Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel




Trek the Black Raven Reef, Iceland

Through the Hrafntinnusker Caldera East to the Eldgjá Fault

6 days hut-to-hut trek through the Hrafntinnusker caldera East to the Eldgjá fault starting and finishing in Reykjavik, with 4x4 support vehicle.

Difficulty Level: easy to moderate - 6 to 8 hours daily hiking - Non-technical
Accommodation: Huts
Group size: Maximum 12 participants (multi-national participants)
English speaking guide

Hrafntinnusker, IcelandThe name 'Hrafntinnusker', which means 'Black Raven Reefs' is a perfect example of the natural poetry of the Old Icelandic language. It refers to a chaos of obsidian, an intensely black vitrified lava, sharp as razor, which spreads among soft colored hills in the centre of a vast caldera, the 'Black Raven Reef'.

This packed itinerary is part of our collection of trips that aims at purist hikers with a spirit of adventure. This year, we are offering several departures for a maximum number of twelve participants.

Our guides, all experienced mountaineers, will lead you safely through this incredible landscape. Starting at the foot of the imposing Hrafntinnusker caldera through the Landmannalaugar Valley and ending at the fault of Eldgjá, this short trek will lead you through a world of volcanic features - huge lava fields, mountains of rhyolite, basalt, obsidian and pumice, through a geothermal area of hot springs and fumaroles, blast craters and fissures. You will discover surreal, moss-covered valleys and drink from the freshest, clearest streams. And always towering above are the majestic, shimmering icecaps, covering huge, dormant volcanoes which are surrounded by vast black sand flats, criss-crossed by a myriad of melt water streams.

Presenting no difficulty for good walkers, on most days each hiker carries only a light daypack as a 4x4 truck carries all personal belongings, heavy equipment and supplies. Every day involves an average of 6-8 hours hiking. Accommodation, during the trek is a combination of some nights in comfortable expedition tents and some nights in the well equipped mountain huts, all in beautiful locations.

The isolation and severity of the landscape demands that each participant must be in good physical condition and that they actively participate in the trip tasks, i.e. the group must work together to set up camp, prepare food etc. This trek is designed for those who wish to fully experience unspoiled nature at its best, and see what they may never even have dreamed of.

itinerary (1K)

(B: breakfast - L: lunch - D: dinner)

Landmannalaugar, Fjallabak, Iceland

Day 1: Reykjavik - North Fjallabak - Hrafntinnusker caldera

Early morning rendezvous with your guide at your accommodation. Hiking clothes and daypack ready for trekking (A bag with clean clothes can be stored in your Reykjavik accommodation or in our storage in a village called Hella). We drive for about 3 hours crossing moors and black deserts near Mount Hekla until we reach Landmannahellir. It has been used for ages and is still used by the shepherds as a base for gathering thousands of sheep in the fall, after having grazed free all summer long. Slow climb to the colourful caldera of Hrafntinnusker.
Driving Distance: 200km/3 hours
Elevation: +500m
Walking: 4-6 hours
Accommodation: Hut
Meals: L, D

Day 2: Hrafntinnusker caldera to South Fjallabak

Walking among countless bubbling, steaming hot springs, we cross this pearl of the interior, famous for its incredible natural beauty. More obvious are the amazing rhyolite mountains, formed in incredible bands of pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, white, orange and red and glittering with innumerable black, glass-like obsidian lava... down to Fjallabak South.
Elevation: -500m
Walking: 6-8 hours
Accommodation: Hut
Meals: B, L, D

Fjallabaksleid, Iceland

Day 3: Torfajökull - Mölifellssandur

We cross the sands of Mælifellssandur. In the middle of this strange black flatness stands the solitary cone of Mælifell, covered in fluorescent green-coloured moss. We are able to explore the extraordinary landscapes between the southern flank of the Torfajö¨kull caldera and the mighty dome of the Mý´rdalsjö¨kull icecap. Beneath this huge sheet of ice lies Katla, another of Iceland’s angriest volcanoes. She last erupted in 1918 and is long overdue for another eruption.
Elevation: +/-200m
Walking: 5-7 hours
Accommodation: Hut
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4: Strútslaug - Lake Holmsárlón

We proceed to the shores of the long, narrow Holmsárlón lake. We reach the place nicknamed 'the red baptismal fountain'. The waterfalls at the end of the turquoise colored lake plunging into the red crater, is a sight to behold. Of course, we cannot resist taking a bath in Strútslaug, a nearby, natural hot spring pool. Elevation:- 300m
Walking: 7-8 hours
Accommodation: Hut
Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: Alftavötn - Fault of Eldgjá

Eldgia, IcelandWe follow the falt of Eldgja, the longest eruptive fissure on earth. Today it is covered by moss and crossed by a clear stream. As large as the Laki eruption was in 1783, the Eldgjá eruption which occurred in the same mountainous region in A.D. 934-940 was bigger. During the six years that this eruption was active, lava spewed from several vents along a discontinuous 75-km-long (47-mile-long) fissure system and buried more than 781 km² (302m²) of southern Iceland. Fortunately, huge eruptions like those at Eldgjá and Laki are very unusual; otherwise, life would not be as we know it. Though the hazards posed by lava flows and volcanic gas here are obviously very important to us, they are still tiny in comparison to what our big blue planet is capable of.
Elevation: - 300m
Walking: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Hut
Meals: B, L, D

Day 6: North Fjallabak or South Coast - Reykjavik

We leave the soft landscape of Alftavötn, the 'lakes of the swans', and after a short walk we join the trail of Fjallabak North, near the inhabited area of the Skaftá district, which is bordered by the enormous lava fields of Laki. Then, we travel by bus along the Fjallabak North route or along the sea shore of the South coast, to reach Reykjavik where we will arrive in the late afternoon.
Driving Distance: 240km
Elevation: -300m
Walking: 2-3 hours
Meals: B, L

Departures in 2015

TBR 705: Jul 05 - 10
TBR 712: Jul 12 - 17
TBR 726: Jul 26 - 31
TBR 809: Aug 09 - 14
TBR 823: Aug 23 - 28
TBR 906: Sep 06 - 11

Price upon request

Start and finish in Reykjavik (accommodation and transfer from/to airport is not included in the package rate, but can be arranged on request).

Included:

Not Included:

Accommodation during the trip: Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts (usually one, comfortable, mixed bunkhouse) and depending on route and conditions, at the peak of the season 1 or 2 nights may be spent in spacious double tents equipped with comfortable mattress. Showers are available in most of the huts.

Trip preparation and notes: Walking level - Moderate. 6-day assisted trek, carrying a light daypack. This should present no serious difficulty for persons with at least some mountain walking experience, plus a good level of personal fitness. An experienced Icelandic guide assisted by a driver leads the trek. The group is expected to assist with all aspects of making and breaking camp, including meal preparation. Once in the mountains, each group becomes an independent entity. The camaraderie, teamwork and friendships forged, add much to the richness of each person's experience. This trek passes through some areas of complete wilderness. Most of the trekking is off-track, with underfoot conditions constantly changing. Therefore, sturdy, well worn-in hiking boots are a must. Most days involve river crossings, so it is essential that all trekkers carry suitable footwear to change into. See our kit list for more information. We trek for 6-7 hours per day, on average, but this may be longer, dependant on weather conditions and group speed. Maximum altitude no more than 1300m. Elevation change for most days should be no more than 600m, rising to 1000m if ascent Mount Hekla.

Predeparture Notes and Kit List

Important: Iceland is an extremely geoactive island. Earthquakes and volcanic activity can occur at any time, which may impact your travel plans. We can not take responsibility for the way in which the forces of nature interfere with travel plans. It is therefore of utmost importance that you purchase adequate travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance. It is important to make sure your travel insurance covers 'adventurous activities'.

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.