A few kilometers east of the town of Höfn, on the coast of southeastern Iceland, lie a series of steep, cliffy peaks that appear to jut up out of the ocean. While they are not very high by world mountain standards, they are dramatically steep and knife-edged. They won't make a list of highest peaks in Iceland but they are commonly photographed and in most every tour or guidebook about the country.
Eight of these mountains jut out on a small peninsula (well, ok, they ARE the peninsula) and the highest of these is Klifatindur. The Ring Road goes over a pass at the head of the peninsula so you can get to within about 2 kilometers of the summit and there is a convenient viewpoint with a small parking lot to park at. The route up from there would be a solid Class 3 on the summit ridge.
The climb itself should not take too long but it's steep and it's on mostly loose talus until you get to the ridge. The views are excellent though a you look down on some jagged peaks and the ocean. Höfn (the name means "harbor") is just to the west and is easily seen protected from the ocean by two spits of land. Beyond Höfn to the west (and above it) lies the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland crowned by Hvannadalshnukur, the highest peak in Iceland. To the north are more jagged mountains and to the east is a calm lagoon, filled in the summer with large numbers of swans.
It is not known if this is a popular climb but there is a small cairn at the summit so at least a few hearty souls scale it. Besides the route submitted from the west, it does appear to be scrambleable from the beach to the south which might make a great day in itself.
Excellent overall shot of the peak from Höfn
Another shot of Klifatindur although you need to scroll to the specific one of this peak
Getting to Iceland involves flying Icelandair. All international flights fly into Keflavik Airport which is out 40 kms. west of Reykjavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula. From there you can rent a 4WD at one of the usual companies (Budget, Avis, Hertz, etc.).
For information on how/where to get supplies, please refer to the Getting There section of the Hekla page. The town of Höfn has a market/mall where you could get food and fuel as well.
From Reykjavik, take the Ring Road (Highway 1) east about 450 kilometers to Höfn. Just a few kilometers east of Höfn you will go up over an obvious pass and at the summit of the pass on the right side of the road is a small parking area with a viewpoint and marker. Park here.
Red TapeThere is no red tape or fees/permits required. Keep in mind though that the surrounding lowlands are small farms and private property. Please do not trespass. Also, expect to see sheep on and around the mountain as this is open range area.
When To ClimbBest times would be summer months July - September but this could conceivably be done year-round.
CampingCamping should not be necessary on this peak. It is a dayhike and the surrounding areas, if not parts of the mountain are private property.
There is good lodging in Höfn. I can recommend the Foss Vatnajokull as I stayed there. No tv's in the rooms though but an excellent restaurant.
General camping site for Iceland
Höfn campsite link
Mountain ConditionsLink for Road Conditions
Link for weather in Iceland
Höfn Tourist Information
354 (country code, not needed while there) 478-1500