Landowners Announce Hiking Ban on Popular Mt. Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

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.”

Road Administration Launches New Website for Travellers

www.umferdin.is

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration launched a new website yesterday. The new website will offer more detailed information on road and weather conditions.

More advanced, more accessible, more detailed

Yesterday morning, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) held a meeting to introduce its new website: www.umferdin.is.

According to a press release from IRCA, this new website – which will replace the previous road-conditions map on the administration’s site (www.road.is) – is “more advanced, more accessible (especially on smart devices), and will offer greater opportunities for development going forward.” The map is also zoomable, and the design of the website has been modernised.

Read More: When and why did Icelanders start driving on the right side of the road?

According to IRCA, www.umferdin.is will offer more detailed information on driving and road conditions. This information is recorded by the Road Administration’s staff and contractors around the country. Between October and April 30, information on the website is updated every day from 7 AM to 10 PM. Between May 1 to September 30, information on the website is updated every day from 8 AM to 4 PM.

Weather and traffic data that appear on the site are gathered by IRCA’s weather stations and other measuring devices around the national road network, as well as by a number of the Icelandic MET Office’s weather stations. The base map’s overlays originate from an open database at Landmælingar Íslands.