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How To Cross A River On Foot

25. July, 2019

Depending on the depth, terrain and current of a river crossings can range from easy to hazardous. Here‘s how to make sure you get across safe:

  • If there is a ranger nearby – ask their advice about conditions! (ex. The rangers in Hvanngil hut on the Laugavegur trail can give advice about crossing Bláfjallakvísl – see picture below!)
  • Bring shoes for crossing the river – not flip flops!
  • Look for a spot in the river that is least calm – the river is often deepest where it is calmest
  • Unclip your backpack before entering the river – you do not want to be held down in case you fall
  • Cross with a friend, the strongest person stands upstream
  • Travelling alone? Take with hiking poles for extra stability.
  • Try to cross deep rivers early in the morning when river levels are lowest
  • If in doubt – wait it out and try to find assistance.
Here is a hiker ready to cross a river!
A diagram for crossing Bláfjallakvísl from the wardens in Hvanngil. July 2019.