Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Iceland 2018: Report

The report of my 200 km solo trek through the Icelandic highlands during the second half of August has been uploaded. In fact, given the sheer number of pictures, I decided to split it in 3 parts: the first is an account of the hike from Landmannalaugar to Langisjór, the second of the return hike from Langisjór to Landmannalaugar (via a different route), and the third of day hikes around Landmannalaugar itself.

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Iceland 2018: Fjallabak to Langisjór (and back!)

10 days, 200 km walked, 7300 m climbed, countless rivers forded, 2500 pictures taken: these are some of the statistics of this year’s Iceland solo adventure…

Two years ago or so I came across the blog of outdoor photographer Alex Nail and was immediately taken by his rendition of one of Iceland’s hidden gems, i.e. the Langisjór lake. Although Langisjór measures no less than 20 km and is hence one of the largest lakes in the country, it is hardly known to the general public due to its remoteness and notoriously barren climate. Truth be said, until I read Alex Nail’s blog, I had actually never heard of Langisjór myself either…

More or less around the same time fellow Belgian hiker Kasper Geuns and his partner Charlotte post on their outdoor blog an account of a trek covering Langisjór, the Eldgjá area, Fjallabak NP, and the well-known Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails. I take an interest in some day hiking a trajectory similar to Kasper’s, however excluding Laugavegur since I have already hiked it twice (i.e. in 1998 and 2016).

During the second half of August 2018 I finally find the opportunity to take on the intended challenge. Taking into account bus schedules (which late August are a bit less favorable than earlier in the season), I decide to start in Landmannalaugar, hike to Langisjór, and then return to Eldgjá to catch a bus back to Landmannalaugar. Thanks to growing confidence during the course of the trek however, I eventually forget about the plan to catch a bus in Eldgjá, and hike all the way back to Landmannalaugar!

Given that I lost 4 kg of body weight during the trek, I guess it is fair to say it was one of the more challenging I did so far. Daytime highs were around 6°C mostly and except for 2 days of rain, weather was quite reasonable with a fair amount of sunshine. From a photographic point of view, this trek was probably one of the best ever, thanks to an almost endless succession of absolutely stunning and extremely varied landscapes.

Of course, a full report of the trek will follow in due time. Below are just a couple of randomly chosen pictures that hopefully give some idea of the variety of landscapes.

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Iceland 2017: Video

Video footage from my 117 km – 5 day solo trek around Kerlingarfjöll and along Kjalvegur, in the barren Icelandic interior.

The video is far from a comprehensive rendition of the trek, as it only features a limited number of sights along the way. I was quite busy hiking, navigating and taking pictures, and hence shooting video footage was only low priority.


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Iceland 2016: Videos

Finally got around compiling videos from the raw footage that I shot during last year’s Hellismannaleið / Laugavegurinn trek in Iceland.

Due to time constraints hiking was quite intense, and consequently shooting video footage was not very high on my priority list. The videos however do give a fairly good idea of the landscapes and conditions that I encountered during this amazing trek.


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Iceland 2017: Kjalvegur

During the second part of my Iceland trip earlier this month, I took a straight line across the Kjölur highlands from east to west, and then followed the ancient Kjalvegur footpath, which has been in existence since the time of the first settlers.

Kjölur and its surroundings boast a variety of landscapes including rocky deserts, tundra, icecaps, mountains and geothermal hot springs. My “customized” Kjalvegur route was 67 km and took about 2.5 days to complete.

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The Story of a Tent in Iceland..

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August 15: Still in good shape!

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August 16: Gale force winds rip a hole in the fabric of the outer tent. But, nothing that a bit of good old iron wire can’t fix, right?

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August 17: The situation becomes increasingly grave, and more drastic “surgical” measures are in order…

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August 18: Another night of non-abating strong winds and the fabric rips apart further and further…

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August 18: The situation is hopeless. The patient has deceased…


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Iceland 2017: Kerlingarfjöll

Earlier this month I made another short but intense impromptu trip to Iceland. The first part of the trip was devoted to a solo 50 km – 2.5 day circumvention of the rugged volcanic Kerlingarfjöll mountains, which are located in the desolate and uninhabited central highlands.

The circumvention of Kerlingarfjöll is known as “Hringbrautin” and is something I already did in 2013 as part of a guided trip, however with fairly lousy weather conditions. I was therefore happy to encounter more reasonable conditions this time, which made the trek a more enjoyable experience.

The full report of the Kerlingarfjöll trek is available in the meantime. The report of the second trek of my trip, which was some kind of alternative Kjalvegur trek, is to follow in due time.

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