Hard ice 1 - 4 day course + 1 extra consolidation day

Hard ice 1

The Jökla 1 course is designed to take experienced outdoor guides and backcountry travelers and make them competent on glacial terrain to the point where they can work as an apprentice glacier guide. Course candidates come from many backgrounds; rock climbing instructors, rescue team members, or members of hiking or mountaineering clubs. However, if you have no experience climbing or traveling in the backcountry, this course is probably not for you. There are many ways you can build up experience before joining a Jökla 1 course, and your instructor or the AIMG can point you in the right direction.

What to expect

The course is covered over four days and is designed to be intensive. Jökla 1 emphasizes risk management and group control, as these are the fundamentals of guiding on any terrain. Higher level glacier courses will introduce more hard skills but the fundamentals you will learn here are the foundation on which safe guiding practice is built. In addition to risk management and group control, at the end of the course students are expected to display a solid working knowledge of basic rope systems and crevasse rescue. Guides are also expected to display professionalism throughout the course. Jökla 1 IS a pass/fail course, but perfection is not emphasized at this level. More importantly, instructors are looking for a learning attitude and an openness towards feedback. A huge part of our guiding courses is exposing our weaknesses and working on them honestly, so arrogance of any kind is highly discouraged.


Students will be evaluated throughout the duration of the course in alignment with the course curriculum set by the Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides. This is a pass or fail course where timely, tailored and constructive feedback will be given during and at the end of each course.


  • Basic mountaineering and rope skills
  • Basic crampon techniques and movement skills on hard ice
  • Basic understanding of anchors in the context of hard ice
  • Basic understanding of a crevasse rescue

Or alternatively come on our 2 day prerequisite course which does not guarantee a pass bit will significantly increase the likelihood of a pass.

Hard ice 1 - Course

Example course schedule

Day 1

  • Course Setup, Introduction, and Expectations
  • Introduction to the AIMG, membership benefits
  • Glacier Guiding demonstration by instructor
  • Intro to soft skills
  • Intro to glacier guiding gear
  • Intro to hard skills
  • Placing ice screws
  • Anchor building
  • Ratchets (hauling systems)
  • V-threads

Day 2

  • Weather Briefing
  • Intro to terrain assessment
  • Student led guiding
  • Step Cutting
  • Crevasse rescue practice (6:1 drop loop rescue)

Day 3

  • Abseiling and ascending a rope
  • Ice climbing with top rope
  • More Student led guiding

Day 4

  • Professionalism overview
  • Student led guiding
  • Crevasse rescue assessment
  • Wrap up, grading, individual feedback

Day 5

  • Optional consolidation of skills day.

Gear list

  • 8x locking carabiners, (of which 1 need to be HMS carabiner and 1 triple locking carabiner)
  • 1 x ATC (black diamond) OR Reverso (Petzl) with auto lock
  • 1 x Sewn double length sling (120cm), best option 10mm thick
  • 2 x Ice screws, min 16 cm long
  • 2 x 5 meters of 7mm diameter prusik
  • Climbing harness (with gear loops)
  • 3⁄4 or full stiff mountaineering boots
  • Helmet
  • Crampons
  • Ice axe
Hard ice 1 - Course
Hard ice 1 - Course

Our instructors

Our instructors for Jokla 1 are Bjartur Tyr (Technical committee, AIMG) and Michael Walker (Vice president, AIMG), two of Iceland's finest guides and instructors with many years of experience in the industry not only in Iceland but also internationally. They both live, sleep and eat mountaineering and to say that their climbing log books are impressive would be an understatement. Why not come and learn from some truly gifted mountaineers and passionate teachers and let them help you begin your journey in this exciting and fulfilling industry.

Hard ice 1 - Course

What sets us apart

  • Very experienced instructors in the Industry
  • Emphasis on turning your certificate into a real job with tailored feedback including Practical and applicable advice on getting started in a competitive guiding industry
  • Well organised and executed courses that allow you to maximise your 4 days of instruction
  • An optional free extra day to consolidate skills and look forward into the next steps of your career or work on those areas that needed improvement.
  • Advice on tailored extra curricular objectives based on your goals, abilities and interests that will help you progress in your personal and professional development in the mountains.

Course dates - 21/10/2020 - 25/10/2020

Contact us here