Ascent to Stapafell-Just below summit pinnacle on 2015-06-07

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Becca Romig
Aidan Barlow -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Sawyer Romig
Sage Kallestad
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Stapafell - Just below summit pinnacle
    Elevation:1509 ft / 459 m
    Remaining Elevation:200 ft / 61 m (12% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

The second of three peakbagging opportunities in Iceland this trip. With the boys in tow, we had not set our sights on the real prize in this area: Snæfellsjökull, the local prom winner. Instead, we set out on a cloudy and windy day for Stapafell, its lower, but quite rugged neighbor. While Snæfellsjökull is mostly an easy walk on a glacier with a single pitch of steep ice on the summit, Stapafell is quite the scramble. The initial climb from the car was loose talus - oh the joy! Once we gained the ridge, things got a bit more interesting. We made our way up to some more exposed stuff and found a great resting spot out of the wind to put on the harnesses. We didn't need them quite yet, but nothing is more uncomfortable than putting on a harness on the edge of a cliff...

We made our way up to a headwall, where I promptly pulled out the rope and had Becca put me on lead for the next pitch. It was loose and unprotectable, so I ran it out all the way up. It was exposed third class anyway. The main problem was the incredibly loose rock. I tested every hold before use. Once I topped out, I searched for a stable rock to use as an anchor. Shockingly, I found one and slung it. I put myself in a very secure spot near it to be a sitting belay in addition to the slung rock in case it was looser than I thought. I tossed the rope down and Sawyer was the first one up. He was followed by Aidan, then Sage, and finally Becca.

At various points on the ascent I had Aidan, Sawyer, and Sage lead our intrepid group of peakbaggers to boost their confidence on the scrambly terrain. We continued up until the kids started to tire and get a bit freaked out by the exposure. We re-traced our steps to the wind-free spot, and I then reversed and tried to check out the summit. It would have been acheivable for just Becca and me, but with the kids in tow, it would have been more sketchy than we would have been willing to do. I turned back and rejoined then as they reached a low point on the ridge, our agreed-upon meeting point. Sawyer and Aidan bounded ahead, practicing their best scree skiing skills. This was Sage's first time on this steep scree, so I rigged a cordalette to his harness so that he could just back down with me holding him. As Aidan and Sawyer headed for the car and slightly back up the canyon, Becca raced ahead with the key for them. I stayed with the pokey puppy, as we call Sage sometimes. We had a pleasant time chatting and walking back to the car, arriving just as the storm blew in!

GPS track note: I think that the map is a bit off here (or my GPS is). We were on the ridge crest for 90% of the ascent after the initial climb from the car. On the map it shows as off to the southwest. Oh well.

If you want to climb Stapafell - have fun! It is loose volcanic choss. It can certainly be done, but be very careful and avoid the upper grass slopes when they are wet!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1509 ft / 459 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1509 ft / 459 m
    Route:NW Ridge
    Start Trailhead:0 ft / 0 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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