Extreme adventure

Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
Trip End Feb 28, 2012

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, January 14, 2012

We are in adventure country so here is our adventure - we climbed to the summit of volcano Villarrica! It is the same volcano in the pictures below.One of the most active volcanoes in Chile, the Villarrica has had 82 historical eruptions so far. The climb is about 1,500 meters in elevation to 2800m at the summit. It is made easier by walking most of the way on snow. We hired an agency that supplied boots, snow suits, helmet, ice picks, plastic slider, ice crampons, and even gas masks if we need it. There were 4 guides that were well trained and very good. Our group was 12 in total. The oldest person to climb with this agency was 74, a few years ago. They thought we would have no problem at 60 and 61and seemed to think since we were Canadian we would do it easily. They warned us that if we turned back we would still have to pay in full! 

We began by travelling by bus about 45 minutes to the foot of the mountain where there is a ski hill.  We choose to take a chairlift for the first leg of the trip.  Then we zig zagged up the slope, mostly on the snow - it was easier than rock and scree.  The guides were very good with their instruction as well with their leadership.  We rested 10 minutes every hour.  Two friends from our hostal (a father and daughter from Romania) and another person had to turn back - thankfully there were enough guides to escort them.  They were very disappointed but she had been sick and was not fully recovered.  We were quite pleased that we were able to keep up to the group and made the summit after about 4.5 hours.  

We could see into the crater (after a short rest) and then walked around the perimeter. We could see gases and heat emitting from the crater - we weren´t allowed to go on the south side because the wind was blowing gases that way.  It was quite an incredible sight: a beautiful day and we could see for miles.  

Our decent was not anticlimactic!  We suited up with snow suits, mitts, helmets, protective cover for our behind, and then brought out our plastic slider.  For most of the way down, we slid on our bums.  It was the longest and fastest toboggan ride we have ever had!  We were able to control our speed and direction (a little) with our icepicks.  Our decent was about 2 hours in total.  

When we arrived at our bus, I decided to pick up some lava rocks from the parking lot to show Makenna and Tyler.  One of the guides saw me and gave me a beautiful rock that he had brought down from the summit.  It is incredibly beautiful.  I have carefully packed it as one of the best souvenirs I could bring for our grandkids. 

We arrived back to Pucon where cold beer was waiting for us.   We had a little celebration and then were glad to get back to our hostal.  
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Nancy Serpless on

That is an amazing adventure guys!! Well done! I reckon the tobogganing down would have been the hairiest! You guys are amazing and a fine example for the rest of us oldies!!

lori Matties on

That looks like fun -- the coming down I mean! What a beautiful adventure you had.

Marianne Haak on

Wow, what an adventure!!!

Renee and Al on

Incredible adventure, and we're very impressed that you are so fit, and daring! Just started to read your blog, and look forward to learning all about an unfamiliar (to us) part of the world.

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