Ice Guardians. Explore, Learn & Experience Vatnajökull Glacier

Most of us have surely attended a concert or two at some stage in our lives. That incredible feeling of squeezing in amongst a sea of people, dancing and swaying rhythmically like rolling waves lapping the shore while the musicians of the night fill the venue with a magic that can not only be heard but also felt.

What a buzz! 

Many have also likely experienced shows that were more quaint, where a small audience came together for a more intimate connection with the band or artist. Akin to seeing a favorite group play at their house, there’s less of a party vibe and more of an opportunity to take things in, learning about the artists, seeing their facial expressions as they create, and listening to their rambles in between songs. 

Despite both instances sharing the chief purpose of enjoying live music, comparing the two would be like comparing apples and oranges. Neither is necessarily better. They’re just different, each meeting the needs of those choosing to attend one or the other on the evening in question. 

Ice cave explorers in a meltwater tunnel on an Icelandic glacier outlet of Vatnajökull Ice Cap
Meltwater tunnels in the glacier are scouted continuously across many outlet glaciers for private tours.

What do concert sizes have to do with outdoor adventures ?

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, anchored firmly in the North Atlantic Ocean. Home to more than 600 glaciers, there’s no shortage of tour companies capable and at the ready to guide those visiting this volcanic oasis into a frozen backcountry of ice caps and waterfalls. As with a big concert, the anticipation of venturing out on an expedition with a large group of other keen travellers certainly gives off an air of excitement. This is fantastic for people seeking that style of tour.

Long distance view of Öræfajökull, an ice cap covered volcano, on the Southern end of the Vatnajökull Ice Cap. With a black sandur plan foreground.
Oræfajökull Volcano, as seen from a distance, it also host’s Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshjnúkur.

But how about a more personal encounter, minus the crowds?

For some – this author included – a more artisanal option is better suited to the palate. Similar to folk keen on smaller music gigs, there are those searching for a chance to break away from mainstream tourism and venture towards that which is more unique, where quality and adaptability are held in higher regard than quantity and frills. A different type of adventure with fewer people. Something more dynamic and authentic, where they can test their capabilities, and develop new skills and knowledge while savoring each moment as they would a freshly-baked Kleinur.

Private glacier tour checking out the ice calving face of the Breiðamerkurjökull outlet glacier, this is the start of the famed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
Ice calving face at the terminus of a Vatnajökull outlet glacier.

Meet the Ice Guardians, a dedicated team of outdoor professionals. With a significant focus on sustainable tourism, looking after the beautiful surroundings they operate in goes hand in hand with providing a high-quality, rare experience. 

Operating in Vatnajökull National Park in southeast Iceland, the Ice Guardians are waiting to welcome you to their home and show you their backyard. They provide trips for groups of a lesser size that feel very much like private tours. Mixing a strong passion for the natural environment with a high level of expertise in the Icelandic backcountry, their tours are the perfect recipe for an adventure unlikely to be forgotten. Whether glacier hiking, ice climbing or canyoning, those fortunate enough to explore this frigid landscape with the Ice Guardians will indeed have their minds simultaneously expanded and blown. 

Next, we’ll meet the Ice Guardians themselves. We’ll get to know them better, find out where their story began, and delve deeper into what they mean by Explore, Learn & Experience. 


Mike Bilodeau is a content writer for eco and sustainable tourism operators. He’s an advocate for Slow Travel and is slowly making his way around Europe with his furry companion, Koru.

For more information about any of our tours and courses, please contact us.

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