The hunter who was found alive in East Iceland yesterday after an extensive search since Friday wants others to learn from his mistake. Iceland is a country where you should be prepared to get lost in bad weather, he warned. What saved his life was probably his warm clothing, but that alone is not enough.
RÚV interviewed Jónas Guðmundsson, who is in charge of travel safety for tourists at ICE-SAR. He explained what you can do to increase your safety in the Icelandic mountains in the wintertime, when weather can quickly deteriorate and visibility be reduced to zero.
First of all, you need warm clothing. You should wear three layers, underwear, a layer that insulates well, and on top of those a layer that protects against wind and rain.
You should bring a compass along and first take the time to learn to use it.
Take a map of the area along. Don’t judge it as old-fashioned.
Leave a travel plan behind. This you can do in five minutes by visiting safetravel.is online. Registering there allows you to receive SMS alerts with information about weather. It also allows you to rent an emergency transmitter for ISK 1,200 (USD 11, EUR 10).
Take your cell phone along. On it, you can use the 112 app, with which you can send your exact location, should you require assistance.
A GPS device is also a good thing to have for location, but if the battery of your cell phone or GPS device runs out, then the emergency transmitter is what can save your life.
The Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter has the ability to locate people if their cell phones are turned on (and not on flight mode), even where there is no cell phone service. Some hikers turn off their cell phones to save batteries, but if you hear the helicopter, you must turn on your phone for it to be able to detect your location.