone too far.

Follow the well graded dirt road south (toward the ocean) toward an obvious powerline.

There’s a 90-degree right-hand turn once you’ve driven in about 0.9km. Turn right onto it. You’ll come to a stream with no bridge. It’s depth and current depend on the time of the year. Staying to the left of the crossing is a little shallower. Do you drive across it? Your call. Most of the year, even passenger cars can make it through by staying to the southern (left, as you approach) side of the ford. Before the stream, there is room to park on the right, unload your gear, and then you can walk across (of course the water will be cold). The risk decision is yours and will depend a lot on the type of vehicle you’re driving. Driving through may violate your rental agreement, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.

Tóftin hut is a couple hundred yards past the stream. Turn right off the path to park on the grass, and your headlights will be pointing at the camping area. Outhouse is to the right (east) of camping area.

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