27 October 2021

Mountain Girl blog: Lucky Trolls

May 4, 2012

Since the last post on handguns and hilarity, I have had a life changing experience and from now on I will never be the same person again.

It is not the discovery that our local supermarket is finally selling hummus, nor the ground breaking news that my new favourite bottle of wine only costs 2 Euros, that have brought about this dramatic turn of events. Whilst these are admittedly big events in my life, what I’m really talking about is my latest and last trip of the winter – to Iceland to ski tour the Troll Peninsula with my father.

After Dad gave me the heads up that he was heading that way to do a bit of backcountry ski exploration, I thought that it would be a fine idea to tag along too, see what all the hype was about , and have a bit of an adventure together. I was ready to be impressed and I had hoped it would be amazing – I’d heard of the cool concept of skiing from summits right down to the sea, had read that Reykjavik had a special vibe, and that the Icelandic people were incredible but I had no idea of just exactly how amazing a place this really would turn out to be.

After a night in Reykjavik we boarded a plane to Akureyi in the north of the island and the adventure started as soon as we set foot on the tarmac and were met by probably the best looking mountain guide I have ever laid eyes on. That’s laid EYES people, come on, my Dad might be reading this…

If meeting our guide was a spectacular visual experience for certain female members of the group, it turned out to be nothing in comparison to the awesome landscape that we would spend the week touring together. Northern Iceland is truly immense and when the sun is shining it may be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even on a cloudy day, when the sun does break through it can light the sea and hills in such a magnificent way that I have only ever seen before in old paintings.

Comparisons to Scotland are definitely valid but the difference in Iceland is the mountains – they literally go on and on as far as the eye can see. If trolls are the stuff of fantasy, then the mountains of the Troll Peninsula are equally mythical and legendary.

Considering we were a few miles outside of the Arctic Circle, I was totally prepared that rain/wind/snow/hail/low viz may all have stopped play at anytime on the trip. I thought this would literally come with the territory but fortunately, it was not to be the case. Six days out of six were recorded out on the mountain, anything from 900m to 1,400m of ascent made on a daily basis, steep couloirs skied, and all snow conditions encountered including surprisingly deep floaty powder!

When our handsome guide made the observation that we may have had ‘horseshoes up our asses’ so lucky were we with the weather, I realised just how much fortune was on our side. That was until we were introduced to the local delicacy of rancid shark meat one evening at dinner – let’s just say that anything that reeks of pee and tastes worse than it smells can make you question your luck at any time!

To be honest the thing that made me feel the luckiest over the course of the trip was the ability to have shared this trip with my father. I have many more stories that I will tell in upcoming posts but I wanted to start with a realization of what is truly important in this life. Time marches, life moves quickly and can change in an instant so when opportunities like this exist for whatever reason, it really is so important to seize them if you possibly can.

My father introduced me to this crazy, wonderful world of ski touring several years ago and so it goes without saying that it was just fab to have the opportunity to summit and rip up some quality descents together. At 68 the guy is a total legend and pretty much put the rest of us to shame with his fitness, experience and drinking capabilities over the week! At varying points over the course of the trip, every member of the group was heard to describe him as ‘awesome’ and we all agreed that we sincerely hoped we would still be doing what he was doing when we were 68. Special times are made by special people and I am so grateful to have spent this time in Iceland with my father and so proud that he is my Mountain Dad. I love you Johnny.

For more information on Iceland have a look at www.inspiredbyiceland.com.

For more details on ski touring or heli skiing the Troll Peninusula, get in touch with Bergmenn Mountain Guides  at www.bergmenn.com

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About Sophie’s blog

Mountain Girl is passionate about the vertical wilderness, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, hiking, trail running, biking, and rock climbing. Oh and Prosecco - she really likes Prosecco.


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