Skinning up Villarrica near Pucon

Pucon Travel Blog

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We all slept pretty well on the bus and arrived in Pucon in the morning. We dragged all out equipment to Ecole Hostel. We had a lot of questions for the guy at the front desk: Where is the best place to rent a car? How do we get to Villarrica? What other volcanoes could he recommend for ski touring? Where can we get the information we need?

He pointed us to Aguaviva. They had all the answers. The had a car for us to rent. They gave us specific information on where to park, and the best assents and dissents. When they told us about Villarrica it started with, "I was up there 2 days ago..." That always makes me feel better when I know that these people have first hand, recent experience doing this.  They showed us a map and looked at the weather conditions with us.

About 3 pm we actually got our selves up the mountain. We were planning to just do a little hike up the mountain and not summit so that we could work out all the equipment kinks. Like us forgetting to adjust my skis to my boots and having to use a short screwdriver to change the settings. We ended up summiting because after we had gotten high enough we decided that it wasn't worth coming all that way again tomorrow so it became a race against the sun.

We skinned up under the chair lift to the left then in between two rock formations one called Peidra Blanca and the other called Capilla. there was a steep face and we just made really wide tracks up it and ended on the right side. At the top of the face there was a ridge that went all the way to the top and we followed the ridge. We had to boot pack the last 100-200 feet of the climb because the snow was getting hard and icy. It was almost sunset when we reached the top.

The volcano was puffing smoke. We couldn't see lava, but we didn't try and get close to the edge. It was amazing. I had never seen the inside of a volcano before. Especially an active one!!! From the top we could see lots of other volcanoes and peaks. To the north (the one that you can see while hiking) is Llaima and the smaller one behind it is Lonquimay. To the East the big majestic volcano is Lanin and the smaller one in front of it is Quetrupillan. We could also see the conical shape of the shadow of Villarrica.

We skied down in the sunset. It was magical.

Total it took us about 6.5 hours up and down (I think it would have been faster if we had slept in a real bed)
It was approximately 1440m up (4700ft)
We started at about 1400m (4600ft) and the summit elevation is 2840m (9320ft)

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photo by: Biedjee