Sat 03 Feb - Sun 11 Feb 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Do I need previous skiing experience?

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

Terrain

Luggage Allowance & Valuables

Typical Day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing & Equipment

Toilets

Phone & Wi-Fi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training Weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Iceland Glacier Trek is graded as “extreme”. This challenge is suitable for participants who want to push themselves physically and mentally. You should not undertake this challenge without significant training.

You can tell your supporters that on your Icelandic Lava Trek you will be:

  • Ski trekking across the second largest glacier ice cap in Iceland.
  • Camping on the ice cap.
  • Pushing physical and mental limits

Do I need previous skiing experience?

Previous skiing experience would be highly advantageous, but not strictly neccesary.  If you have never skiied before, it is advised to try skiing beforehand as there won't be much time to learn from scratch on the challenge.

Money

Currency: Icelandic Krona. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com.

Credit cards: Most major Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland, although Mastercard and Visa are most common. American Express cards are not widely accepted. You will not be able to use your cards at all during the trek until you arrive at Reykjavik, so ensure that you have enough cash available.

Spending money: You will not need to carry a large amount of money during this trip. We recommend that you change your pounds into Krona in England before you go, and that you carry a sufficient amount of cash with you during the trek, as the banks/exchange offices may also be closed by the time you return to Reykjavik. 

Tips: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. GBP£5 / 3000 Krona per participant per trekking day and this should be given to the challenge leader at the end of the challenge who will distribute it amongst the local support team.

Visa

UK Citizens do not require a visa to visit Iceland. You will however need your passport and it must be valid for at least six months from the end of your challenge. You may also be asked for proof of return in the form of your flight ticket.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please visit the NHS Government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge team are travel professionals, they are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow Airport to Keflavik with Iceland Air. The flight will take approx 3 hours.  Your flight tickets will be issued to you on the day of departure at London Heathrow Airport. If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 8 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 10 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We can run this trip with groups of 6-7 people, but there will be a small group supplement of £75.

This is payable by your charity if you book under the minimum sponsorship or flexi options, and by yourself if you are a self-funder. If a small group supplement is necessary, we will notify you 12 weeks before departure.

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak English to varying degrees. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

You will be spending all day and night on the ice cap in freezing temperatures and you will need proper technical equipment in order to complete this challenge.

Temperatures can get as low as -15 celcius during the night and during the day can average between 0 and -8 celcius.

Terrain

Your days and nights will be spent on the glacier, apart from the first and last nights in Reykjavik.

Luggage Allowance & Valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details on what to pack are provided in your Kit List. Your rucksack or holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed 15kgs in weight. During the challenge, your bags will be dragged by you using pulks that are provided in-country.

Whilst we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times.

Typical Day

Its very difficult to give a typical day as it will be heavily dependent on the weather and conditions, but a rough guide, you will wake up early, collect snow, melt snow, boil water and make breakfast and warm up. You will then organise yourself and get your kit sorted for the day. The less you need to do once you have started skiing the better so preparation is key. You will fill your water bottles and flasks and get your snack food ready. Then the task of breaking down camp begins. Once the tents are down and packed on to your sledges, you will need to start walking/skiing/sledge hauling, to keep warm and progress further north! You will stop every hour or so to have some water and snack. You’ll check on each other and then continue for another hour. This will continue for around 8-9 hours but could be more if required. Your leader will dictate the speed and distance to be covered. On some days this could be smooth going on others you could spend hours just trying to negotiate an open lead. When your leader advises you will stop and pitch tents, and start the evening routine. Collecting snow, melting snow, boiling water and making your freeze dried dinner. Keeping warm and dry is key. After a good night’s rest, the whole process begins again.

Accommodation

During the challenge, your accommodation will be in two-man tents and on the last night in hostel or guesthouse accommodation (twin rooms).

Food & Drink

The food will be basic but very filling and nutritious. Breakfast will consist of porridge, cereal and tea/coffee.  Lunch will be a ‘make your own’ packed lunch of sandwiches and crackers. If the weather allows, there may be boiled soup too. Dinner will be soup followed by meat/fish and pasta/rice, and a dessert. Coffee, tea and soup will be supplied throughout and plenty of drinking water will be available to keep you hydrated. You might want to bring some extra snacks, such as tracker bars, nutrigrains, dried fruits etc. There is nowhere to buy food or alcohol at any point during the trek, so please come prepared if you would like anything over and above the food provided! Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Clothing & Equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, we will provide a comprehensive kit list and can also help you to buy the gear through some outdoor retailers with whom we have negotiated some discounts. With significant cold weather, keeping warm and dry is paramount. We will advise you and support you to ensure you are properly kitted out. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here.

Ski gear will be provided in Iceland.

Toilets

On the main challenge there are no facilities and you should pack a ‘pee bottle’ for the tent at night and take plenty of toilet paper and anti-bacterial hand gel (NB: wet wipes freeze).

Each camp will have a set-aside toilet area where a hole will be dug.

Phone & Wi-Fi

Most of the accommodation you are in will have limited Wi-Fi which you will be able to use, but please do not rely upon this. You are unlikely to have any phone signal once you leave reykjavik.

We will have a satellite phone with us for emergencies and the guides and leaders will all have radios.  While at camp, each tent will have there own short range walky talky so contact can always be made in case of bad weather.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Iceland Glacier Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The trails that you are on are not all accessible by vehicle, and as such emergency evacuation to a hospital may take upwards of  2 hours, depending on the location.
  • Distances are immense, and facilities scarce.
  • Logistics problems are enormous; the weather ferocious and unpredictable, and the ice condition is unstable. Even before the ski challenge itself begins, there can be major delays and changes to the programme.
  • Once on the ice, our progress will depend on the weather conditions, the physical state of the group, whether the ice is flat or broken up or whether we encounter any leads (breaks in the ice).
  • It is important to consider possible delays or alterations, and accept them with patience.
  • The challenge area is very remote and rescue can sometimes only really be implemented if helicopters can fly which is heavily dependent on the weather.
  • Temperatures can go as low as –10 degrees centigrade and if you do not look after yourself, frostbite is a possible side effect.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there will be a discrepancy in people’s speed on the ice and capabilities in camp. This is allowed for. In the unlikely event that rescue from the ice is required, this will be carried out by satellite phone call.

Training

Training and a high level of fitness are definitely required. A full Fitness Training programme is included within the challenge cost and more will be explained during the training weekend. You will be skiing and sledge hauling for around 8 hours a day and still have lots of physical work to do in setting up and breaking down the camp. We will provide a training guide but essentially you should improve your cardio vascular ability and practice pulling a tyre with a harness to simulate the actions and work the muscles that you will be using on the challenge. You do not need to be an expert skier but some confidence on skis will of course help! In your account area you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes.

Training Weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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