Bad weather and a difficult trail created hazardous conditions for tourists visiting Meradalir over the weekend. The trail was closed yesterday and remains closed until tomorrow morning so crews can build a safer trail.
Notably, foreign tourists exhausted their two young children on the hike up to Meradalir in Saturday’s rain and wind, reports Vísir. Guide Hermann Valsson says he tried to stop the parents, who were also exhausted, so they could get help from search and rescue workers. They eventually consented to calling for help, and a rescue car brought the family down from the mountain.
Hermann told the news agency that the weather made it difficult to get a foothold on slippery rocks and many visitors tripped on the way to the eruption.
Bringing children to the eruption is not only a bad idea because of the strenuous hike, but also because they are more susceptible to toxic gases in the valley. Adults may not realize they are exposing their children to the concentrated gases that hang low to the ground.
A better trail
The trail to the eruption is closed today as crews dig up the rocky upper portion of the “A” route to make it more accessible to visitors, reports Vísir.
Rescuers are taking advantage of the trail closure to rest after a difficult week, reports Vísir.
Rescue teams published detailed instructions for safely approaching the eruption:
- The best route to the eruption depends on the wind direction and the weather at any given time, so pay close attention to the recommendations from police and emergency personnel.
- Be well prepared. It is important to be dressed for the weather, with a lunch, good shoes, a headlamp, and a fully charged phone.
- Leave your car in the parking lot and not on the side of the road. There is plenty of room for everyone.
- Gas pollution is in the area and could accumulate in valleys. Take care to avoid the smoke from the lava.
- The old lava is still hot and extremely dangerous to cross. Please do not walk on the lava.
The walk is a minimum of seven kilometres one way and the elevation gain is three hundred metres. Visitors should plan to spend at least 5-6 hours on the hike.
Weather conditions will improve at the eruption site in coming days. Tuesday will be overcast, followed by some showers and then sunshine on Wednesday. Friday will also have some sun for those looking for good conditions to visit the eruption, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
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