1985 TransIceland

  • Start date: April 19, 1985
  • End date: May 22, 1985
  • Start / end point: East-West circular route Reykjavik-Reykjavik
  • Total kilometers: 450
  • Duration: 33 days
  • Challenges achieved: 1st Spanish crossing in Iceland


On the 15th day after returning from the Transpirenaica, Ramón Larramendi embarked on another adventure together with his two companions, José Bellido and Gabriel Cárdenas, whom Pedro Guevara joined. His goal was to cross Iceland, his first contact with the Polar Regions.

At the beginning of April 1985, they had already prepared the 300 kilos of cargo they needed, and for which they had managed to raise some funds from companies and institutions. They were between 19 and 20 years old. Their goal was to cross Iceland`s three great interior glaciers: Langjökull, Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.

On April 9 they traveled to Rotterdam (Holland), where they embarked towards Iceland aboard the Skeifodss ship, crossing the North Sea. Their first serious setback was when they arrived in Reykjavik, where the authorities would not let them leave due to security problems on the trip: the weather was not adequate, they were considered too young and the equipment was insufficient: each one had 65 kilos of weight loaded on a pulka for about two months of crossing. Finally, they let them out with the commitment not to reach the third glacier and call from a weather station at the first one, Langjökull.


On April 19 they began the adventure. Soon they found themselves sunken deeply in the snow, advancing with difficulty, but kept on going until they reached the weather station. At night, to protect themselves from the wind and snow, they built a wall of circular ice blocks, inside which they installed the tent. From the station, they would continue their route towards the second glacier, Hofsjökull. To arrive there, they had to cross 25 km of ice and scoria from volcanic eruptions, with cracks that blocked their way. They were strung and totally dependent on the compass, in times where GPS technology was not available.

At this point they had to divert to the town of Akureyri to make another agreed upon call to Reykjavik, which almost cost them their lives, since they were disoriented in the middle of a strong blizzard. On the way to the refuge they had to travel 40 km, with an altitude level difference of 1,000 meters, which they managed in 14 hours with a superhuman effort.

The last stage towards the third glacier, Vatnajökull, was also complicated, given that rivers and lakes were already in the melting phase. The last major obstacle before reaching Vatnajökull was a thawed river about 15 meters wide which they had to cross, with water up to their knees, at an extremely cold temperature. Their immediate goal was a refuge known as Grimsvötn.

Once reaching the glacier, where they observed some mountains that were not in the maps, they began their descent through a glacial tongue in which they found cracks up to 12 meters wide, so they had to return to study another route of departure. Finally, they found the Iceland ring road, which would take them back to Reykjavik, by bus.

Expedition images

Send this to a friend