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Climbing at Hnappavellir

Pictures are at the bottom...

After the last climbing trip, over a beer in Hressó, Bjöggi tried to put together a climbing trip to Hnappavellir based around when he would get back from Greenland. The date picked was Verslunnamannahelgi, and with no other plans, a climbing and camping trip sounded just perfect. Eva was going to be in the East at a music festival with her kids, and would meet us there on her way back.

I had Guido's wedding the night before, so after a sleep in, and leaving Wolfgang with the keys so he could get out to the airport that evening, I headed off south. I was meant to have some company which would have halved the petrol costs, but it fell through at the last minute, so I had the car to myself. (We ended up with more than one pull out. Bjöggi got his dates mixed up and was still in Greenland, so we ended up with Eva and her kids, Daniel and Solrún, and her two sisters, Tinna and Sóley, and myself.)

I arrived in Skaftafell in time for a bonfire and a singalong, featuring a bunch of teenage boys and girls, presumably scouts left over from the jamboree in Akureyri the week before. Eva and I tried to teach them some of the missing lyrics, but they were too busy flirting with each other to pay attention to us old fogies across the fire.

Despite some rain in camp, we headed over to the cliffs anyway to give it out best shot. The micra did some of its deepest swimming to date getting in there, but we did better than Eva's corolla, which had to be pushed up the muddy slope on the way back out again that afternoon :)

There were a few climbers milling around, so after a bit of a stroll around the nearby cliffs, reviewing the guidebook which I'd foolishly not even opened yet, we picked a climb to start on. Back in the saddle!

I had a pretty mixed day, nice to be out, good company, but my climbing was pretty mediocre. I had to rest on bolts a few times, and was reading the routes pretty badly. But hey, I still got up them all :)

We climbed three routes, with just about everyone having a go at all of them. Tinna showed up her sisters by climbing as high as Eva got on any of them, and never having been before.

There was a couple of guys putting up a new route while we were there. I'm not local enough to criticize them, but it featured way more gardening than I felt was acceptable, especially to bolt a short crack in a wet zone that was probably going to regrow much of what they gardened. There were some nicish looking routes there, but given what I'd heard about it, I didn't really see it as being substantially better than anywhere else, just more developed. They do have a nice campground there, and friendly landowners, which is probably enough.

Eventually though, the rain forecast for us caught up again, and we headed back to camp for some dinner. Eva had prepared quite a spread of marinated chicken kebabs, and I had a few pieces of marinated pork as well, so all together we came up with a great dinner, followed by marshmallows on the coals. Chatting and gossipping we watched the skies clear over us to bright sun, even allowing us a view of Hvannadalshnukur, before retiring to bed. (And waking to yet more rain)

Protip, if you're camping somewhere, and expect peace and quiet, don't set up tent beside the only grill station in the entire campground.

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