About Leifur Örn

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Leifur Örn Svavarsson        

Mountain Guide                                         

Leifur Örn Svavarsson was on
of the four Guides that founded
Icelandic Mountain Guides in 1994.  He is still one of the main owners and an active guide.  He has been guiding all Icelandic Mountain Guides tours, both in Iceland and Greenland.  From full winter Vatnajökull glacier traverses, cross country ski expeditions, touring ski tours, mountain climbs and climbing courses to isolated backpacking tours over glaciers and wild rivers in the summer.  With his guiding experience dating back to 1985 he is probably the most experienced Mountain Guide in Iceland.

Leifur has been an expedition leader in many of Icelandic Mountain Guides successful expeditions to the Continental summits like Mt Elbrus – highest peak of Europe, Aconcagua – highest peak of S-America and Mt Vinson- highest peak of Antarctica.   He has guided groups to different mountain areas like several tours to the Atlas Mountains in N-Africa climbing the highest peak, Mt Toupcal, and the European Alps climbing Mt Blanc and several other 4000 m peaks.

Leifur has been in numerous private climbing expeditions to the European Alps, to Denali/McKinley and the Himalayas’ where he has climbed Mountains like Peak Lenin (7.134m) in difficult condition in the start of the winter and Cho Oyu, the world 6th highest peak, 8.202m.

Greenland and the Arctic is his home territory.  He did lead several of Icelandic Mountain Guides expeditions across Greenland Icecap, been expedition leader in Icelandic Mountain Guides expeditions’ to Greenland’s highest summit, Gunnbjörsfjall as well as isolated peaks like Dome and Eijnar Mikkelsen Mountains on the East cost of Greenland.  One of Leif´s expeditions is 29 days ski Expedition on the Greenland Icecap for the Indian Army, to train them for the South-Pole and 18 days winter training for US military in Thule, Greenland northernmost settlement.

Many of Leif´s expeditions are unique like the Nanoq expedition to Mt Forel in 2000.  Then he and Guðjón Marteinsson went on dog sledge up to Greenland  Icecap, ski north the glacier to Mt Forel where they climbed the summit before walking on skies 150 km rout over difficult mountain area to the next village on the East cost of Greenland.

Leifur has great knowledge of  Greenland.  He has visited almost every inhabited area in the country and guided numerous trekking, backpacking, mountaineering, touring- and cross country skiing tours to different locations in Greenland.  For a while Leifur did have an regularly radio program at the Icelandic National radio about the exploration of Greenland and polar Explores.

Leifur has a university degree in geology with speculations in avalanches.  He has finished Level II Avalanche program form Canadian Avalanche Association and  worked as an director for the Avalanche Warning of the Icelandic Metrological Office from 2002-2010.

Leifur is an experienced lecturer and has been holding slide shows and lectures all over Iceland.  Leifur did work as an principal Instructor for the Icelandic Rescue teams for 7 winters.  There he was responsible for training  instructors in Mountaineering, mountain rescue and avalanches as well as making text books and course manuals that are still in use.  He does teach Level 1 avalanche courses regularly, as well as ice climbing and mountaineering courses for rescue team members and public.  For the last 10 years Leifur has been involved in training trekking guides in the official Guide School of Iceland.

Leifur was an team leader for the first respond mountain rescue team, The Icelandic Air Ground Rescue teams for more than 10 years.  He was incident commander in several  large rescue operations like the catastrophic avalanches in Flateyri where 20 persons where killed, technical rescues like the one from the 200 m deep Glymur gorge as long as many other rescue operations.

Leifur has been in charge for Mountaineering and glacier walking at the Icelandic Mountain Guides.  There he has taken care of the training of Glaciers and Mountain guides.  He has guided more tours to the highest peak of Iceland, Hvannadalshnukur, than are countable.  As well he has been guiding difficult Mountain peaks like the Therartindegg, Hrutsfjalstindar, and Sveinstindur as long as climbing and skiing tours to numerousIcelandic peaks.

Leifur is an active climber and has climbed many new  ice climbing and mountaineering routs in the last decked.  He has a successful background in ultra marathons and adventure races, winning several weekend races in Iceland and taking 4th place in Arctic Team Challenge in Greenland in professional category.  You might be able to contact Leifur on the office of the Icelandic Mountain Guides but he prefers to be out in the mountains with an ice axe in his hand or with skies on his feet.  .


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