Here comes our first blog from our special advisor on mountaineering Einar Bjarnason.
Einar has been a member of ICE-SAR for many years and is part of an „Undanfarar“ team, a group of highly specialized mountain rescuers within ICE- SAR – the Icelandic Search and Rescue Association. The members of these groups are extremely well trained and often operate in dangerous enviroments.
Here below he gives us a little insight into their work.
The members of this team have to go through a lot of experience, training and exercises. They need to be able to survive on their own in extremely treacherous conditions such as a blizzard on a glacier. They carry their whole equipment along and can operate completely independently for 48 hours in almost any condition. The members of these groups specialize among other things in search, avalanche assessment and avalanche rescue, rigging for rescue, first aid and of course outdoor orientation. The Specialized Mountain Rescue Teams operate as close-knit crews of 8-15 people within larger Search and Rescue units called „Björgunarsveitir“ in Icelandic. Today seven of this highly specialized „Undanfarar“ teams operate in the whole of Iceland and these groups meet once a month for training and exercises. Most of the team members are active hikers, climbers, skiers and mountain bikers and some of them work as specialized trekking guides.
The incentive to work in such a specialized Mountain Rescue team is beside the excellent comradeship clearly the opportunity to educate yourself and gather experience. The training we receive helps us to experience a thrilling feeling I like to call „freedom of the hill“. In order to get to that point you need to have the required technical and physical ability in addition to sensible judgement and vast experience in mountaineering in Iceland. The stronger your capabilities are the more you enjoy the challenge. You become excited to take on all the peaks and routes you might have only dreamt of some time ago. Not to mention the joy of exploration of new places and natural wonders. There is a lot of gratification to be drawn from experiencing this authentic joy with somebody else – to follow a hiker or climber who is encountering a new route or peak for the first time.“
All the best and stay safe!
If you would like to visit the members of a Mountain Rescue Team please check out our website:
By visiting them you are donating to these wonderful teams since 100% of the tour price will go to the relevant team you are visiting.