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Iceland, a land men stole from the gods. This is a story of 4 fellows who went on a journey ... ... to the heart of the Icelandic Highlands to ski the untouched hills ... ... of the volcanos Herðubreið and Askja. Ivica Kostelić - Expedition leader Matej Bradaškja - Alpinist/Skier Jan Podgornik - Alpinist/Cameraman Miha Deisinger - Cameraman We're stuck here inside the lava fields. Snow is terrible. There's no grip. I think we're doing maybe two kilometers per hour.

Real „Suffer Fest“. We started at around 12:30 PM... and in mostly good weather conditions we've travelled 18 kilometers in the next seven hours.

We are on the road F-88 which leads to Herðubreið and Askja. The night was quiet, the winds were weak. We woke up at 6:45 AM.

It was foggy and cloudy with weak southwest winds. This is Jökulsá á Fjöllum, another 23km to the "queen" (Herðubreið) Herðubreið looks impressive even in the mist, absolutely dominating the surroundings. We reach the base at Herðubreið around noon. First leg is finished, we've reached the base of Herðubreið.

It was exhausting, but we're here now. The upper part keeps on clearing and closing. We set up camp in a hurry so we wouldn't get caught in the rain. This is the charming icelandic weather.

A little bit of snow and then suddenly rain hits. Rain is the worst thing that can happen to you out here. An hour later the weather calms down. In the afternoon we headed towards the north face of Herðubreið via the route that seemed accessible.

The snow is hard, windblown and dry, a bit heavier at the bottom. Miha stayed at the bottom while I went to the middle of the mountain with Jan and Matej. Conditions are borderline at best. And Brdwn is almost at the “crown”. Look at the crown of our queen. It's getting really steep here. Given the flat light you have to ski carefully...

...if it's even possible. It's windy at the top. I don't know if I can push over the crown. From a nice ledge I watch the guys climbing towards the top. Brdwn ascended to the crown of the volcano. There’s a 60 degrees incline there and then an overhang on the crown itself.

Brdwn didn’t want to take any chances. He descended to my position and we went down together. So, how is it? No way.

We scouted the terrain and in the next days Brdwn will try to ski the first descend on the route we climbed today. According to the forecast the weather will be changing with weak to strong winds. Brdwn is impatient. I can see how much he wants to ski the first descend.

We're hoping the wind will calm down a bit during the day, otherwise we won't be able to climb the mountain. The winds are blowing 120 km/h at the top. If you're carrying skis, the wind will blow you right off like a leaf. You don’t stand a chance.

Even down here you can hardly stand when the gust hits. According to the forecast the windspeed down here is 60 km/h and 120 km/h on the mountain. We'll have to wait and see if we can get better conditions in the afternoon. The weather is nice. It's a waste. But that's how it is here at Herðubreið. Brdwn is sad…“Brdwn Blues“. He's walking around the mountain like a sad dog.

At around 3:00 PM we head towards the mountain to see if the ascend is possible. The winds got stronger with the increase in altitude. He starts in one minute. Miha, did you copy? Yes.

Come on Brdwn! Moment of silence for Artur - North face - Herðubreið (first descent) Well done, man! My fingers have frozen. But we got it. We woke up to a promising sunny morning, the winds were weak and calm. We weighed our options and decided to go to the “Grand Couloir”. How nice it is to be able to take of your gloves. Right? As we were ascending, the weather was worsening.

It’s not going to be possible to ski from the top today. That’s Jan and Ivo down there. Flat light. Total flat light. We’ll manage somehow. I lost my helmet. Such a loser.

Visibility is very poor, that's why Brdwn is waiting at the start. Weather changed very quickly. F**k, it's steep! GRAND COULOIR - North face - Herðubreið (First descent) We're unfortunate with the weather. The wind is blowing 100 km/h.

Ten minutes later Jan! Jan! Storm moved in very quickly and Jan stayed on the mountain. I can't see a thing. It’s good that you came, you almost missed us. I saw the road. It was already afternoon and there was a strong southwest wind when ... .. we packed up the camp and headed towards the south side of Herðubreið. We were moving the first three kilometers against strong winds. On our way we passed the easiest access to the top of Herðubreið.

The weather was sunny but the winds were still strong although weakening. We found an excellent spot for the camp close to the route we wanted to ski the next day. It was significantly colder than the previous day. A nice but windy day. The western wind was blowing in gusts. Our camp is very well protected from the wind. We would love to climb and ski in perfect conditions, but we can’t hope for them and so just the sunny weather is good enough. The snow conditions were very good today, but the wind blew in gusts again and it was uncomfortable for me.

This is the ledge for me! There’s Brdwn, close to the top. The wind is so strong it’s hard to keep still. I don’t how he is able to walk with skis on his back. I don't know how Brdwn is going to get over the crown in gusts like these, with 70, 80 km/h. He's full of energy, I'm afraid he might do something stupid. Viribus Unitis - South face - Herðubreið (First descent) The forecast was correct. It was a sunny day and the cloud got stuck at the crown.

First day without wind. Unbelievable. Miha, Jan and me climbed the classical route ... ... while Brdwn climbed the Viribus Unitis route on his own ... and got really cold waiting for us because it was minus 20 degrees with strong winds at the top. Time for a quick photo at the top. Everybody was anxious to get down because it was so cold.

You see...this is a true ski expedition. You know you are true skier when you have both nordic and alpine skis. There was flat light and fog when we entered the big crater of Askja, but the fog quickly cleared and the sun which was low on the horizon shone on the impressive arena. The Askja crater has a diameter of 15 kilometers and has mountains around the edges. We plan to climb on the highest point of the crater tomorrow.

We did 36 kilometers and we’re slowly finishing for the day. We’re in a hurry because the forecast shows that tomorrow it will be sunny only until noon. A difficult day.

Vježbaj, p***da ti materina - North face - Askja (first descent) Shangri-La - South face - Askja (first descent) Ni Sikiriki - South face - Askja (first descent) One more. If I didn’t have ears, my smile would stretch around my head. Askja is impressive. In fact, it’s a good question which one is more impressive, Herðubreið or Askja. I think both of them are the best of what Iceland can offer to an extreme skier. Such landscapes leave you speechless.

220 km, 2 volcanos, 6 first descends, 13 days.

2021-03-03 02:46

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