Back from Hornstrandir

After a good nights sleep at the guesthouse in Ísafjörður I'm about to start my journey home. Flight going out from here to Reykjavik in the evening and a midnight flight to Gothenburg, it's gonna be a long day…

Hornstrandir was great, the weather was as kind as Icelandic weather can be, in that area. The hike was interesting, fun, scary and offered very beautiful scenery.

Done a lot of recording and now comes the hard part with choosing, cutting and colour grading everything.

Stay tuned for a written trip report and some pictures during this week!

Update on Hornstrandir

Hi André,

We have had some difficulty contacting the ranger in the last days so we have not had any updates recently about the area. I would assume that the situation is mostly the same there, with the hiking trails being very fine from Hesteyri to Hornvik. But the eastern part is still quite vulnerable to extreme sudden weather changes. Use caution when travelling in the nature reserve and come with everything you need and leave with everything you brought. My recommendation is to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Let me know if I can assist you any further. Perhaps the tourist information centre in Ísafjörður could provide some better insight into the situation there.
 
Best regards / Með bestu kveðjum
Anika
Safetravel Iceland

Exped Air Ultralight Pillow

It’s not that often that I get a real wow-feeling when buying gear but this ultralight pillow from Exped sure gave me that! Packs down super small, holes for attaching a bungee cord (which I did) or to a Exped compatible sleeping pad.

The two best things are the anti-slip coating so it doesn’t slide on the already slippery sleeping pads and the big valve so it’s super easy to in- and deflate.

Will probably do a review of this one later. Excited!

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Not much larger than a credit card and weighs 50 grams

 

Spot Gen 3 overview

Several people told me that they’re worried about the remote areas I’m going to in Hornstrandir, Iceland. Just because I might very well be all by my self for the whole duration and that the cell phone coverage isn’t the best. Better to be safe than sorry if something happens. Also Safetravel.is recommends carrying on combined with a compass, map and a GPS because if winds are blowing in from the north or north-west it comes with very dense fog and visibility is usually around 50 meters or less.

Of course safety is always on the top of the list, especially when going solo. After a little researching if I was to rent a PLB (personal location beacon) at Ísafjörður or buying one, I bought myself a Spot Gen 3. The price tag of renting a PLB from West Fjords Tours was about 20€ per day so it was quite expensive as a Spot Gen 3 costs about 200€, for the unit.

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*Not the carabiner that it comes with

It would be nice if it was done there but for 200€ you get a piece of plastic and a strap so that you can attach it to your backpack. Noup, you need a yearly subscription too, 180€ with VAT. This includes the possibility to set tracking intervals between 5, 10, 30 and 60 minutes. The renewal is fortunately enough cheaper, about 100€ less, depending on if you want to have the possibility to set the tracking on anything other than real-time. If you want to be able to send text-messages to phones you can either pay per text or buy a SMS-bundle of 200 for an additional 20€. If you don’t want to buy this, e-mail and a smart phone app is included. The checkout process feels kind of like buying airplane tickets… You want this too? And maybe this?

Registering on the site takes a few minutes but is not complicated. Just follow the instructions and keep the serial number and the authentication code ready. Ones you’re done this is what the setup page looks like where you manage your device(s) and can set your different messages for Check In, Custom message and Help/SPOT S.O.V. The last one being the “I need help but not helicopters and search teams” – here you can customize the message being sent. Mine reads something like “Something has happened, it’s not urgent but I need help. Please check my location and try to call my phone”.

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Everything is good!

With all of this in place you’re good to go. Plug it in to your computer, there’s a mandatory update, run that and you’ll also “download” the tracking profile. Tracking settings is the only thing you can’t do wireless. Then just go outside, fire up the unit and wait for it to get connection with the satellites. After that you can send the Check In message to see that everything works.

You can even run different profiles if you’d like. Each profile can then of course hold different messages and tracking intervals.

Quite easy!

All the specifications such as weight, size etc can be found here. It’s currently on sale in the US, 50% off, unfortunately not in Europe.

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Battery life with tracking

Food for 8 days in Iceland Hornstrandir

Food, the thing that keeps you going on the trail.

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For the past couple of years I’ve been opting for freeze bag cooking. I think it’s really neat, packs small, no dishes to do and you got mini-trash-containers for each meal. Is it always the most fun things to eat? No. But for me personally, the food I bring on a trip I see more as fuel rather than a dinner at a fancy restaurant.

For this 8 day trip I’m bringing 7 breakfast soups, 16 bags of noodles, 18 powerbars and 4 bags of nuts and candy for that extra punch. Total weight is 3900g so roughly 490g per day. Between 400-500g per day is good enough for me with the things I’ve chosen.

8 days worth of supplies is quite a lot for my Zpacks Arc Blast backpack, almost bursting at that point, but it’s doable. Best thing with food is that you consume it and after even two days it’s way easier to close the bag.

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Before I leave my tent in the morning I always bump the meals that I’m gonna be using through out the day. Putting Noodles in the back mesh pocket and snacks goes in the side pockets for easy access while walking. If it’s a really small meal I can even put it inside my cooking kit that I have right now. All of the above will save you time and not having to dig through your food bag inside your backpack. If possible I try to have everything I need during the day in the mesh pocket so I don’t have to open the main compartment of the backpack.

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Before going to Vålådalen, Sweden, 2016. 7.5 days worth of supplies.

John Bauer Trail

Coming full circle on this trail or rather where we ended a trip 4 years ago down from Omberg to Gränna. Click this for the old reports, check the ones posted 2013. Them backpacks back then, pew, 25-ish kilos! I could wear about three backpacks now to get to that weight 🙂

It was a good trip with superb weather, 26-28 degrees Celsius and a light breeze. But from a scenic point of view only the first 5-8km from the start (south section) is worth while and the last section (north section) is good for the most part, especially the last bit when you get the view of lake Vättern.

 

Ticks loves this trail, or me, I had 19 of them but only two attached. Jon got away with two… Lucky.

Westfjords map and route

Plane to Iceland, booked. Accommodation in Reykjavik for one night, booked. Plane from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður, booked. Accommodation on site, booked. Boat to Aðalvík and from Veiðileysufjörður, booked. And of course the plane back to Reykjavik, hotel there and plane back home is also booked. A lot of stuff to cover and the price tag was a little hefty.

The Route – Hornstrandir
I currently have two routes planned but I can’t confirm the longer route until in a few weeks due to the snow coverage in the area is still quite thick and currently melting, creating dangerous situations with rivers under the snow (Ref. Safetravel.is).

Safetravel.is told me that I should contact them closer to my departure to confirm if they found it to be ok to use that route. So below we have Plan #1.

I have a few alternative routes but I think I’ll be going with the ones marked xx.1 due to the fact that the current “problems” are east of Hornvík/Veiðileysufjörður. Basically I’ll be using the red marked routes and be going off the track a few times to look at things. I’ll also be back-tracking and getting a good view on Hornbjarg again. Fits in well if there’s a lot of fog coming in from N/NW which is quite common.

At the last point, 16, I’ll be checking that area out while waiting for the boat to arrive. It’s almost like an extra day if the weather is foul or if I need more time to get there earlier in the trip. Don’t wanna miss that boat back…

All in all 8 days in the wild – probably seeing a lot of animals (no polar bears hopefully) like the arctic fox.

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