Morpeth School 2016

Amelia Jones, Naz Mahmood

climbing in iceland

Their story, in their words…..

“Landing in Iceland was the probably the scariest and most exciting thing we’ve done. It was the moment we realised that we were on our own and that we actually had to complete the challenge. Our excitement, however quickly turned to dread and fear. Everything that could have possibly went wrong, went wrong. Our first task was to gather supplies from Reykjavik, which had taken us an hour and a very friendly visitor to find the supermarket. We were behind schedule and the weight of our camping equipment wasn’t letting us pick up the speed. We eventually made it to N1 (Icelandic gas station) were the make our camping gas was sold out, and the next closest gas station was very far away. At this point all hopes of having a successful trip vanished, we had 5 days worth of food and nothing to cook that with. Our safest bet was to the find the campsite in Reykjavik in which we planned to stay the night. The campsite was very modern and had cooking facilities, luckily.   After paying for the night and setting up our tent we decided to call it a day and rethink our plans for the following week.  We knew that climbing with our camping equipment was not an option due to their weight, if we had any hopes of climbing we had to leave them somewhere and so we paid for the remaining nights at the campsite and left out stuff behind (this of course created new challenges of getting back to cook food) the rest of the week however got much better we were able to sight see in the town of Reykjavik and most importantly climb/hike up our first mountain. We even got to see the Northern Lights!

Climbing in Iceland was very challenging; the fact that our time spent of Reykjavik went wrong made it difficult for us to adapt our plan for climbing. The campsite had told us about Mount Esjan which we could get to by bus, they estimated that it would take us about 2 and half hours to climb up and about 2 hours to climb down. The mountain is approximately 900 meters. The base at the mountain looked like a straight forward path and was relatively easy to walk up. The path however got gradually thinner as we hiked up further off the ground. The mountain was very steep and before we knew it we were struggling to continue. We knew however that if we did not reach near the peak of the mountain soon we would not be able to start going back to the campsite before dark. We held on to each other to keep balance and to support one another in case we fell. The time limit also made us panic, but we reassured ourselves that we could always turn back if the hike got too much. We definitely underestimated the difficulty of hiking; we easily became hot and irate with each other. When we finally reached near enough the peak we checked the time and it had taken us 3 hours to reach the top and 2 hours and 40 minutes to hike down which was equally difficult due to the risk of falling. The hardest part was hiking up the steeper parts of the mountain as the ground became more rocky and harder to walk on, walking down was also very difficult we made sure that we were very close to each other in case one of us fell. We managed to overcome the difficult parts of the climb by looking out at the view of the coast line and skyline of Iceland which made the experience worthwhile.

The most challenging part was trying to overcome all the problems we faced and the plan completely falling apart. We had to keep telling ourselves that we were not here forever and that we had a campsite to get back to. By the last night we were sad to leave and overall enjoyed the challenge.”