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Areas in Hnappavellir

1 Hádegishamar 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
2 Miðskjól 5 / 31 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
3 Þorgeirsrétt East 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
4 Þorgeirsrétt West 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
5 Ölduból East 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
6 Ölduból West 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
7 Vatnsból 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
8 Stakar leiðir 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
9 Gimluklettur 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Elevation: 128 ft
GPS: 63.892, -16.595 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 13,024 total · 445/month
Shared By: Gunkswest on Jan 23, 2016 with updates from Matthew Clausen
Admins: Muscrat, Matthew Clausen
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Private farm land: annual use fee required Details

Description [Suggest Change]

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 90 minutes west of Höfn, the area is easily accessed and well maintained. There are over 100 sport lines, over 15 established trad lines, and around 200 established boulder problems. Hnappavellir is home to Iceland’s hardest route: Ópus (5.13d).

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

The Hnappavellir (kind of pronounced nafa-ve-tlear) area boasts gorgeous basalt single-pitch routes, stretching across a cliff band nearly a mile long, interrupted at times by waterfalls, talus, sheep and arctic foxes that prey upon sea birds. Nearly all sport lines are bolted well, with a several trad routes and a rapidly growing boulder scene. There is rom for more development. Routes vary in height, with many around 30 feet and the longest is about 50 feet. klifur.is/crag/hnappavellir is the leading Icelandic climbing website, and there is a link to buy a print or PDF guide book for the area. Klifur.is has had some hosting problems in the past, but as of this writing it is working again and you can use translate.google.com on it.

The camp ground is flat and lovely, hemmed by a line of stones to prevent cars from parking in the camping area. There are warm-up routes lining the cliff face by the camping and behind Toftin hut to start or end your day’s climbing within a few steps of your sleeping bag. The campground has southern exposure, not far from the sea, so it gets plenty of light and there’s normally a light breeze. Remember in the summer months that the sky never really darkens, so you may want to bring an eye mask.

Remember, this is an active sheep and hay 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 of the dirt roads in this relatively wet climate. Yield right of way to farm equipment unless they wave you past or generously pull over for you.

Respect fences! Do not push down, knock over, bend, remove or leave open any fences (unless you found them open). Many of the dirt paths that go through the fence lines have a handle-with-hook line that you can lift from the loop, drive through, and then re-hook after you’ve driven through. Always leave the gate the same as how you found it.

Also, there will be sheep, and their droppings, from time to time in the camp. You’ll want to keep any food in Toftin hut well sealed from rodents.

Toilet paper: buy a roll or two and bring it with. There’s usually some in the outhouse already, but you’ll be using it so bring something to contribute.

Drinking water: Icelanders will tend to drink directly from any stream in Iceland, with three exceptions:
1) Streams that run through farms. They have livestock shit in them, and sometimes fertilizers. Don’t drink it unfiltered.
2) Glacial rivers. They’re very gritty and silted, and they will clog your water filter quickly. You could scoop water, let it settle in a container, and then take off the top if you really need to.
3) The river that is about 200 feet to the west of Toftin hut. Locals avoid it because some years people get sick from it. A good filter makes it OK to drink. One year, an ice climber ventured into the valley at the head of the river looking for routes, and he found a putrid mass of thousands of sea birds dead along the river banks and valley. Some sea birds, I was told, can’t navigate once they lose sight of the coast and this particular valley seems to be a death trap for them.

All of the streams immediately around Toftin run through agricultural land and/or have large amounts of silt. Bring a filter, or stop on the drive out for clean water at a stream or gas station. There’s also now a fancy hotel above the plateau that leads to the cliffs, and if you’re polite they will probably let a scruffy looking climber fill water at their lobby bathroom.

Food is sparse around the area. Bring it with you. Restaurants are hours away. The nearest gas station is about 20 minutes of driving to the west. There is a community grill that normally has a gas canister with fuel in it (use it outside only). I suggest bringing your own camp stove for boiling water and cooking small things, since the grill might be in use by somebody else frying steaks when you’re making your own dinner. But hey, it’s Iceland, and if you’re nice everyone else is nice to you: just ask politely if you need something and remember to say “takk.”

See klifur.is/crag/hnappavellir for more info.

Getting There [Suggest Change]

-All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle recommended, but not usually necessary in the summer.

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

5 hour drive straight-through no stops from airport to Toftin 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.

Once in your car, 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 2 miles (3.2km) from the roundabout (look for the big pig icon, there are two competing supermarkets here).

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 new (2016) "Foss Hotel: Glacier Lagoon" on your left. It’s 3 stories, brown and blocky. I’ve uploaded a photo of it as a landmark. It’s about 0.5km west of your turn onto a dirt farm path.

You’ll see Hnappavellir and Hnappavellir II homesteads on your left, marked by road signs. Directly across the street from the driveway for Hnappavellir II, on your right, is the farm path that will take you to Toftin. If you cross another bridge after the hotel, then you’ve missed your turn off.

Follow the path, staying left (on the high side) so that you don’t go into the tractor ruts that you’ll see in a mud hole on the right.

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.

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

1.5 hour trip from down-town Höfn, 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.

Head north out of town on Hwy 99, turn left (west) onto Hwy 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, on your left, is the farm path that will take you to Toftin. If you reach the Foss Hotel: Glacial Lagoon on your right (three-story brown, boxy building), you’ve gone too far.

Follow the path, staying left (on the high side) so that you don’t go into the tractor ruts that you’ll see in a mud hole on the right.

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.

Toftin hut is just 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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Drinking water: Some locals will drink water straight from the stream west of the hut, others refuse to after they or friends got sick. The stream runs through farm fields, with sheep and other animals drinking from it. They also shit in and along it.

One winter, an ice climber ventured into the valley at the head of the stream looking for routes, and he found a putrid mass of thousands of sea birds dead along the banks and valley. Some sea birds, I was told, can’t navigate once they lose sight of the coast and this particular valley seems to be a death trap for them. Some locals believe this is the source of intermittent contamination rather than livestock.

A good filter makes it delicious to drink. It's a rather silty, though, and will clog your filter quickly. Another option is to hike all the way to the west end of the cliff face to a confluence, where the water is less silty and you can pump from there. I didn't meet any locals who aren't willing to drink straight from there, but I filtered it anyways. Several tributaries combine there after running through sheep pastures.
Jan 3, 2017
While everything here is accessible by foot, there's also a vehicle path that runs the length of the cliff to the confluence at the SW tip.

Follow the path from the hut to lower down the stream and you'll find a fording that's deeper than the one you crossed to get to the hut. Basic passenger vehicles might not make this one.

The farther you go, the more likely you are to encounter problems. Eventually, you'll be 4WD through stretches of flooded mud pit...it's at its worst next to Vatnsból.
Jan 18, 2017
Clip stick? Some of the first clips are a bit high (but not all). If you like the comfort of having the first one clipped, you'll need to bring your own stick clip. There aren't any at the hut, and you're not going to find a tree within miles, so no branches laying around for doing it old school.

You can try to set a TR from the top, as well. Some of the bolted anchors are within an arm's reach of the top, if you want to crawl to the edge and reach over. Use caution: there's nothing to anchor yourself to up top. Jan 21, 2017
Guide Book
blurb.com/b/7738598-hnappav… Mar 23, 2017
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
Benjamin Chapman   Small Town, USA
Use a "meat anchor" or grass stakes. May 6, 2017
Im in iceland from tomorrow and am really hoping to get to this crag. I hope the weather holds up. Thanks for all the helpful info so far. The gear from the photos looks solid. I hope to be there in about 4 or 5 days time. Is it easy enough to find? I had to google translate the approach from the local site. Sep 28, 2017
Matthew, I read somewhere that that guidebook is also available in English. Do you know where I might find that version? Mar 23, 2018
@Mindy Mitchell, I tried to find it in English a couple years ago and had no luck. I tried finding the author with an offer to translate it, and couldn't find the authors at the time. If you find an English version that's come out since then, please do post! I was able to use Google Translate on the PDF to help me get the gist. Apr 18, 2018

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