Who is Dani Arnold?
Swiss climber Dani Arnold is known for his breathtaking solo ascents on major north faces. But when he’s not setting speed records, he travels the globe in search of climbable ice. One country in particular has really impressed him: Iceland. In February 2022, Dani Arnold traveled together with Martin Echser and Davide Guzzardi to the land of the ancient Norse giants, the Jötnar. The film team around Lukas Kusstatscher and Thomas Monsorno captured the unique moments.
Date: January 30 – February 13, 2022
Dani Arnold – Jötnar – FULL MOVIE
in words and images
This is me, Dani Arnold, mountaineer from Switzerland.
And now I’m there in Iceland together with Martin, Thomas, Lukas and Davide, and we are looking for some perfect ice. At the beginning it looked pretty bad. but then…
Our first ascent: The imposing Glymur Waterfall near Reykjavik
Usually it goes like this: we start at the bottom, climb up somewhere, and try to come up again. And here, inside this gorge, it was a bit different, because we abseiled down from the top, and it was quite important that we could somehow climb up again, because from the bottom out there would be absolutely no way to escape.
When the weather changes. Iceland weather warning
The next day we set off for the north coast and we just weren’t sure if it would work from the weather point of view. The road conditions were getting worse and there were even severe weather warnings from the authorities.
We thought, it will be fine, we’ll just try!
Not only were our climbing skills tested there, in Iceland, but also shoveling out cars became the main task, and we got better every time.
Ice climbing on the beach in Kaldakinn.
Where mountain sports meets the Norwegian sea
And there it was, our ice wall by the sea. We are exactly on the north coast of Iceland. Ice climbing is always a bit similar, but here, looking down between my feet and then out to sea, just felt different somehow. Climbing directly above the sea is just gigantic! Those waves, and especially the sound …. is SO imposing!
Off to the northeast!
As the weather got better
In the meantime we have arrived in the northeast of Iceland, and for the first time we have seen the landscape a bit more. We have seen the fjords, the fishing boats, which drove out to sea. And indeed, after more than a week, the sun came forward for the first time.
Basalt towers as far as the eye can see in Stuðlagil Canyon.
Drytooling for experts
It was not so easy to get into this gorge. We decided to rope down the whole team. It’s a bit scary to cross this stream because there is running water everywhere. Breaking in is certainly not a good idea!
These shapes, they are created by two tectonic plates that meet exactly in this canyon. And for me, it’s really a dream come true to climb them. I’ve always wanted to climb on these basalt columns, because I can’t imagine any line, any structure somehow more beautiful and perfect than right there!
It doesn’t get much steeper than this!
Ice climbing in the glacier gate
very early in the morning we set out on the glacier, our goal was to climb in a glacier gate.
In ice climbing it is like this: when the water runs down somewhere, it freezes, and mostly it is always vertical, it can’t be much steeper, because the water follows gravity, downwards! That is the interesting thing about glacier ice, there is not the flowing water that freezes, but it washes out.
Formations are created, you can climb overhanging, and what is also special: the whole thing is much, much steeper!
We had a good time together!
An adventure comes to an end.
We have seen so many beautiful places, experienced so much. Sometimes we were almost alone, on the road for days. What I really take with me is: We had a good time! … We tried things, sometimes it went wrong, sometimes it worked out, but somehow, we had a good time. And that is generally something of the most important thing for everybody!
Climbers: Dani Arnold, Martin Echser
Video: Lukas Kusstatscher, Watchsome
Photo: Thomas Monsorno, High Tides Communication
Field Producer: Davide Guzzardi, Exped Tribe
A big thank you to our sponsors:
Kuku Campers / Exped / Maya Maya / Gregory Packs
Special thanks also to Matteo Meucci of the Icelandic alpine club Isalp.is
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