My name is Mayah Krause and I’m an alpinist who’s proud to be a Top 5% Expert in hiking, camping, cycling, and traveling. I started climbing and rappelling before I was a teenager. While my friends were playing video games, I was tying knots and learning how to abseil off big walls.
For the past few years I’ve traveled the world, cycling, diving, kayaking, and climbing. On the way to adventure in Norway in 2016, I saw a billboard that stopped me in my tracks. It showed a place so fantastical I couldn’t believe it was real. After some research, I discovered it was an archipelago in the North Sea called the Faroe Islands.
I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by bikepacking those illustrious islands. I packed my gear (see recommendations below) and traveled to the North Atlantic Ocean, where I found myself standing in that billboard photograph: a daunting panorama of jagged volcanic mountains, sheer-sided cliffs, long, dark fjords and bleak windswept moorland.
The first part of my journey was taking a ferry to Svínoy. While I stood quietly, I couldn’t help but notice the locals’ staring at me, probably wondering if the foreigner with a bike was lost. Once the ferry docked, getting onto land was a spectacle. The sea was rough and with no bridge between the ferry and the dock, passengers had to jump — hoping they wouldn’t end up feet first in the water. Doing that with a bike was…fun.
I got to the campground only to discover it was no more than a fenced grassy area with a toilet and no one around, just sheep. After setting up my tent, I realized it was 7 pm and I needed to hit the trails while it was still light outside. Little did I know that it doesn’t get dark…ever. I could ride, hike and explore for as long as I wanted without worrying about the sun going down. As I wandered through the islands with nothing but the sound of the wind, the waves crashing and the sheep — I was certain I’d found heaven.
That was just the beginning of my many adventures on the beautiful islands. I loved every bit of my trip and I’m grateful for the gear that helped me every step of the way. If you ever get the chance to travel to the Faroe Islands, go!
My gear recommendations:
- Altra Running Wasatch Jacket: Lightweight, waterproof, form fitting. The best waterproof jacket I’ve ever had – though it was designed for running, I use it for any activity that requires waterproof gear.
- Backpacker’s Pantry and Outdoor Herbivore dehydrated foods along with Cliff Bars, Builder’s Bars and ProBars kept me full and gave me the energy I needed to summit those peaks!
- Klymit Insulated V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad: Lightweight, compact, insulated, perfect. I was debating between taking Klymit’s Ozone or the Ultralite SL; opted for the ladder for one main reason: insulation. The Ultralite SL is the lightest insulated pad I could find and the best bang for your buck. Bonus: it packs down really small.
- The North Face Alpine Guide 2 Tent: Fully waterproof and it resisted high winds like a champ. Faroe will present you with all 4 seasons in a day — plus high winds. The Alpine Guide isn’t the lightest tent at about 5 lbs but it has an amazing ventilation system and it’s crazy easy to set up and take down.
- The North Face Prophet 85 Backpack: Excellent pack! The new Dyno Carry System makes life so much easier as you can adjust the pack without having to take it off. It’s made with bulletproof fabric, the brain is detachable and it has a side zipper that runs its entire length, making access to the middle and bottom parts a piece of cake. This pack is pretty much indestructible.
- Salomon S/Lab Alp X Carbon 2 mountaineering boots: Lightweight, fully waterproof and warm. Hands down best mountaineering boots I’ve ever owned. They’re rigid and reinforced in areas they should be and are crampon compatible, feature a quick lace system, attached GoreTex gaiter, only weigh 18 oz and give you a lot of mobility. Once I’ve worn these boots out, I’ll buy another pair. And another. And another.
- Smith Dreamline Polarized Sunglasses: ChromaPop made the greens so much greener and the arctic blue ocean so much bluer! At times the landscape was even prettier with these on (if that’s possible).
- Suunto Fitness 3 watch: As much as I’d love to have taken the Traverse, I opted for the Fitness 3 because of the battery life. The Traverse has a life of 10 hours and the F3 lasts me about 3 days. I use it to keep track of my summit times as well as my cycling times, performance and locations.
My route ended up being: Svínoy Island, Fugloy Island, Viðoy Island (summited Villingadalsfjall next to Cape Enniberg — highest promontory in Europe — lots of exposure on loose rocks), Borðoy Island, Kalsoy Island (hiked Kallur Lighthouse), Eysturoy Island (summited Slættaratindur, class 2 scramble with exposure at the top), Streymoy Island, Sandoy Island, Hestur Island, Vágar Island (hiked Gasáldalur and Sørvágur), Mykines Island (hiked Holmur Lighthouse) and back to Vágar.
See my ExpertVoice profile here.