In this edition of Women Who Inspire, we had the chance to interview Soffía Sigurgeirsdottir, an Icelandic outdoor adventurer and mountaineer. She recently finished crossing Vatnajökull glacier the largest glacier in Europe with a group of eleven women called Snjódrífur (Snowdrifters), raising money for charity. The journey took 9 days across 165 km on skis with pulks. Harsh and extreme, the weather and frost (-15 up to -25 Celsius), active volcanos, earthquakes and cracks in the glacier tested endurance. Part of the project was to encourage women all over Iceland to find their life force by hiking their local mountain while the group crossed the glacier.
Soffía engages in various outdoor activities such as mountaineering, mountain biking, mountain skiing and off-road running. Her focus is to do good in life and follow her dreams.
She is also a feminist and environmentalist and works as a consultant in the field of corporate social responsibility, public relations, communication, and change management.
Read what she had to say about what inspires her, her next adventure, and more!
What is your biggest inspiration every day?
My children, Gabriel, Salka, Úlfur and Loki, are my biggest inspiration every day. I am proud to say they are humanists and want to contribute positively to the world. Strong courageous women also inspire me, including my Icelandic foremothers that paved the road for gender equality. They are my role models and have inspired me throughout my life to be courageous, to dream big and realize my dreams. Finally, I want to mention my fellow girl mountaineers, Snjódrífur. With them I feel like a superwoman and that everything is possible.
What adventure is next for you?
I am currently building up strength after an ACL surgery so I have been busy dreaming about my next adventures. In May 2021 I will join Snjódrífur and 100 other women in hiking the highest peak in Iceland, Hvannadalshnúkur, raising money for young people that are fighting cancer. I am also dreaming of more glacier adventures in Iceland, Kilimanjaro and the Himalayan mountains.
What has been your biggest challenge that you’ve overcame, and what helped you overcome it?
In my recent expedition I had to endure suffering, that was challenging. I decided to cross the largest glacier in Europe with a torn ACL and Meniscus. I would not recommend that but I had made up my mind that was going. Nothing was going to prevent me from going on this expedition and walking with my friend Sirry who had been fighting cancer for ten years. I had a special brace for the knee for support but on day 4 of 9 on the glacier I suffered through every step and I didn‘t sleep much due to pain. I know how to live with pain having had endometriosis my whole life and I had prepared mentally before the expedition. I got so much support from my friends and also I wasn‘t the only one in the group with a torn ACL, my friend Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir and I took those steps together, now we are both in recovery. You can always do much more then you think. I knew I had the endurance and strength and you just have to believe in yourself. After finishing the feeling was empowering. The mountains are my passion, there I am totally free.
Why is sustainability important to you?
I have always had this connection with nature. I was lucky that my parents took me on trips in the highlands of Iceland and raised me to respect nature. Living in Iceland you have raw nature at your doorstep, eruptions, earthquakes and melting glaciers. This shapes you.
I have been working in the field of sustainability since graduating in 2001 from the London School of Economics. I remember attending a lecture where the US Secretary of State, Madaleine Albright, introduced the UN Global Compact project. I decided to use that as a tool in my work. Nature is a big part of who I am and through consultation in Corporate Social Responsibility at Langbrók consultancy and Empower I try to contribute to the healing of nature by helping companies to focus on sustainability. We don‘t have a spare planet!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Definitely to follow your dreams, to take more space, to be louder and to be unafraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are wonderful because when you learn from your mistakes you have the possibility to grow as an individual. Also you have the power to decide how your day will turn out, positive or negative. So I would have encouraged my younger self to be more decisive on positivity.
Soffía wears the VOLCANO Hoodie
What is your favorite Katla piece, and how do you style it?
I am honored to have a special dress named after me, Soffía. I adore that dress and the slip dresses. I look forward to wearing it with heels - now I wear it with sneakers. I also love Katla‘s hoodies and I style them with jeans and leggings. I enjoy wearing clothes that are produced in a sustainable way and the quality is impeccable. Katla is such a big inspiration.
Soffía wears the BUTTER Hoodie