Volcan Lanin - Day 2

Junin de los Andes Travel Blog

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'The Ascent'

To say we had a good nights´sleep would be a lie. The wind rattled against the tin walls and it was very very cold, despite sleeping in thermal layers, 3 fleeces, hat, gloves, scarf etc etc. At 5am, nature called (typical) and so we scrambled out of sleeping bags and braved the cold. The sun was just rising and the view was the most beautiful vista of orange skies and mountains that stretched into Chile. The Volcano summit was clearly looming over our hut and once again, the skies were clear of any horrible weather.

After brekkie, more snow-melting for our water supplies and kitting up in our ice-climbing gear, we began the incredibly gruelling final ascent. It was seriously tough-going at a 45 degrees incline and we were soon gasping for breathe, resting our screaming legs every few minutes.

One of the views from the ridge.
Poor Simon started to feel very dizzy and generally rather crap but battled on all the same. We were aiming to get to a crop of rocks that were on a ridge of the mountain, looked bloody miles away but we were determined to get there for our first proper stop. We made it, about 2 hours from the hut, a tiny yellow dot from up there on the ridge. As we collapsed on the rocks for  a break, it was clear that Simon was suffering from more than just exhaustion. With dizzy spells, nausea and having actually thrown up, it was obvious that altitude sickness had attacked. Before we descended, we sat and stared in awe at the view, so stunning and clear, we could actually see the Chile-Pacific coast line as well as 2 prominent volcanoes in the distance.
Even though we didn't make the summit, we felt such a huge achievement and the incredible view was a reward in itself. Without another person or hint of civilisation in sight, we enjoyed the serenity and peace, all to ourselves.

The descent was rather scary as it was so steep. It was one of those situations where you can´t slow down - if you do, you bugger over. We made it back to the hut in one piece and had a hot drink and some chocolate before making for the descent down the mountain. Now came the really fun, really dangerous bit!! The quickest way down the mountain is....arse sliding!! Pretty much does what it says on the tin - sit on your bum, lift your cramponned feet off the ground and zoom down the mountain at lightening speed!! It was absolutely terrifying as that mountain was damn steep and the only thing we had to stop us from flying off the side to a gravity-induced death is an ice-pick. Was such a laugh and we soon whizzed down the mountain. What took us 7 hours to climb took less than 2 hours to get down. Thankfully, Simon started to feel a bit better as we reached the bottom of the mountain.

After informing the guardaria of our safe return, we flagged down the next bus coming from Chile back to Junin and rested our aching limbs with the comfort of a shower, food and a warm bed.

mscottcoulter says:
Wow this looks amazing. I know you climbed a while ago, but I'm trying to do the same now, and I'm looking for some advice. Maybe you'll get a message that I'm writing this comment, and if so, realize I'm also the guy who just tried to 'friend' you. If you can spare some time, that would be great.

Thanks
Posted on: Nov 14, 2008
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The Ascent
'The Ascent'
One of the views from the ridge.
One of the views from the ridge.
ridiculous pose. great view
ridiculous pose. great view
that ice-pick saved my life
that ice-pick saved my life
arse sliding - the quickest way do…
arse sliding - the quickest way d…
Junin de los Andes
photo by: siri