A standardized entry level assessment course for aspiring glacier guides in accordance with the Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides. This is a professional course where prior experience with ropework and glacier travel is required. ​There is a minimum of 4 participants required to run the course, maximum 12.

Next course:



Group size


Spring 2021


4 days

6 per instructor

99.000 ISK per person

Course Goals

Participants will have an understanding of the basic methods involved in leading groups on glacier walks in easy to moderate terrain, perform a full crevasse rescue of an unresponsive client and be able to safely set up and manage a simple top rope ice climbing setup under direct supervision.

Topics covered include:

  • Basic glaciology and meteorology.

  • Communication with clients.

  • Group management.

  • Route selection, hazard recognition and mitigation.

  • Basic guiding techniques.

  • Anchor building on ice.

  • Descending and ascending a rope.

  • Crevasse rescue.

  • Top rope ice climbing.

Notice: Although this is an entry level course, it is a professional assessment course. This means basic knowledge of glaciers, glacier travel, equipment, knots and rope systems, and more, is required.


Course Details

The course runs for four days and is a combination of lectures, instructor demonstrations, guiding role play, workshops and exercises. Feedback is given throughout the course in the form of instructor feedback and peer review. 

Participants will be assessed on their grasp of basic guiding techniques and hazard management. Participants are required to successfully perform a crevasse rescue in order to pass the course.

The days start with a morning meeting indoors before heading out on the outlet glaciers of Öræfajökull. 

Example course schedule (subject to weather and conditions):

  • Day 1: A course introduction, introduction of the AIMG, course structure explained and a short lecture on mountain weather and a weather briefing. On the glacier we will focus on properly equipping our guests, crampon techniques, walking in basic terrain, setting anchors, abseiling and ascending.

  • Day 2: A morning meeting and a student weather briefing. On the ice we will focus on terrain classification, guiding on easy terrain, pulley systems and simple crevasse extraction. A full crevasse rescue demonstrated.

  • Day 3: A morning meeting and a student weather briefing. On the ice we will focus on guiding on easy to moderate terrain and practice top rope ice climbing. 

  • Day 4: A morning meeting and a student weather briefing. On the ice we will cover remaining topics if any and then each student will perform a full crevasse rescue. 

In case of extreme weather conditions, we have the option of doing more indoor workshops for rope skills etc.

The course is held in Öræfi, in the South-East of Iceland. Lambhagi in Svínafell will be the base for lectures and indoor practices. The outlet glaciers of Öræfi will be used for outdoor activities on ice. Outlets will be chosen based on weather, conditions, and accessibility. Other locations may be added, and, if so, they will be presented to the group in advance.​


Personal equipment required

  • Outdoor clothing suitable for variable weather and temperatures.

  • Good hiking boots suitable to wear with crampons.

  • Good clothes and boots are vital on this course. Check out our equipment recommendations!

  • Sunglasses.

  • A warm hat and a cap.

  • A backpack for your personal belongings and technical gear. 

  • Thick and thin gloves. 

  • Water bottles, minimum 2L.

  • Lunch and snacks for the day.

  • Notebook and pencil. Rite in the rain are nice for outdoor use.


Technical equipment required

Tindaborg can help to supply the gear required, please contact us if you need any of the above. The following is the required minimum. 

  • Harness with gear loops

  • Crampons

  • Helmet

  • Ice axe

  • 8x carabiners (of which at least 6 must be locking)

  • Belay device with "guide mode" (e.g. BD ATC or Petzl Reverso)

  • 2x 120+cm sling

  • 2x 5-6m 6-7mm accessory cord (prussik)

  • 1x 1.7-2m 6-7mm accessory cord or pre-sown prussiks

  • 2x 16+cm Ice screws

  • 40+m 8+mm static rope or 8.5+mm dynamic rope

  • 2x Pulleys (optional)