In the air up there - Volcan Villarrica
Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
36Trip End Jun 12, 2013
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We have certainly pushed some limits in Pucon with the highlight of the trip to date hiking the live Volcano Villarica. An amazing experience of a 4 hour vertical ascent over snow and ice. We started out super early geared up and then were briefed by the tour company. With some questionable weather conditions, we decided to bite the bullet and head up. We began at 1800m with a short chair lift up to the snow line. Wearing helmets and carrying an ice axe, cramp-ons and packs, we zig-zagged our way up the steep ascent stopping roughly every 45mins to quickly eat & drink. The ascent got quite hairy at the top as the ice thickened and the near 35 degree pitch (the skiers out there will know that is quite steep) became a certain challenge as the winds were blowing a gale. The only way to stop ourselves if we slipped and fell was to throw out body weight onto our ice picks, try to dig them in and hope they held!
Needless to say when we reached the summit it was such an achievement, with the cloud dense, a few blue sky breaks provided a glimpse over the cloud line. Being on top of the world is the best way to describe it! Unbelievable! After just a few moments of glory due to the smoke & sulphur levels, we began a tricky descent, almost walking backwards in some sections, ensuring our toes had a good purchase on the ice.
All the hard work was rewarded when 1/2 of the way down we swapped our new found mountaineering skills for a bit of fun ... Supplied with plastic scoops, we sat and slid down the snowy mountain in just over an hour, using our ice axe as a brake. A change in pace from the grueling climb up and some welcome relief to our jelly legs!
The volcano climb also introduced us to Luke & Annie (An Irish couple) who were loads of fun and we plan on meeting up with them in Argentina down the track.