Hiking and scrambling information can be hard to come by in Iceland. Well, maybe not if you're a scholar of Old Norse or its close cousin, modern Icelandic, but Google Translate only goes so far, and the books and materials written directly for English speakers can be remarkably sketchy and inaccurate. This page is intended to give travelers a sample of what's available out on those remote and rugged peninsulas, away from the basic ring road.
Strákar is a crag on the northern tip of the Tröllaskagi. Pronounced "trotlaskaye", this is the stubby "Troll Peninsula" northwest of Akureyri, worthy of a week's exploration on its own. For an investment of a morning or afternoon, a climb of Strákar takes you up a pretty valley, past two tarns, through a rockhound's paradise, and finally to a perch on the cliffs above Siglufjörður, with a view across the arctic circle just to the north.
Strákar means "boys" in Icelandic. Maybe the name comes from the appearance from some angles that the mountain has multiple heads--but that's pure speculation.
A waterfall on the drive from Dalvík to Strákar
From Akureyri or Dalvík, follow route 82 along the spectacular, waterfall-festooned cliffs of Eyjafjörður and through a spooky one-lane tunnel to the town of Ólafsfjörður. Continue on route 76 through two more very long and empty tunnels till you emerge by the photogenic waterside village of Siglufjörður. From here, drive a few kilometers north to a short tunnel. Emerging from the tunnel, you'll see an unmistakable orange lighthouse
, called Sauðanes. This is your landmark for starting up Strákar.
Sauðanes Lighthouse and the base of Strákar can also be reached from the west by driving up route 76 from Hofsós
, an equally picturesque and little-traveled stretch of road.
The most natural routes for climbing Strákar start from the main road above and a little west of the orange lighthouse, about a kilometer beyond the tunnel. You can use a rough parking pullout by a stone monument, next to a blue marker with the number "6" (it looks like a kilometer marker, but it's not).
The obvious route from here is to follow Strákar's west ridge
, skirting the northern cliff bands all the way to the top. This will work, but be forewarned that about a thousand feet up the ridge you'll encounter a YDS Class 4/UIAA II step that comes just as the rock turns to hydrothermally-fried crud. If you do it, be very careful, especially with the possibility knocking rocks or whole rockslides onto each other.
A much more pleasant ascent is available by walking up Engidalur, the broad valley that rises from the stone monument into the bowl west and southwest of the peak. You'll pass two small tarns. At the back of the valley, in the vicinity of the second tarn, a grass and rock rib provides a very easy (YDS class 2) scramble to the gentle upper slopes and the summit. Watch for geodes and opal-like crystals on the rib.
The total elevation gain from the stone monument to the summit is 585 meters (1920 feet). Average time to the top for someone in pretty good hiking shape would be about two hours.
The west ridge route is marked in blue on the map below, while the easier Engidalur ascent is shown in yellow.
Down the east face to Siglufjörður
View over the north face to the lighthouse and the Norwegian Sea
Camping on the Mountain
There is potentially good camping by the first tarn. I'm not sure about land ownership or local permissions--it would probably be best to ask at the farmhouse by the orange lighthouse, describing where you are planning to spend the night. Most likely, they'll say go for it.
Strákar tunnel video