In the land of ice and fire

In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours on and into the country’s second largest glacier.

In the land of ice and fire
In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours

 

Author | Yasmine Sailer

 

Photos | Dirk Bruniecki, Arnar Thor

Actually, it all began with the “Glacier Girl”. This aircraft crashed on a Greenlandic glacier during the second world war and was recovered through a major effort in 1992. Iceland native and adventurer Arngrímur Hermannsson was part of that initial salvage team, and as he was picked to lead the later recovery of the seven sister planes, he looked for vehicles strong enough to pull the wrecks out of the glacier. Ultimately, that particular salvage operation could not be financed, yet Hermannsson bought the trucks anyway – and today drives tourists around the second largest glacier in Iceland in three customized MAN trucks.

 

Adventurer and hero

Arngrímur Hermannsson, nicknamed “Addi” by just about everyone, is the very personification of a pioneer. Recovering the “Glacier Girl” isn’t the only adventure experienced by the 62-year-old. At the age of 18, he saved people out of glacier crevices; in the 1970s he crossed Iceland on skis, and ultimately became the first person to drive across all of Greenland in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. His latest project is “Into the Glacier”, a tour of the Langjökull glacier in western Iceland. Since 2015, Addi has been transporting tourists across rough terrain, snow and ice to places they could never have reached themselves. This business idea has proven quite successful: At least 50,000 visitors have already taken an Into the Glacier tour. The three tours offered on this day are also completely sold out. A group of pupils from the UK, families, pensioners and young couples from Germany, Canada, China, India and the United States – they all want to travel to the glacier despite subzero temperatures and an icy wind blowing today. Tightly wrapped in anoraks and snowsuits, they climb into the trucks featuring a bus superstructure in the back. “These MANs are actually registered as buses,” states Addi, although they’re obviously trucks, former military vehicles from NATO.” The vehicles are spectacular: three metres wide, four metres high, nearly 14 metres long and equipped with tyres that reach up to Addi’s chest, despite his impressive body height of 1.9 metres. Just like the superstructure, the tyres were mounted at a later date. “Those were the only modifications, however,” explains Addi. “The MAN chassis is original – and that is truly extraordinary.”

 

Surreal surroundings

Addi climbs up behind the steering wheel and the journey begins – initially rather tamely on a paved road winding through low hedges. After barely a kilometre, though, the vegetation is already receding and the view opens up into a landscape that seemingly belongs to another planet. Dark lava stones and rugged rocks cover the ground, while the snow-topped glacier towers in the distance. At the sight of these impressions, it becomes apparent why Iceland is also called “the land of ice and fire”. The track now followed by Addi is anything but a road: He and his truck must negotiate sand, large rocks, rough gravel and even a riverbed filled with water. The passengers hardly notice. “It’s less bumpy than a normal bus,” says Karen from Canada, who is visiting Iceland with her niece Nyssa. That comfort is due to the eight tyres with air pressure adjustable as needed. Addi uses a smartphone app to control a system that releases air out of the truck tyres or pumps them back up, depending on the type of terrain. He developed the system for driving on snow and ice – which becomes clear as soon as the truck begins its ascent up the glacier. The 20-tonne vehicle powers its way up the incline, with its soft tyres gliding across the snow as if on skis. “The tyres are one important factor, but the converter and the differential lock are just as critical. Not to forget the powerful engine. All of these elements are needed to drive on the glacier,” says Addi. The torque converter allows him to drive across smooth, steep surfaces without interrupting his traction, while the direct force fit between the engine and transmission maintains the rotational speed in the right range. Even the differential lock coupling the two output shafts facilitates the drive across difficult terrain. “We’re up to 15 kilometres per hour at the moment, which is quite fast, considering that we’re driving on a snow cover of six metres,” explains Addi to his passengers via microphone.

 

On and in the glacier

Having reached an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level, the passengers disembark to enjoy the incredible views over western Iceland and explore a tunnel leading them deep into the glacier. The ice tunnel is the highlight of the Into the Glacier tour. With a length of 550 metres and a depth of 40 metres below the surface of the glacier, it is the largest of its kind worldwide. “Our guests enjoy the thrill of seeing a glacier from the inside,” explains Hjalti Rafn Gunnarsson, Marketing Manager of Into the Glacier. “The MAN trucks are the vehicles to enable this experience for them. They allow us to drive on the glacier all year round, no matter the weather conditions” And the weather in Iceland can become truly extreme. “A few years ago, part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series was shot in this area. The crew was out with 60 cars when a huge storm rolled in. They called me and I collected all of the 200 people with my MAN,” recalls Addi. There is no such thing as bad weather, neither for him nor his trucks: “They’re used to the extremes.” Björn Erlingsson, CEO of Iceland’s MAN importer Kraftur, certainly agrees: “Addi brings his trucks to us every three months for servicing, and they’re in top condition, especially considering the tough job they are performing.” Even the 22 litres of diesel Addi burns through per hour are not excessive, considering these conditions. Upon their return, the team cleans the trucks and Addi checks the weather forecast. The already strong winds have grown into a hurricane, so there won’t be a tour tomorrow. “The trucks could easily handle it, but it wouldn’t be so very comfortable for our guests,” comments Addi. “And it shouldn’t be just me who enjoys driving my truck, now should it,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.

 

Watch the video of a glacier tour with Addi and his MAN in Iceland

Recent articles

In the land of ice and fire

In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours on and into the country’s second largest glacier.

In the land of ice and fire
In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours

 

Author | Yasmine Sailer

 

Photos | Dirk Bruniecki, Arnar Thor

Actually, it all began with the “Glacier Girl”. This aircraft crashed on a Greenlandic glacier during the second world war and was recovered through a major effort in 1992. Iceland native and adventurer Arngrímur Hermannsson was part of that initial salvage team, and as he was picked to lead the later recovery of the seven sister planes, he looked for vehicles strong enough to pull the wrecks out of the glacier. Ultimately, that particular salvage operation could not be financed, yet Hermannsson bought the trucks anyway – and today drives tourists around the second largest glacier in Iceland in three customized MAN trucks.

 

Adventurer and hero

Arngrímur Hermannsson, nicknamed “Addi” by just about everyone, is the very personification of a pioneer. Recovering the “Glacier Girl” isn’t the only adventure experienced by the 62-year-old. At the age of 18, he saved people out of glacier crevices; in the 1970s he crossed Iceland on skis, and ultimately became the first person to drive across all of Greenland in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. His latest project is “Into the Glacier”, a tour of the Langjökull glacier in western Iceland. Since 2015, Addi has been transporting tourists across rough terrain, snow and ice to places they could never have reached themselves. This business idea has proven quite successful: At least 50,000 visitors have already taken an Into the Glacier tour. The three tours offered on this day are also completely sold out. A group of pupils from the UK, families, pensioners and young couples from Germany, Canada, China, India and the United States – they all want to travel to the glacier despite subzero temperatures and an icy wind blowing today. Tightly wrapped in anoraks and snowsuits, they climb into the trucks featuring a bus superstructure in the back. “These MANs are actually registered as buses,” states Addi, although they’re obviously trucks, former military vehicles from NATO.” The vehicles are spectacular: three metres wide, four metres high, nearly 14 metres long and equipped with tyres that reach up to Addi’s chest, despite his impressive body height of 1.9 metres. Just like the superstructure, the tyres were mounted at a later date. “Those were the only modifications, however,” explains Addi. “The MAN chassis is original – and that is truly extraordinary.”

 

Surreal surroundings

Addi climbs up behind the steering wheel and the journey begins – initially rather tamely on a paved road winding through low hedges. After barely a kilometre, though, the vegetation is already receding and the view opens up into a landscape that seemingly belongs to another planet. Dark lava stones and rugged rocks cover the ground, while the snow-topped glacier towers in the distance. At the sight of these impressions, it becomes apparent why Iceland is also called “the land of ice and fire”. The track now followed by Addi is anything but a road: He and his truck must negotiate sand, large rocks, rough gravel and even a riverbed filled with water. The passengers hardly notice. “It’s less bumpy than a normal bus,” says Karen from Canada, who is visiting Iceland with her niece Nyssa. That comfort is due to the eight tyres with air pressure adjustable as needed. Addi uses a smartphone app to control a system that releases air out of the truck tyres or pumps them back up, depending on the type of terrain. He developed the system for driving on snow and ice – which becomes clear as soon as the truck begins its ascent up the glacier. The 20-tonne vehicle powers its way up the incline, with its soft tyres gliding across the snow as if on skis. “The tyres are one important factor, but the converter and the differential lock are just as critical. Not to forget the powerful engine. All of these elements are needed to drive on the glacier,” says Addi. The torque converter allows him to drive across smooth, steep surfaces without interrupting his traction, while the direct force fit between the engine and transmission maintains the rotational speed in the right range. Even the differential lock coupling the two output shafts facilitates the drive across difficult terrain. “We’re up to 15 kilometres per hour at the moment, which is quite fast, considering that we’re driving on a snow cover of six metres,” explains Addi to his passengers via microphone.

 

On and in the glacier

Having reached an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level, the passengers disembark to enjoy the incredible views over western Iceland and explore a tunnel leading them deep into the glacier. The ice tunnel is the highlight of the Into the Glacier tour. With a length of 550 metres and a depth of 40 metres below the surface of the glacier, it is the largest of its kind worldwide. “Our guests enjoy the thrill of seeing a glacier from the inside,” explains Hjalti Rafn Gunnarsson, Marketing Manager of Into the Glacier. “The MAN trucks are the vehicles to enable this experience for them. They allow us to drive on the glacier all year round, no matter the weather conditions” And the weather in Iceland can become truly extreme. “A few years ago, part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series was shot in this area. The crew was out with 60 cars when a huge storm rolled in. They called me and I collected all of the 200 people with my MAN,” recalls Addi. There is no such thing as bad weather, neither for him nor his trucks: “They’re used to the extremes.” Björn Erlingsson, CEO of Iceland’s MAN importer Kraftur, certainly agrees: “Addi brings his trucks to us every three months for servicing, and they’re in top condition, especially considering the tough job they are performing.” Even the 22 litres of diesel Addi burns through per hour are not excessive, considering these conditions. Upon their return, the team cleans the trucks and Addi checks the weather forecast. The already strong winds have grown into a hurricane, so there won’t be a tour tomorrow. “The trucks could easily handle it, but it wouldn’t be so very comfortable for our guests,” comments Addi. “And it shouldn’t be just me who enjoys driving my truck, now should it,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.

 

Watch the video of a glacier tour with Addi and his MAN in Iceland

In the land of ice and fire

In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours on and into the country’s second largest glacier.

In the land of ice and fire
In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours

 

Author | Yasmine Sailer

 

Photos | Dirk Bruniecki, Arnar Thor

Actually, it all began with the “Glacier Girl”. This aircraft crashed on a Greenlandic glacier during the second world war and was recovered through a major effort in 1992. Iceland native and adventurer Arngrímur Hermannsson was part of that initial salvage team, and as he was picked to lead the later recovery of the seven sister planes, he looked for vehicles strong enough to pull the wrecks out of the glacier. Ultimately, that particular salvage operation could not be financed, yet Hermannsson bought the trucks anyway – and today drives tourists around the second largest glacier in Iceland in three customized MAN trucks.

 

Adventurer and hero

Arngrímur Hermannsson, nicknamed “Addi” by just about everyone, is the very personification of a pioneer. Recovering the “Glacier Girl” isn’t the only adventure experienced by the 62-year-old. At the age of 18, he saved people out of glacier crevices; in the 1970s he crossed Iceland on skis, and ultimately became the first person to drive across all of Greenland in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. His latest project is “Into the Glacier”, a tour of the Langjökull glacier in western Iceland. Since 2015, Addi has been transporting tourists across rough terrain, snow and ice to places they could never have reached themselves. This business idea has proven quite successful: At least 50,000 visitors have already taken an Into the Glacier tour. The three tours offered on this day are also completely sold out. A group of pupils from the UK, families, pensioners and young couples from Germany, Canada, China, India and the United States – they all want to travel to the glacier despite subzero temperatures and an icy wind blowing today. Tightly wrapped in anoraks and snowsuits, they climb into the trucks featuring a bus superstructure in the back. “These MANs are actually registered as buses,” states Addi, although they’re obviously trucks, former military vehicles from NATO.” The vehicles are spectacular: three metres wide, four metres high, nearly 14 metres long and equipped with tyres that reach up to Addi’s chest, despite his impressive body height of 1.9 metres. Just like the superstructure, the tyres were mounted at a later date. “Those were the only modifications, however,” explains Addi. “The MAN chassis is original – and that is truly extraordinary.”

 

Surreal surroundings

Addi climbs up behind the steering wheel and the journey begins – initially rather tamely on a paved road winding through low hedges. After barely a kilometre, though, the vegetation is already receding and the view opens up into a landscape that seemingly belongs to another planet. Dark lava stones and rugged rocks cover the ground, while the snow-topped glacier towers in the distance. At the sight of these impressions, it becomes apparent why Iceland is also called “the land of ice and fire”. The track now followed by Addi is anything but a road: He and his truck must negotiate sand, large rocks, rough gravel and even a riverbed filled with water. The passengers hardly notice. “It’s less bumpy than a normal bus,” says Karen from Canada, who is visiting Iceland with her niece Nyssa. That comfort is due to the eight tyres with air pressure adjustable as needed. Addi uses a smartphone app to control a system that releases air out of the truck tyres or pumps them back up, depending on the type of terrain. He developed the system for driving on snow and ice – which becomes clear as soon as the truck begins its ascent up the glacier. The 20-tonne vehicle powers its way up the incline, with its soft tyres gliding across the snow as if on skis. “The tyres are one important factor, but the converter and the differential lock are just as critical. Not to forget the powerful engine. All of these elements are needed to drive on the glacier,” says Addi. The torque converter allows him to drive across smooth, steep surfaces without interrupting his traction, while the direct force fit between the engine and transmission maintains the rotational speed in the right range. Even the differential lock coupling the two output shafts facilitates the drive across difficult terrain. “We’re up to 15 kilometres per hour at the moment, which is quite fast, considering that we’re driving on a snow cover of six metres,” explains Addi to his passengers via microphone.

 

On and in the glacier

Having reached an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level, the passengers disembark to enjoy the incredible views over western Iceland and explore a tunnel leading them deep into the glacier. The ice tunnel is the highlight of the Into the Glacier tour. With a length of 550 metres and a depth of 40 metres below the surface of the glacier, it is the largest of its kind worldwide. “Our guests enjoy the thrill of seeing a glacier from the inside,” explains Hjalti Rafn Gunnarsson, Marketing Manager of Into the Glacier. “The MAN trucks are the vehicles to enable this experience for them. They allow us to drive on the glacier all year round, no matter the weather conditions” And the weather in Iceland can become truly extreme. “A few years ago, part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series was shot in this area. The crew was out with 60 cars when a huge storm rolled in. They called me and I collected all of the 200 people with my MAN,” recalls Addi. There is no such thing as bad weather, neither for him nor his trucks: “They’re used to the extremes.” Björn Erlingsson, CEO of Iceland’s MAN importer Kraftur, certainly agrees: “Addi brings his trucks to us every three months for servicing, and they’re in top condition, especially considering the tough job they are performing.” Even the 22 litres of diesel Addi burns through per hour are not excessive, considering these conditions. Upon their return, the team cleans the trucks and Addi checks the weather forecast. The already strong winds have grown into a hurricane, so there won’t be a tour tomorrow. “The trucks could easily handle it, but it wouldn’t be so very comfortable for our guests,” comments Addi. “And it shouldn’t be just me who enjoys driving my truck, now should it,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.

 

Watch the video of a glacier tour with Addi and his MAN in Iceland
Further uptrend articles
In the land of ice and fire
In the arctic desert of Iceland with metre-thick ice and volcanic rock, you won’t get far with conventional vehicles. That’s why the pioneer Addi Hermannsson relies on converted trucks from the ABT partner MAN to take tourists on breathtaking nature tours

 

Author | Yasmine Sailer

 

Photos | Dirk Bruniecki, Arnar Thor

Actually, it all began with the “Glacier Girl”. This aircraft crashed on a Greenlandic glacier during the second world war and was recovered through a major effort in 1992. Iceland native and adventurer Arngrímur Hermannsson was part of that initial salvage team, and as he was picked to lead the later recovery of the seven sister planes, he looked for vehicles strong enough to pull the wrecks out of the glacier. Ultimately, that particular salvage operation could not be financed, yet Hermannsson bought the trucks anyway – and today drives tourists around the second largest glacier in Iceland in three customized MAN trucks.

 

Adventurer and hero

Arngrímur Hermannsson, nicknamed “Addi” by just about everyone, is the very personification of a pioneer. Recovering the “Glacier Girl” isn’t the only adventure experienced by the 62-year-old. At the age of 18, he saved people out of glacier crevices; in the 1970s he crossed Iceland on skis, and ultimately became the first person to drive across all of Greenland in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. His latest project is “Into the Glacier”, a tour of the Langjökull glacier in western Iceland. Since 2015, Addi has been transporting tourists across rough terrain, snow and ice to places they could never have reached themselves. This business idea has proven quite successful: At least 50,000 visitors have already taken an Into the Glacier tour. The three tours offered on this day are also completely sold out. A group of pupils from the UK, families, pensioners and young couples from Germany, Canada, China, India and the United States – they all want to travel to the glacier despite subzero temperatures and an icy wind blowing today. Tightly wrapped in anoraks and snowsuits, they climb into the trucks featuring a bus superstructure in the back. “These MANs are actually registered as buses,” states Addi, although they’re obviously trucks, former military vehicles from NATO.” The vehicles are spectacular: three metres wide, four metres high, nearly 14 metres long and equipped with tyres that reach up to Addi’s chest, despite his impressive body height of 1.9 metres. Just like the superstructure, the tyres were mounted at a later date. “Those were the only modifications, however,” explains Addi. “The MAN chassis is original – and that is truly extraordinary.”

 

Surreal surroundings

Addi climbs up behind the steering wheel and the journey begins – initially rather tamely on a paved road winding through low hedges. After barely a kilometre, though, the vegetation is already receding and the view opens up into a landscape that seemingly belongs to another planet. Dark lava stones and rugged rocks cover the ground, while the snow-topped glacier towers in the distance. At the sight of these impressions, it becomes apparent why Iceland is also called “the land of ice and fire”. The track now followed by Addi is anything but a road: He and his truck must negotiate sand, large rocks, rough gravel and even a riverbed filled with water. The passengers hardly notice. “It’s less bumpy than a normal bus,” says Karen from Canada, who is visiting Iceland with her niece Nyssa. That comfort is due to the eight tyres with air pressure adjustable as needed. Addi uses a smartphone app to control a system that releases air out of the truck tyres or pumps them back up, depending on the type of terrain. He developed the system for driving on snow and ice – which becomes clear as soon as the truck begins its ascent up the glacier. The 20-tonne vehicle powers its way up the incline, with its soft tyres gliding across the snow as if on skis. “The tyres are one important factor, but the converter and the differential lock are just as critical. Not to forget the powerful engine. All of these elements are needed to drive on the glacier,” says Addi. The torque converter allows him to drive across smooth, steep surfaces without interrupting his traction, while the direct force fit between the engine and transmission maintains the rotational speed in the right range. Even the differential lock coupling the two output shafts facilitates the drive across difficult terrain. “We’re up to 15 kilometres per hour at the moment, which is quite fast, considering that we’re driving on a snow cover of six metres,” explains Addi to his passengers via microphone.

 

On and in the glacier

Having reached an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level, the passengers disembark to enjoy the incredible views over western Iceland and explore a tunnel leading them deep into the glacier. The ice tunnel is the highlight of the Into the Glacier tour. With a length of 550 metres and a depth of 40 metres below the surface of the glacier, it is the largest of its kind worldwide. “Our guests enjoy the thrill of seeing a glacier from the inside,” explains Hjalti Rafn Gunnarsson, Marketing Manager of Into the Glacier. “The MAN trucks are the vehicles to enable this experience for them. They allow us to drive on the glacier all year round, no matter the weather conditions” And the weather in Iceland can become truly extreme. “A few years ago, part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series was shot in this area. The crew was out with 60 cars when a huge storm rolled in. They called me and I collected all of the 200 people with my MAN,” recalls Addi. There is no such thing as bad weather, neither for him nor his trucks: “They’re used to the extremes.” Björn Erlingsson, CEO of Iceland’s MAN importer Kraftur, certainly agrees: “Addi brings his trucks to us every three months for servicing, and they’re in top condition, especially considering the tough job they are performing.” Even the 22 litres of diesel Addi burns through per hour are not excessive, considering these conditions. Upon their return, the team cleans the trucks and Addi checks the weather forecast. The already strong winds have grown into a hurricane, so there won’t be a tour tomorrow. “The trucks could easily handle it, but it wouldn’t be so very comfortable for our guests,” comments Addi. “And it shouldn’t be just me who enjoys driving my truck, now should it,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.

 

Watch the video of a glacier tour with Addi and his MAN in Iceland