Svartisen glacier – Austerdalsisen and Engabreen
Are you looking for an exotic outdoor adventure? Go for a glacier trek on Svartisen! Svartisen is the second-largest glacier in mainland Norway, covering a larger area than the cities of Oslo and Bergen combined. Join a glacier guide and nurture your urge to explore!
The Svartisen glacier extends from Saltfjellet in the east to the Holandsfjord on the coast. If you want to see Svartisen, it is easiest to reach by crossing Svartisvatnet lake near Mo i Rana, or the Holandsfjord in Meløy municipality. Your best option is to sign up for a guided excursion.
The Austerdalsisen glacier arm
Austerdalsisen, Svartisen, is located just north of Mo i Rana and can be reached by a short boat trip followed by a brief hike.
To reach the boat that takes you to Svartisen, you drive off the E6 towards Røssvoll (Mo i Rana Airport) and continue along Svartisdalveien. There is a large campground for motorhomes/campervans, tent areas, and toilets available. You can also purchase drinks, snacks, and souvenirs at the kiosk.
After a 10-minute boat ride across the water, you will need to walk 3 kilometers to reach the glacier. Along the way, you will come to a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the glacier, where a shelter is available for enjoying your packed food and drinks while taking in the breathtaking view of the glacier tongue. Camping near the glacier is also possible, with toilet facilities and garbage disposal provided.
The Engabreen glacier arm
For visitors approaching from the west, the glacier arm called Engabreen is the easiest to get to. Take the ten-minute shuttle boat from Holandsvik across the Holandsfjord. From the quay, follow the gravel road for 3 km, then start the climb up to the glacier. Good footwear is a must; when it rains or snows, the rocks can be very slippery.
If you are arriving in your own boat, the guest harbour has room for about 30 boats.
Meløy Adventure offers glacier treks with experienced guides. You will be equipped with crampons, ice axes and safety harnesses connected to ropes. It’s amazing to see the crevasses, the blue ice and the natural ice formations up close. During the summer, you can experience a glacier walk on Svartisen in the glow of the midnight sun.
How Svartisen got its name
Svartisen means “black ice”. At the tip of the glacier arms, you can see the exposed blue, super-compressed ice so dark that it gave this glacier its name. It’s quite a contrast to the fresh ice on top of the glacier.
Svartisen, covering 370 km2, is the second-largest glacier on the Norwegian mainland. It used to be a single large glacier, but is now divided in two.
Please be mindful and keep a safe distance from the edge while admiring the glacier. The large blocks of ice at the glacier’s edge are especially unstable, and can suddenly come loose and shift without warning.
Never walk out onto the glacier without proper safety equipment. We strongly recommend that you do so only in the company of an expert glacier guide.