Ascent of Sveinstindur on 2006-06-17

Climber: James Barlow

Date:Saturday, June 17, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:3576 ft / 1089 m

Ascent Trip Report

This weekend was part of a 3 day trip where I explored Lakagígar, Fagrifoss, Tjarnagígur, Hnúta, Sveinstindur, Leiðólfsfell, Skaftá, Hellisá, and eventually Miðland, where my truck unfortunately broke down, miles from the nearest help. Only Sveinstindur and Laki were ascents of peaks. The rest was just exploration of Iceland's amazing countryside.

The weekend began on Friday morning as I had an ortho appointment at a doctor's office in Reykjavík to check up on my fractured scafoid and had asked my boss if I could just take off for the weekend from there. I sped east on Hringvegur bound for another weekend of adventure in my rapidly dwindling time in Iceland. I spent Friday afternoon and evening exploring Fagrifoss, Laki, and Lakagígar, which included an ascent of Laki, the highest of the Lakagígar crater row. Saturday was spent exploring Tjarnagígur, Hnúta, Sveinstindur, and camping near Leiðólfsfell. Sveinstindur was the only peak of the day, a dormant volcano near Langisjór. It was also on this trip that I began having problems with my camera. Many of the pictures I took have both light and dark versions of the same scene. It was the last weekend I used my old Sony camera before I upgraded to a different Sony camera. Sigh... If you look at the photos in the link below, be warned, some of them are not that great, very washed out in many cases. Sunday was spent making my way back to Hringvegur via Leiðólfsfell, Skaftá, Hellisá, and eventually Miðland. I drove my truck across multiple rivers on the way out, which was a good thing based on what was soon to happen to the truck...

Naturally, when the truck broke down in Miðland, I was miles from a real road, had no cell signal, and was alone. I grabbed the map, compass, plenty of water, and some stuff that I needed for the coming week, as I did not expect to return to my truck for at least a week. I threw everything in my backpack and began to make my way down towards the nearest road that may have a chance of running into people. The only thing in my favor was the fact that I broke down around 2pm, giving me plenty of time to get back to a road. Of note, it was mid June in the far north. Sunlight was absolutely not an issue. It doesn't get dark this time of they year. Along the way, I ran into a cabin after about 2 or 3 hours of hiking. Still without a cell signal, I decided to see if the cabin had a phone. Nobody was there, but there was an unlocked window into the basement. What to do? I was miles from a road that is ever traveled and this may be my only chance to at least start working on a ride back to the base. I let myself in and made a call to my friends Chad and Rik. Chad ended up agreeing to drive out to the intersection of F208 and Hringvegur to meet me. I figured in the 4+ hours of driving that he had ahead of him, I could make it to F208 and Hringvegur. After about 2 hours of walking, I finally reached F208. Within 20 minutes of arriving at the road, I heard a truck headed my way. I put my thumb out for a ride and was summarily ignored - unbelievable! I was quite a long way from anywhere and this guy just ignored me. After another 15 minutes or so, another driver came along, Róbert, a local guy headed from a summer cabin to Vík via Hringvegur. I was in luck! Once I hit Hringvegur, I was able to call Chad and gauge where he was. He was already past Hella, so Vík seemed to be a logical meeting point. Róbert and I arrived just minutes before Chad. I gave Róbert money for gas and bought his pylsa and gós at the gas station where we stopped. I was incredibly grateful that he was willing to help me out. Chad and I then made our way back to Keflavík, arriving home just before 2am.

I did end up recovering my truck the following weekend. That story is covered in my ascent of Laki from June 24th, 2006!

Pictures from this weekend trip (some are pretty bad due to increasing mechanical issues with my camera):
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1607 ft / 489 m
    Route Conditions:
Stream Ford
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1607 ft / 489 m
    Start Trailhead:1969 ft / 600 m
Descent Statistics

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