In the air up there - Volcan Villarrica

Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2013

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Where I stayed
Elementos EcoHostel

Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Again another uneventful bus ride from Santa Cruz wine country to Pucon: Capital of adventure sports! Well it would have been unremarkable if only the character in the next seat didn't have a handgun down the back of his pants... and wasn't sweating bricks... Needless to say we exhaled with relief when he departed before our stop.
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.
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Maureen Daniels on

This sounds like the kind of adventure that"grandparents" only need to know about when it's over. Glad you stayed safe. Keep enjoying the adventure.

pcandjd on

Heh heh - too true Maureen! That was definitely one to talk about once it was done. It got pretty wild there for a moment or two... but I shouldn't be saying that, I should be saying that the story is one big exaggeration...!

Kelly Jones on

Wowzers! That's sounds amazing guys. Think I would have loved the sled ride down the best too!!

pcandjd on

It was great fun - forget back country skiing, bring on back country arse sliding...!

lyn Carter on

Mt. Everest here we come!!!!

Ronnie on

Wow How Amazing you are really having the Time of your Lives! Love the View!!

pcandjd on

Certainly are having the time of our lives!
The Volcano hike was simply one of the most amazing things we have done...apart from eating Crudo- but the next post will explain that!!!

pcandjd on

Everest - now you're talking!

Marius on

You've just discovered back country arse sliding? Bah, i've been doing that for ages but i only just realised i've been using the wrong equipment! : P

pcandjd on

Heh heh - I now realise that I had been using the 'rolling' technique. The arse sliding technique makes all the difference.

bek savic on

oh my gosh. just the pictures are giving me vertigo. well done!

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