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Eiriksjokull Glacier

Region: Highland
Coordinates: 64.7667° N 20.4° W

Glacier Eiriksjokull (1,675 m) has an area of about 22 km sq. and rests on top of one of the largest table mountains of the country. The area of its foundations is about 40 km sq. It is the highest mountain of West Iceland. It was created during the latter part of the ice age and the eruption lasted long enough to melt the ice all the way through. That way a so-called hyaloclastite foundation was created during the sub-glacial eruption and a shield volcano on top after the eruption continued in the open. A few glacier snouts flow down the northeastern and northern slopes. This ice cap is located just south of the lava field Hallmundarhraun and to the west of the second largest ice cap of the country, Langjokull.

Tempting for many mountaineers

On a fine day it is very prominent from the western Borgarfjordur Lowlands and from the main road across the Holtavorduheidi moorland. The pass between the ice caps is called Flosaskard.

Glacier Eiriksjokull tempts many mountaineers. It is not too difficult to climb, but its screes are steep and require time to conquer. In the northern screes is a cliff called Eiriksgnipa. It and the mountain were named after a certain Eirikur, who was a member of a group of young students of the school at Holar in the North. They had caused a fatal accident and fled into the mountains to hide from justice. They found shelter in the largest lava cave of the country, Surtshellir, and stayed there for a while. During their stay, they stole sheep and horses from the farmers of the Borgarfiordur District. The farmers mobilized a posse to arrest the students. They were lucky enough to find them asleep in a depression in the landscape near River Nordlingafljot. One of the students, Eirikur, a swift runner, ran up the screes of the mountain and his persecutors managed to maim him, but he continued by vaulting across the ice cap and escaped. The others were killed.

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