Iceland Mountains

Bláfell, 1204m

Mountain area : Central, west
Maps : See below
Primary factor : 614m (needs verification)
Hiked : Aug 2004
Bláfell seen from southwest

Bláfell seen from southwest

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Bláfell is a large mountain located just east of the Langajökull glacier, and offers excellent views. Most likely, you will see all major glaciers on Iceland, from this point on a clear day. In summer, you can reach this mountain with a small car. Follow a paved road to the well-known Gullfoss, and proceed northbound approx. 30Km on gravel road. There are no visible trails up the mountain, but the terrain is easily traveled.

Bláfell forms a horsheshoe towards the west. The are two tops on this massif. The southernmost is the main summit (1204m). The northernmost summit (1165m) has a primary factor of 95m. It is not trivial to follow the main ridge between the two tops. If you plan to hike from point 1204m towards point 1165m, then try locating a descent route on the east side of the mountain. Alternatively, follow an exposed route down the steep west side. This route is described in the trip report below.


You will find Iceland maps on the web-sites listed below.

I am trying to obtain rough maps for use on this web page, but the sources I have checked so far demand annual royalty.

Primary factor:

Bláfell has a primary factor of 614m towards the higher Langajökull glacier. The saddle is near the road, west of Bláfell. On the way to Langajökull via Geldingafell you cross the 620m contours, but not 600m. The saddle height is interpolated to 590m.

Trip Report Aug 14 2004

After hiking Hekla the day before, we spent the night at Brattholt, near Gullfoss. It was becoming typical for our trip - just was we were running out of gas, food and places to spend the night, everything was resolved within minutes. We assigned the name "middle of nowhere" to the hotel at Brattholt. Dinner was served by two sweet girls, one of them Swedish. After the nice meal, we took an afternoon stroll along the river from Gullfoss. And perhaps with some unnecessary scrambling, influenced by a few beers during dinner.

The fog had sunk over the Gullfoss area when we went to bed, but the next morning, the weather was just great again. We were frequently told that this type of Icelandic autumn weather was extremely rare. After a short visit at the Gullfoss waterfall, we headed northbound towards Bláfell. We found the gravel road tiresome. We had done a number of miles on gravel roads, and we wondered how much this small car with the worn-down tires could take.

Bláfell (like all the other mountains we did) was described in the book "Íslensk fjöll", and we were under the impression that a visible trail ran up Bláfell's west ridge. We found no trail, but didn't bother looking hard. We couldn't quite see the value add of a trail in this type of desert terrain. I followed a gorge upwards. Seen from distance, it would be impossible to see, but here it was. Perhaps 8m high at the deepest. Besides this gorge, or small canyon, the rest of the route up the mountain was quite boring. We had left the car 09:55AM and arrived the summit 11:25AM.

Due to haze, it was very difficult to get any good views towards the east, but we enjoyed watching the Langajökull ("The long glacier") and the Jarlhettur front peaks towards the west. After a 5 minute stay on top, I suggested that we should head down the valley to vary the route. Bjørn agreed. We had seen the steep cliffs on the west side of the summit, but I imagined we could hike down to the saddle between points 1204m and 1165m, and hike down the valley from there. This proved to be difficult. We did not dare to try scrambling down to the saddle. I had a vague feeling that we should have been on the east side of the mountain, but I wanted to explore the mountain side a bit more.

From the lowest point on the steep western cliffs, we noticed a possible route down. The route looked technically easy, but the downside was that a fall would be very bad. We probably found the only route down the western cliffs, and it was marginal in places, due to loose rock and gravel. We made sure that no one at any point was above the other person. This was far from the worst terrain I've scrambled in, but we felt a touch of adrenaline. Which was nice, as we hadn't exactly faced many challenges on our hikes during our stay on Iceland.

We followed the valley downwards. From distance, the valley looked a bit boring, but we soon ran into huge canyons with waterfalls inside. It was quite amazing how interesting things popped up from nowhere. I took the motto "Those who seek shall find" and had an enjoyable hike down the valley. We were back at the car 13:00PM and enjoyed the impressive panorama towards Langajökull before we counted down the 30Km back to the paved road at Gullfoss.

Bjørn's stay on Iceland was coming to an end, and we were heading back to Reykjavik. On the way to Reykjavik, we stopped by the famous Geysir - the geysir which has given name to all the world's - - yes, geysirs.. The old man didn't deliver during our stay, but the lower Strokkur was quite reliable and steamed out on the clock. We moved on to lake Laugarvatn where Bjørn finally got to take a swim in heated water. Then it was back to Reykjavik and the same hotel we had left some days earlier.

Next stop: Moskardahnúkar

Pictures from the Aug 14 2004 hike

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Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format.

Gullfoss area

1. The river from Gullfoss (237KB) 2. Scrambling above the river from Gullfoss (116KB) 3. The river from Gullfoss (168KB) 4. Bjorn somewhat exposed (108KB) 5. Our hotel at Brattholt (89KB) 6. Bláfell seen from Gullfoss (211KB) 7. Horses by Gullfoss (78KB) 8. Gullfoss waterfalls (89KB) 9. Gullfoss waterfalls (71KB)


10. On the way up Bláfell (128KB) 11. Small canyon (68KB) 12. Small canyon (145KB) 13. Small canyon (165KB) 14. Bjorn arriving Bláfell summit (121KB) 15. Bláfell summit (242KB) 16. Summit view (96KB) 17. Summit view (180KB) 18. Summit view (220KB) 19. Heading down (169KB) 20. Not going down here (169KB) 21. Scrambling down the mountain (179KB) 22. Scrambling down the mountain (252KB) 23. Our route down the mountain (248KB) 24. View from the valley (154KB) 25. More canyons (177KB) 26. Canyon waterfall (181KB) 27. View from the valley (163KB) 28. Jarlhettur peaks (78KB) 29. Jarlhettur peaks (321KB) 30. Leaving the mountain (100KB)


31. The Geysir area (124KB) 32. Strokkur (93KB) 33. The Geysir area (192KB) 34. Strokkur (128KB) 35. Geysir (132KB) 36. Blafell and Geysir (93KB) 37. Geysir info (270KB) 38. Hekla seen from distant (63KB) 39. Laugarvatn (136KB) 40. Esja by Reykjavik (117KB)

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Pictures from other hikes:

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