Our Local Guide office is a powerful combination of different backgrounds, passions, cultures and multiple strenghts. Unquestionably, we share love to icelandic nature and we are all passionate about hiking and exploring this country. We all have years of experience in travel industry, customer service jobs, event organization, marketing, management and so on.
Our greatest goal is to make our company always being professional and authentic to what we stand for and we want to make sure you will receive the best experience throughout the entire process of getting into one of our tours. We want to make sure you will simply have a great adventure with us!
Helen is incredibly passionate about all things outdoors having started adventuring from a young age. She joined the Icelandic rescue squad at 18 and started guiding on the glaciers 5 years later. Always adventuring, she has travelled the world but after the first summer of guiding in Vatnajökull she met local boy Aron and the rest, as they say, is history. She has worked hard to build Local Guide whilst keeping it a small and authentic family company and works in the office on a day-to-day basis. She still fits in the odd adventure every year but is happy hiking, exploring and photographing the area she calls home.
Loving to hike, travel, do sports and spend hours exploring new design solutions. Loving to cook veggie and vegan food in her free time. Since July 2020 she got a new life-changing job – she became a mum of a little boy, called Steinar Miron. Everyday life became even more hectic and crazy but definitely more fun.
Dorota joined a team of Local Guide in July 2021 and she fullfils here passions to webdesign, UI / UX, marketing and customer expierience, hoping to make the company’s operations as best as possible. She is using her years of experience in travel and event industries to make our current, past and future travellers extra happy 🙂
Katha was born in Germany and moved abroad when she was 18 years old. After living a year in Canada, she spontaneously ended up in Öræfi in 2016 and fell in love with nature, culture and the Local Guide family. Katha enjoys photography and studied Scandinavian studies in Berlin while spending the majority of her time in Iceland (because reindeer are better than people). Katha lives in the east fjords and works remotely in the office where she still gets to share her love of glaciers with you. Be aware that after visiting Iceland once, like Katha, you may end up living here too
our guides in 2022
Our Local Guides are the most amazing group of individuals living and working in the area. Each of us is different but we all share similar love to what we do.
Meet the team of the wonderful guides below!
Aron is the co-owner of Local Guide. He was raised in the Vatnajökull area and has been living and working on the glacier from a young age and is incredibly knowledgeable about the local area. He is passionate about keeping Local Guide an authentic family run company, carefully selecting his staff and showing the utmost respect for the local area and community. Aron never stops and is forever tinkering, fixing, maintaining to keep the company running as a well-oiled machine. He, Helen and their son Trausti split their time between on their family farm in Öræfi and Reykjavík.
PATRICE SCHAUFELBERGER (PAT)
Pat’s transplant to Iceland from Switzerland runs along the lines of, ‘he came for a week and then never left’. Pat came to Iceland in 2016 for a Wilderness First Responder recert and by the end of the week had a job offer to begin his working as a glacier guide before joining the Local Guide team in 2018.
Kiddi has been a part of the Local Guide team since the early days after Aron and Helen took over the business in 2015. Desk jobs have never appealed to Kiddi and every chance he got he was looking out the window at the sky and mountains. Now he sees them full-time through the windows of the super jeeps, from the glaciers, and the cockpits of the planes he flies in his spare time. Kiddi is joined on shift by his loveable dog Malt.
ÓLAFUR ÞÓR KRISTINSSON (ÓLI)
Óli fell into guiding accidentally in 2011 and it stuck. After spending a long time in Canada tackling a number of climbs, he was ready to come home and decided that Local Guide was the only company he wanted to work for. Óli grew up on a dairy farm under Eyjafjöll in Iceland’s south where he recently built his own cabin by hand. Óli lives just to climb as much as possible in his spare time and have the smallest impact on the environment that he can, travelling rarely and even running his car on used vegetable oil!
Gunnlaugur Ingivaldur Gretarsson
Kasia has practically run up and down mountains in all corners of the world, but it was a trip in Iceland on Hvannadalsnjúkur that called Kasia to move from her native Poland to Iceland to become a glacier guide in 2017. Aside from mountaineering, Kasia is practiced at knitting an icelandic lopapeysa that would make any Icelandic grandmother proud. After several years of testing and trying all kinds of guiding throughout Iceland, we’re so pleased that Kasia is joining us full time for the summer of 2022.
Mery González Tejada – Glacier Guide
Mery moved to the Vatnajökull region in 2019 to work as an au pair so she could use every spare second of her free time hiking, skiing, climbing and learning as much as possible about glaciers while integrating into the local Öræfi community. Not having tried a mountain sport is just an opportunity for Mery to add it to her repertoire, and after an exhilarating spring season in the alps Mery is finally joining the Local Guide family full-time in summer 2022.
With home split between Öræfi and Hafnafjörður, Lisa is a multi-talented guide who believes summers are for exploring and hiking and the winters are for ice caves and getting cosy. Lisa has been with the team since 2018 and joins us when she can to make sure she gets in enough play time on the ice until her heart’s content.
Reynir Snær Valdimarsson
Reynir was born and raised in the capital city. His interest for the mountains grew larger and larger every Reynir joined us in 2018 after working as a glacier guide in Skaftafell for two years. With a background in Icelandic search and rescue training and a love for hiking and mountaineering, Reynir spends his winters in the ice caves with us and his summers summiting Iceland’s tallest peaks and paddling around icebergs in glacier lagoons.
Stephanie Langridge (Steph)
Steph first joined our team in 2018, a year and a half after she moved to Iceland from Australia and decided that the cold, ice and mountains were for her for the foreseeable future. Since COVID, Steph and her husband Magnús have moved back to the Golden Circle area Maggi grew up in and are slowly (literally) building their home there, but Steph still joins us throughout the year because the pull of the glaciers and the team is too great to ignore. She also assists with the strategic marketing for the local Öræfi region and wants to see the community flourish.
Magnús Bjarki Snæbjörnsson
Maggi is a geologist-fireman-carpenter-farmer-guide who enjoys filling every inch of ‘spare time’ with activities like his family, building projects, the search and rescue team, and luckily for us, summits of the tallest mountains in the Vatnajökull region. Since he was a child, Magnús has found it difficult to sit down, but finds his quiet moments in nature on his way up the mountains.