A diverse and exciting program designed to keep everyone interested and busy throughout their stay, balancing plenty of action, learning, social and free time.
WEEK 1: Orientation/Exploration, Reykjavik
velkomin to Iceland!
On arrival in picturesque Reykjavic, you’ll be met by your program leader. After a comprehensive program briefing, you’ll immerse yourself in the epic nature surrounding your new home base. Your days will be spent digging into the country’s history at the local museums, checking out the local street art scene, and getting to know your fellow participants. You'll discuss the learning outcomes for the program, spend time participating in team bonding exercises, play various games and have time to explore your new back yard whilst taking part in an organised scavenger hunt! It's a really great few days and will begin lifelong friendships with your Pure Ex family!
WEEK 2: Hiking Module 1, Reykjavic
You’ll embark on a multitude of hikes, ranging from cruisy panoramic coastal walks to challenging and rewarding less discovered paths providing unrivalled scenery.
You will hike through lava fields covered in moss and blueberries, loop through icy rivers that feed the country’s biggest waterfalls and bask in the hot waters of hidden natural spring pools. You’ll be introduced to overnight hiking, learning the most effective and comfortable ways to pack your bags and set up camp for the night.
Hike Module 1 will introduce you to day-hikes, overnight hikes, navigation, weather and map reading then introduce you to essential training in group management, risk analysis, and leadership.
WEEK 3: Rock Climbing Module 1, Reykjavic
Time to hit the rocks! You’ll spend the week learning and absorbing the different techniques involved in rock climbing, including vital safety precautions, harnessing, belaying, rappelling, top-roping and an intro to Lead climbing.
WEEK 4: Hiking Module 2, Landmannalagar
This week will have you packing your bags for the stimulating days ahead and experience the epitome of Icelandic wilderness. Your first multi-night trek is the world-famous Laugavegur trail, showcasing colourful valleys, rough volcanic mountain ranges, massive glaciers and fields of hardened lava. It is a popular trail, so you will have plenty of opportunities to engage with other like-minded travellers appreciating the immense beauty this tiny country holds.
The second leg of the module is the lesser-known Hellismannaleið trail. It will be more challenging both with its terrain and its exposure to the elements, and you will push your boundaries – and be breathlessly rewarded. Each day you will be provided with the rare experience of disconnecting from the online world and reconnecting with the outside world, and each night, after setting up camp, you will have the important practice of digesting it all.
WEEK 5: First Aid Training, Vik
Ground yourself in the special town of Vik, Iceland’s most southernmost city. With its black volcanic sand beaches stretching out into the dramatic Atlantic Ocean, it’s not hard to see why it is a commonly used marketing backdrop to lure tourists to Iceland. You will be based here for the duration of your Wilderness First Aid training week and have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the fantastically diverse surroundings.
WEEK 6: Rock Climbing Module 2, Hnappavellir
Discover why the local climbers make a yearly pilgrimage to this unique rock-climbing paradise, with its beautiful basalt rocks stretching across a cliff over 2 miles long, overlooking waterfalls and sheep, beaches and foxes. This sets the scene for your second rock climbing module, which will introduce you to lead climbing single-pitch sport crags. You will test your endurance and your courage every day, discovering what you are truly capable of achieving with your mind and body.
Week 7: Hiking Module 3, Skaftafell/Vatnajokull National Park
Set up basecamp at Iceland’s biggest national park, providing you access to some of the most enviable hikes in the country. During this weeklong module you will focus on orienteering and invaluable safety measures while you’re leading clients in the wild.
WEEK 8: Hiking Module 4, Viknaslodir Trek
Put your knowledge and strength to the test in this remote part of the country. Known as the Land of the Elves, the eastern region of Iceland is rich in nature and folklore. As the stories go, there are hundreds of elves throughout the countryside, including the Elf Queen herself! Although they are known to keep to themselves, they have been rumoured to retaliate against any trespassers disrespecting their nature. The elves have inhabited arguably the most beautiful part of the country, with its unspoiled fjords, brightly coloured mountain ranges, and abundance of playful puffins.
WEEK 9 & 10: Rock Climbing Modules 3-4, Akureyri
For your final two rock-climbing modules, you will be based at crags right around the corner from Akureyri. The climbing will expose you to original routes, requiring you to develop more creativity in your continually evolving climbing habits. The fishing town of Akureyri is positioned at the base of Eyjafjordur Fjord in the north of the country.
Week 11 & 12: Client Days, Assessment, Program Wrap, Reykjavik
Your final two weeks of the course will see you putting your practice into action. You will have the chance to lead clients in both bush and rock climbing days, followed by your final assessments. We find most of our students feel they are more than prepared for assessments, finding their climbing and hiking knowledge far exceeds the standards required to pass. What does this mean? As long as you do the work, you'll fly through!
After assessments are over, there is some great time at the end of program to rest, reflect on your adventure, celebrate at a fun graduation dinner and start planning your next epic international mission with your new best mates! We absolutely love seeing where our Pure Ex grads end up, some in guiding roles, some continuing travelling, some back to study or their careers, some joining us to work for us or our partner company Pacific Discovery! Some find the trajectory of their life has completely changed post-program, and head off to climb more mountains with new friends, new girlfriends or boyfriends, new priorities and new values. The journey is just beginning!
This is a sample guide to what you can expect to do on the program. Please note that treks, locations and the order in which the activities occur may be subject to change, due to seasonality, operational requirements or health & safety.