Pucon Travel Blog› entry 17 of 27 › view all entries
6.30 it's not a good time to be awake, however the cloud is gone and we are treated to our first sighting of the Volcano we are going to climb.
We get our eqipment from the tour agency, take the bus to the bottom of the volcano and take a chair lift up to 1400 mts. I don't like chair lifts especially with the side wind hitting me as we just dangle from the wires. I am quite relieved when I get to the top. We are given an ice pick (what did happen to Leon Trostky), and begin our slow climb up the volcano.
It is a slog, it's not easy, it an unrelenting slow climb, never do you go flat along a ridge or anything, just keep going up, you don't have to be super fit to complete it, but the guide books and travel books make it sound an easy days outing, It's knackering.
The terrain is scree mixed in volcanic ash which is like walking up the down escalator, as you keep slipping back every few steps and then across the ice which is slippery which is where your ice pick comes in. The total climb to the top took about 3 and half hours including a few stops for refreshments.
As we climb we are treated to fine views of Lago Villarrica, the vista then widens to include Lago colico beyond Villarrica and Lago Caburga to the right. In the distabnce we can see Volcan Llaima the one that exploded in January. Every now and again it emits a puff of black smoke, which then questions your decision to be on a live volcano not many miles from one still belching !! further beyond was Lonquimay also active.
The view is beautiful and the higher we go more peaks, valleys and towns come into view, you have to enjoy something as the walking is slow and monotenous. the ice and snow finally ends about 150mts from the summit and it's then a scramble to the top. Fine views can be seen but the crator itself is dissapointing as you can't see into it very well, you can smell the sulpher and the sides of the rock are stained yellow.
I walk around the crator the wind is very strong at the top and can then see southwards, untold lakes are visible along with mountain ranges, several other volcanoes all snow capped and way in the distance Vulcan Osormo. Well worth the climb. Just beautiful scenery and your on a live volcano. We take numerous photos and congratualte all the others who we know who have climbed to the top. 9 of us from the bus trip got to the top. Kelly (USA), Stefan, Bernice, her friend, Elmetrunde (Germany), Martin (Ireland), Andrew & Vanessa (Queensland) and I. For photographic reference.
Now if go up was hard, going down was easy !!. When we got to the ice section we realised why we had carried so much clothing up. We put on overtousers, waterprrofs, gloves and got out a plastic seat like the top of a toilet seat, sat on it and slid down, propelling ourselves with ones ice pick, i soon learnt to dig into the snow and not into my leg !!
We must of done 5 or 6 of these ice chutes, it was just like toboggoning on the cresta run, some had been specially carved with high curves at one point I was out of my ice chute and off piste so had to execute a very good emergency stiop with my ice pick !! It only took about an hour to get down and was brillant fun !!! Thankfully the chair lÃ±ift was not working at the bottom as I prefered to walk the last bit down.
Back at the shop we had a celebratory beer in the shadow of our newly conquered volcano !! All 9,341ft of it.
No rest time though, a quick shower and back on the bus for a meander through the lake district.