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Elín went from being an enthusiastic guide to leading a top adventure company, inspiring others to explore, lead, and dream big.

Elín's journey with Icelandic Mountain Guides (IMG) is a story of passion and a pioneering spirit. Since her early days on rescue teams as a teenager, she has become a mother figure at IMG and her narrative written into the very fabric of Iceland's adventure tourism.

Her adventure with IMG began in a local outdoor clothing store. Back in '96, the 25-year-old Elín was working part-time as a salesperson. Among the shelves of adventure equipment and clothing, her path crossed with the founders of IMG. This encounter soon propelled her across the Vatnajökull ice cap, guiding tours on the icy expanses of the remote Kverkfjöll glacier.

For the following summers, she dedicated every season to the glaciers, guiding tours and running teenage summer camps in Skaftafell while studying during the school year.

Back then, glacier guiding was virtually unheard of as a profession. While search and rescue team members had the know-how for glacier rescue, leading glacier tours for people with varying experiences over the rugged icy terrain was largely uncharted territory.

After a few summers of guiding, Elín and her colleagues began envisioning a structured approach to glacier guiding and preparation for rescue operations. She was instrumental in drafting IMG's first glacier guide training program, organizing gatherings where guides pooled their knowledge, synchronized their skills, and established the best practices that would form the official glacier guide training.

Soon after, Icelandic Mountain Guides partnered with the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, further refining the glacier training to meet the highest international standards. This partnership produced the initial version of what would become Iceland's official glacier guide training, “Hard Ice”, establishing benchmarks that are still in use today.

Recognizing the value of their program, Icelandic Mountain Guides made a choice not just for themselves but for the entire industry; they opted to share this treasure of knowledge with all glacier tour operators in Iceland, prioritizing the safety of travellers and guides over competitive advantage.

The company was reaching new heights with a wide variety of day trips and multi-day trekking trips and as an operator of longer tours for partners around the world. At the same time, Elín embraced motherhood, which led to a shift in her ambitions. She transitioned from the glacier fields to the office, where she concentrated on sales, communication, and designing multi-day tours. This transition paved the way for her next big leap in 2005 when she stepped up as the company's General Manager and Chief Communication Officer.

Under Elín's leadership, IMG transformed. With new investors joining in, the company ventured into uncharted territories, leading adventure tours across the globe, from the rugged trails of Morocco to the Himalayan heights.

With the expansion of the company and the extension of Iceland’s peak tourist season due to an increase in foreign visitors, Elín led IMG to provide year-round positions to retain valuable staff and seasoned guides by launching adventurous winter activities, exclusive tours, and bold expeditions abroad. The 2007 merger with Iceland Rovers opened doors to inaccessible areas and adventurous winter activities.

The once-silent winter mountains started to buzz with the sounds of hiking boots and friendly chatter. These winter hikes were designed to prepare for the summiting of Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak, at the beginning of the summer season.

The year 2018 marked a new chapter as IMG merged with Arcanum Adventure Tours, known for its adventurous snowmobiling and ATV tours. This partnership, founded on shared values, strengthened IMG’s commitment to safety, professionalism, and an even wider array of outdoor activities.

Since joining the Icelandia family in 2022, Icelandic Mountain Guides have further broadened their operational scope, merging thrilling meet-on-location adventures with captivating sightseeing day tours.

Elín continues to serve as the COO of Activities and Adventure at Icelandia, spending half her time at our base camps alongside our guides, always with an eye towards crafting new and exciting adventures.

Elín's journey shows how powerful dreams and dedication can be. She went from being an enthusiastic guide to leading a top adventure company, inspiring others to explore, lead, and dream big.

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