Hekla volcano excursion
Day 2, May 13th, 2002
Full day tour from Reykjavik by 4x4 and snow cat up to the top of Hekla volcano, Iceland's most powerful and potentially danegrous volcano. From the top of Hekla there is a beautiful view onto most southern Iceland and when it's very cold, tourists can take advantage of geothermal heat coming out from the pumice stone
Hekla is the Iceland's most powerful and terrifying volcano. Its height varies continuously, but currently is around 1491 meters. The excursion will take place driving offroad over the lava fields, up to the base camp where we will continue by snowcat.
First, there is an about 1 hour drive over the immense lava fields surrounding the volcano's base (the tour starts from Reykjavik).
Until we reach the current snow's level. We leave the jeep, in order to continue by snowcat.
We soon start to ascend the snow-covered cone. On the left picture, the explosion crater from the year 2000 eruption is visible in the distance. The landscape all around is very unusual, with the white snow and the black lava coexisting all together.
Before reaching the top, we take some walk. Often the snow hides big cracks and holes, so the terrain must be carefully tested before making the next step.
Close to the top... we get some extra adventure as we end up in a small crack. Anyway, my guides fix the situation quickly and soon we can continue again.
The temperature is -6,5°C with a windchill factor often in excess of -20°C. The average snow's depth around the cone is about 10 meters. Anyway, on the top of the volcano there is much less snow (or even no snow at all) because of the heat produced by the volcano. It's incredible, but digging 10 centimeters under the pumice, the temperature becomes quite hot and it is possible to warm up my hands and feet.
The contrast between the warm ground and the cold snow, creates bizzarre shapes of ice. We have to be very carefully while walking and follow exactly the steps of our guide, because deep cracks and holes may be masked by thin layers of snow.
The work of the nature and the contrast between hot and cold is very impressive. Here, small caves where it may be possible to sleep inside.
The heat produced by the volcano melts some snow and creates thin clouds of vapor.
After this wonderful excurion, we start our long way back to Reykjavik.