About the Iceland Traverse
The Icelandic Traverse is a captivating and challenging long-distance hiking route that spans roughly 350 miles (560 kilometers) across Iceland's diverse and stunning landscapes. This epic journey takes adventurers through a dynamic range of terrains, showcasing the country's natural beauty.
Hikers begin their odyssey on the rugged coastline of the Melrakkaslétta peninsula, where they'll encounter dramatic cliffs, rocky shores, and views of the Arctic Ocean. The route then meanders southward to Dettifoss, one of Europe's mightiest waterfalls, before leading to the mesmerizing Lake Mývatn, known for its picturesque landscapes and pesky midge swarms during summer.
Beyond Lake Mývatn, the trail ventures into Iceland's remote interior highlands, featuring desolate lava fields and vast expanses of barren terrain. As hikers ascend into the Dyngjufjöll Mountains, they'll witness the Askja Caldera, home to the country's deepest lake, Öskjuvatn. The elevation can vary significantly, from sea level along the coast to higher altitudes in the interior.
The weather on the Icelandic Traverse is notoriously unpredictable, with hikers experiencing everything from sunshine to snowstorms. Summer offers the most favorable conditions, but even then, strong winds and rapidly changing weather patterns can pose challenges. It's essential for hikers to be well-prepared, with sturdy gear and provisions, as they embark on this epic adventure through Iceland's ever-changing and breathtaking landscapes.
Christof's Record Breaking Journey
Christof's remarkable journey through the Icelandic Traverse is nothing short of awe-inspiring. While he admits the challenge left him speechless, this adventure required extreme mental fortitude and constant self-evaluation. With 10 days worth of food in his pack, Christof embarked from the Hraunhafnartangi lighthouse at sunrise on August 19, 2023. Nervous but committed, he began the trek, feeling the weight of his food supply and the weight of the journey ahead.
In true unsupported style, Christof carried all his essentials from start to finish, only replenishing water along the way and adhering to regulations in National Parks and Nature Reserves. As the days unfolded, the Icelandic weather proved its capricious nature, subjecting Christof to both relentless sun and heat and torrential downpours. He adapted to the ever-changing conditions, meticulously adjusting layers to stay comfortable.
Paved road sections posed a unique challenge, as some drivers in passing cars proved inconsiderate, forcing him to navigate narrow shoulders. The final 17 miles to the southernmost lighthouse, especially on a busy Sunday afternoon, tested Christof's patience. However, Christof persevered, maintaining a pace ahead of his schedule and conquering the challenging last two days, marked by rain, wind, fog, and rough terrain.
This adventure demanded a blend of physical, mental, and adaptive skills, and Christof's account reflects the determination and resilience required. His journey, an intricate dance with Iceland's ever-shifting elements, was a testament to his unwavering spirit and readiness to tackle whatever nature threw his way.
Christof Teuscher is an accomplished ultramarathon runner and adventurer known for his remarkable endurance feats and trailblazing expeditions. With a passion for pushing his physical and mental limits, Christof has set numerous unsupported FKTs on challenging long-distance routes, including the Ozark Trail, Alpine Lakes Grand Tour, and more. Head to christofteuscher.com to read about his past adventures and follow along on the next one.