Landowners of Mt. Kirkjufell have announced a winter hiking ban, RÚV reports. The aim of the ban, which takes effect today, is to ensure the safety of travellers and first responders; three deaths have occurred on the mountain over the past four years.
Ill prepared and oblivious to danger
On Saturday, November 5, landowners of the property on which Mt. Kirkjufell is situated met with the mayor and planning officer of Grundarfjörður alongside representatives from first responders and the Icelandic Tourist Board. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a response to the sharp rise in travellers and the numerous serious accidents that have been suffered during hikes up the mountain (including three deaths over the past four years).
This morning, the landowners sent a press release to various media outlets announcing that all hiking on the mountain would be banned, starting today, November 8. The press release noted, however, that hikers would be allowed to hike up the mountain in June of next year when nesting season had concluded. Signs will be installed on hiking paths and in the parking lot near Kirkjufellsfoss to relay this information.
Arrowhead Mountain attracts visitors
As noted in an article in RÚV, Mt. Kirkjufell became one of Iceland’s most popular attractions after appearing in the TV series Game of Thrones (as Arrowhead Mountain). Since then, a growing number accidents and deaths “necessitate increased safety measures,” according to property owners. Vegetation on the mountain has also suffered due to the number of hikers, which imposes a further threat to safety.
According to the press release, the property owners have noticed that many foreign travellers seem oblivious to the dangers of hiking up the mountain: “they hike up without the proper gear and in dangerous conditions.” Most of the accidents occur during fall or winter when conditions are the most difficult, which in turn endangers the safety of response parties, dispatched in the event of accidents.
The landowners concluded their statement by entreating everyone in the tourist and information business to remind travellers not to hike up Mt. Kirkjufell during winter. “These measures are taken with everyone’s safety in mind.”