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Overnight hiking, caving, climbing, doing it all in the south

Pictures are at the bottom...

An action packed, if not overpacked weekend. Logi and I got the mad idea of hiking over Fimmvörðuháls one thursday night/friday day, in the gathering autumn. The wild plan was to drive down, hike over in a day, and catch the 3pm bus from Þórsmörk back out to the main road and hitch to the car. Logi would then go home, and I would be met by a three car posse heading down to Hnappavellir to go climbing for the weekend.

Well, we drove down there ok. And it was still rather dark, so we got a bit of sleep and got up a few times, but it was still super dark. It was also completely covered in clouds. Skógarfoss was barely under the clouds. So, though we knew we were man enough to _do_ the walk, we didn't feel like we needed to _prove_ it by spending our day walking in fog. That's just no fun. So, we went for a nice early morning swim at Seljavallalaug, and actually headed all the way back into Reykjavik.

And so began stage 2! A climbing trip to Hnappavellir. I'd been there two weeks earlier with Eva and her family, and now Eva was coming again, Bjöggi and Víðar, and Eggert and Bel. The idea was to climb, bbq, walk, hangout, and use a weekend camping.

We arrived in slightly damp weather, right on dusk, but that didn't stop Bjöggi and Víðar going for a quick climb. Madmen. They did look very mean though, both in wool sweaters, with pipes. Clipping draws on a 10m sport climb :)

With overnight rain, Víðar pulled out the newly published caving guidebook, and we headed off to try our luck with Úfsi, a smallish cave up the back of Brunahraun/Eldhraun, along the Þverá. (Turn north at Orustuholl) Eva's car made an admirable effort along the road, but we eventually abandoned it, and packed in like sardines into Víðar's suzuki jimmy.

Surprisingly, we even found the cave. We just wandered around in the area for quite a while, (maybe an hour?) but eventually, the entrance was found. You can cover a reasonable amount of ground with 6 people spread out across swathe of land. Even more surprisingly, we were only the 6th or 7th group to bottom the cave. (I can't remember now, this is why I should write up trip sooner. I really _did_ plan on writing this trip up sooner, but I managed to take a whole heap of _really_ mediocre photos this weekend, so despite all the stories, I've got very little to show for it)

I doubt very much that we were the 6-th or 7th group to _enter_ the cave, but there's a rather tight squeeze towards the end, and Bel and Eggert turned back there. I doubt they were the first, nor the last to turn back at the pinch. Beyond the pinch is a big cavern, (bigger than any earlier) with much cleaner floors, a short passage descending forwards, and then the real end. And a coke bottle. With a collection of scraps of paper dating back to 1994. All 6 or 7 of them. We happily found an extra bit of paper, and attempted to stuff it all back together without damaging some of the slightly damp paper any more than it already was.

We then headed back out, leaving Bjöggi to take some pictures.

This took quite a while.

Turns out Bjöggi was holding the shutter open for longer and longer periods, wondering how long he'd have to expose for to get enough light! Caves are a little dark for that however, so we all had a good laugh when he finally realised, and came walking up out of the darkness to join us again :)

A big bbq dinner that night, with the campground all to ourselves, and then more dampness in the morning, so an early ride home. We stopped at Dverghamrar on the way back, a place I'd often meant to stop at, but never quite got to. It's quite pleasant, would be a nice place to sit and read a book. It also has some rather excellent hand cracks, unfortunately, they all top out with vegetated rubble, and it's not really an acceptable place to climb.

A very fun, if not particularly successful (by the original aims of the expedition) trip away. A camping trip is always best.

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