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Pucón - Ascent to Volcan Villirrica....at last!!!

CHILE | Tuesday, 17 February 2009 | Views [666]

Yay......2800ft and a great view

Yay......2800ft and a great view

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!   Clear blue skies, sunshine……perfecto!!!!!!

All good for climbing up the volcano.  We were all kitted out with mountain climbing equipment.  The overall kit list included: waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, gaiters, mountaineering boots, crampons, ice-axe, hat, gloves, and rucksack ….looked the business!!!   

The mountaineering boots I borrowed had extremely rigid soles and little flexibility (a bit like ski boots) and really most uncomfortable….for those who have been skiing with me you know what I’m talking about.  Anyway after a while of wearing the boots my feet soon got used to them.

Being a volcano the climb gets steeper the higher you go, so by time we had reached the last third it was really tough going.  It was made slighter easier by the well formed steps made in the snow by that day's previous trekkers, and wearing the crampons certainly helped.  Our guide however took us off the main track several times since the groups in front were slowing us down. 

After a few hours we had reached the summit….2840m above sea level….we had started at a1400m.  The panorama was amazing; it was so clear you could see for miles.  You can see more distant volcanoes and a range of low snow covered mountains towards the Argentinean border.  A few us walked around the rim of the crater and had a good look down. The sulfuric gases caught in my throat a few times…not a nice experience!!!   Couldn't see much in the crater but could tell it was deep.  It would let out the occasional rumble….it is the most active volcano in Chile after all!!!!

After a brief rest we make our descent….on our backsides!!   It was great fun….and by far the quickest way down.  It was like a luge, and using our ice picks to slow down.  It was great fun and the whole descent must have been less than an hour.

Overall, a fantastic climb, very tiring, but will worth it once at the top.

The next day I was back at school for the morning, and spent the evening relaxing in the thermal baths just outside Pucón.  

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