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Climbing Kirkjufell the morning after

Pictures are at the bottom...

After a looong night on the beach, we still largely managed to rise fairly early. Some of us obviously in better states of repair than others :)

After a nice leisurely breakfast, a lot of people returned to their preferred summer pastime, lounging and dozing in the sun. Lovely as that can be, I was a little bit sunburnt, and not hung over enough. Besides, I'd been trying to talk people into going up Kirkjufell while we were chatting the night before. Quite torn, I had really hoped to get the whole group to go up there, I eventually abandoned the lounge scene, despite it being filled with sleeping beauties, and headed off to give the mountain a try with Iveta and Jonas.

We would later joke with some people we met on top that, "all the icelanders are sleeping it off, all the foreigners are out here doing something"

Kirkjufell is quite an inspiring mountain. 463m, almost straight out of the sea. It has a very jagged skyline from Grundarfjörður, and is meant to be quite a serious hill. I had heard it was quite doable, but there were a couple of rope sections to climb up on, and wasn't to be taken too lightly.

It's also damn steep! And it was hot! We'd had great weather all weekend, maybe 17C, and only the lightest of breezes. Nevertheless we trooped onwards and upwards, quite glad for the dry weather, the grass on a slope like this would have been pretty treachourous in the wet.

We passed a group of icelanders having a break just before it got steep, but they were to have the last laugh. We saw a rope up one way, and I headed on up towards it, thinking it must be the first rope section. Fools. I should have known from the treachorous approach to the base of the rope. Oh, and that the bottom of the rope was still 3m up some pretty stiff climbing on loose rock, with a horrible landing.

Deciding that perhaps the mountain had gotten the better of us, and hey, at least we tried, we returned the way we had came. Though, the Icelandic group had headed off in another direction below us, and they hadn't come back yet. Perhaps there was another way after all.

Perhaps our way was just a suckers track. The other track, which I'd foolishly thought was a dead end, a track made by people looking for an easier way, was actually easy walking. Steep of course, the whole hill was steep, but not dramas. After setting ourselves on the right track, the whole mountain got a lot easier. We would find pieces of track here and there, and eventually, a dog, casually sitting on the hillside, tied to the end of one of the real ropes. A rope that hangs all the way down to the start of the cliff, on a cliff with a pretty nice landing, and that was easier to do with no rope that the death climb we'd said no to earlier.

The top is spacious and lovely, and in such great weather, it was truly magical. This was the hardest mountain I'd been up in a while, and it felt great. Of course, now that I know which way to go, it was actually fairly straightforward. It always helps if you know hard it needs to be. You look for the easier way, because you know it exists. By the time we got to camp, after 2 hours up and 1:20 down, almost everybody had left. Rakel and Kjartan were left, and although they were both sleeping beauties in the camper, all the sleeping beauties we'd left lying around in the sun on the grass had departed. We cooked up a dinner before we left, reluctant to leave, but eventually, headed off home. Iveta had to drive almost all of it, I could barely keep my eyes open, and I don't think Jonas was much better.

Happy birthday kids, it was a great weekend.

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