Arguably the most famous of the historic lifting stones — the Húsafell stone — weighs in at 186kg (410lbs). It was used as the gate to a stone sheep pen built by reverend Snorri Björnsson in the 18th century.
Whilst the basalt stone is almost always referred to as the Húsafell Stone, it actually has a name — Kvíahellan, meaning pen slab.
There are three main challenges to attempt with the Húsafell stone. The final challenge is the stone’s most famous and popular. The other two challenges are rarely attempted.
lift the stone onto the southern part of the northern opening into the fold.
lift the stone onto a big stone in the northern wall of the pen. Snorri’s name is engraved here — though it’s now difficult to see after centuries of erosion.
Finally, for Fullsterkur status, the lifter must pick and carry the stone around the sheep pen without putting it down. One revolution of the pen is approximately 35 meters (115ft).
Reverend Snorri Björnsson built the stone pen himself to keep goats and sheep when milking and shearing. The stone was used as the gate to the pen, but it is not known when the stone started to be used as a test of strength. Sources suggest that passing travellers would test their strength with the stone — which Snorri named Kvíahellan.
Snorri lived on the farm for around 50 years between 1756 and 1803. Suggesting that using the stone as a test of strength could go back over 250 years.
Legend has it that Snorri Björnsson’s daughter carried the Húsafell Stone around the entire pen.
The Húsafell stone sits next to the sheep pen for which it was the gate in Húsafell, Iceland.
The precise location is on our map.
The Húsafell stone has been used in competition many times.
- World’s Strongest Man 1992, Iceland
- Iceland’s Strongest Man 2017
- Iceland’s Strongest Man 2018
- Arnold Strongman Classic 2019 (replica stone)
- Iceland’s Strongest Man 2019
- Arnold Strongman Classic 2020 (replica stone)
- Iceland’s Strongest Man 2020
- Iceland’s Strongest Man 2021
- Magnús Ver Magnússon Strongman Classic 2021 - at Húsafell
- Magnús Ver Magnússon Strongman Classic 2022 - at Húsafell
One of the most famous (and impressive) performances with the stone was done by Jón Páll Sigmarsson in 1985 when he easily lifted the stone and danced with it.
We may be missing some competitions that the stone was used in. If you know of any that aren’t on this list contact us.
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson holds the current distance record for the Húsafell stone carry at 98.16 meters (322ft) — achieved at Iceland’s Strongest Man 2019.1
Revolutions around the pen
Vilius Jokuzys holds the record for number of revolutions around the Húsafell pen while carrying the Húsafell stone at about 2.4 revolutions. His carry was measured at 83.9m (275.26ft) — achieved at the Magnús Ver Magnússon Classic 2022.
A replica Húsafell stone was created for the Arnold Strongman Classic, using stone from the farm at Húsafell.
Although not stones, loadable shields can be found in gyms and strongman competitions to simulate the carrying challenge of the stone.
Featured in Fullsterkur
Featured in Kviahellan: The Pen Slab:
Stonelifting: An Ancient Test of Strength Revived — Martin Jancsics and Dr. Bill Crawford