Conquering the Volcano

Trip Start Oct 17, 2004
Trip End May 13, 2005

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Last stop of three weeks in Chile was at the quiet and pictoresque town of Pucon, in the Chilean Lake District. I had been told by many travellers that I HAD to climb the active Villarrica volcano near the town - and bearing in mind that it could be done in one day and that I really wanted to see an active volcano, it was a main reason for travelling down through Chile.

It was a five hour hike to the top, an hour longer than it usaully takes as a ski-lift was broken that we could have used for part of the journey, so we had to walk instead! In all, though, the climb wasn't that difficult. The last half was covered in snow, for which we needed to use crampons (metal spikes you attach to your shoes). The views got better and better as we climbed, even if the very top was a little disappointing. The volcano is going through a more active phase at the moment, but we didn`t see any lava - only tons of sulphuric fumes, which made it hard to breathe! Coming down was fun as we just slid on our arses all the way down the snow, sometimes pretty fast, and then needed just over an hour to finish walking down the rest. It was a really enjoyable trip, and made even better by being with a group of six other travellers (five from my homely hostel) who were great fun to be with. Although I didn't have time to see more of the south of the country, it gave me enough of a taster to want to come back and do so another time - preferably when the summer comes round again so it isn't too cold!
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