A foreign tourist fell to her death yesterday morning, March 22, at Glymur, a popular waterfall and hiking area in Hvalfjörður.
Glymur is a popular hiking destination, notable as the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland. An accessible day hike during the summer, conditions are very different during the winter, with ice and steep slopes along the gorge making for treacherous going.
According to Morgunblaðið, the woman was on a hike with her partner when she slipped and fell off the edge into the gorge, dying instantly. She was in her 20s.
ICE-SAR stated: “The operation was difficult and demanding, as there was a lot of ice in the gorge, and there were concerns of a collapse over the rescue team. Unfortunately, the woman was dead by the time ICE-SAR arrived.”
In addition to ICE-SAR teams, police were also on the scene.
A similar death occurred last fall, when a tourist fell to their death from Mt. Kirkjufell, a popular mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The deaths have raised questions about restricting access to these sites and the legality of such restrictions. In Iceland, all land is covered by a “right to wander,” meaning that individuals may pass through areas at will, as long they do not stay overnight or economically exploit it without permission, such as by fishing or hunting.
Regarding the recent accident, Margrét Björk Björnsdóttir, head of communications for the West Iceland Regional Office, stated: “The municipality has been trying to make improvements, but this is a popular hiking trail that needs to be managed better. An application has been made to the municipality’s tourist attractions development fund, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to be done, because the route is dangerous.”
Previous injuries on the hiking trail to Glymur have included broken legs and sprains, but this is the first recorded death at the waterfall.