This was the experience of one of the members of our GoChile team when climbing the Villarica volcano
Climbing a volcano may not sound like a challenge to some people, but for me it definitely was. I love walking in nature, and often I find myself trekking in the hills that surround Santiago or in a national park. But an active volcano? I was not sure about that.
The Villarica volcano is 2,847 meters high, with volcanic rock, snow and not a single tree. If the sun is strong, there is nothing to protect you, if the wind runs, there is nowhere to hide and if it rains ... well if it rains it was a mistake to have climbed in the first place.
We met with the guide the night before to test the equipment. Throughout the year the volcano is covered in snow almost entirely, so even in summer, it is necessary to climb with crampons, ice ax, leggings, gloves and mountain boots. The tourist agency takes care of all your equipment, even the backpack, and that is because they can´t receive a girl at 6 in the morning wearing pink sneakers thinking that it will get to the crater.
Yes, that was me, and if it wasn´t for the help of the guide I would have come up with running shoes. I repeat, I had never climbed a volcano, I never thought I would climb one, and of course not the most active in South America.
The Villarica volcano had its last eruption on March 17, 2015. It has had at least three major eruptions and has taken more than 300 lives. But that is not an impediment for the mountaineers of the world who come to climb it, actually, it gives an extra touch of adrenaline to the experience.
We left Pucón at 6:30 o´clock in the morning and in less than an hour we were at the base of the volcano, where we parked and put on the equipment. After an explanatory talk we took the lifeline that took us an hour of walking.
The beginning is steep, but as the motivation was at the highest, nothing mattered. We were going at a slow pace but with rhythm behind Tomas, our Swedish guide. After about an hour, we made the first stop to drink water and put on the crampons. I was scared, I had never walked through snow in such a steep place, but when I stepped on it with that kind of claw, I felt safe. A couple of hours later it was as if I had used crampons and ice axes all his life.
We walked in zigzag and made another stop to rest, this time to eat our snack. We were settling on the rocky surface when we started to hear screams. The people above were shouting "rock!" Calmly the guide told us to run to the side. With turtle steps I began to move until I saw my dad's face, then I reacted and jumped leaving the backpack and ice ax behind.
For inexplicable reasons the rock changed its trajectory and jumped right to the place where we were. If we had not moved in time, the huge rock would have crashed us. We were in shock, we did not see it coming, but as the guide told us at the time, those are things that happen on the mountain. "When it's hot and the snow melts, it's natural that some rocks fall off," Tomas explained. I could only think that the Ruka Pillañ told me: "Did you want adrenaline? There they have adrenaline! "
After that moment the climb became easier and in a couple of hours we were already at the top watching mountain ranges, distant volcanoes and a 200 meters diameter crater.
If the climb is as hard as preparing a banquet for hundreds, the descent is delicious as enjoying that banquet. We put on special suits, we sat each on plastic paddles and one by one we went sliding down the slides of the Volcano.
At full speed and feeling the adrenaline explode in fits of laughter I descended more than 2000 steep meters in the biggest slip I have ever seen in my life. And I loved it, I would definitely do it again: the slip, the climb and even the part of the rock. It is one of those experiences that you can not forget!
Live the experience
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