Photograph by Guðmundur Tómasson, Aurora
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An ice climber ascends a steep glacial ice wall in southern Iceland.

Photograph by Guðmundur Tómasson, Aurora

Ice Climb Untouched Routes in Iceland

This frozen landscape is covered in waterfalls ready for first ascents.

Recommended by: Tim Emmett, Ice Climber

It’s no surprise that Iceland is full of, ahem, ice. What is surprising is that few of its frozen waterfalls have ever been climbed, owing to the relative newness of the sport and the country’s dearth of people.

"Iceland, as the name suggests, is an ice climber’s heaven," Emmett says. "The potential for new climbs is huge." Currently, climbers start in places like Svínafellsjökull and Sólheimajökull, glaciers on the southern coast of the country that have great fortresses of blue-hued and black-striped ice perfect for beginners.

But Emmett eyes more out-of-the-way spots near towns like Ísafjördur, a remote town in the fjords of northwestern Iceland. With over a dozen glaciers on one country-size island, the possibilities, Emmett says, are endless.

Plan This Trip: Borea Adventures offers ice climbing trips in Iceland.

British ice and rock climber Tim Emmett has put up first ascents across the globe, including Cuba, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia. One of his most nervy feats was a 2012 ice climb up British Columbia’s Helmcken Falls, widely thought to be the most difficult ice climb in the world. Emmett doesn’t restrict himself to simply going up, however. He also BASE jumps, flies wingsuits, skis, snowboards, and surfs.