On thursday we climbed to the top of the Villarrica Volcano! It´s a serious affair so we had been told not to drink and not to have sex the night before the climb!! We started early in the the morning (7:30) and were all given a helmet, back pack, boots, crampons, ice-axe, trousers and a jacket to wear. After a short bus trip and taking a chair lift, we started climbing. The surface was made up of debris spewed up from the last eruption which had also destroyed a chair lift further up, so it was hard going on the loose surface. As we approached the glacier,we took lunch and had a quick rest before tackling the snow and ice. We couldn´t stop much because we had to get to the top before 2:30pm when the temperature suddenly drops very low. Halfway up the glacier we were told to put on the crampons (which had earlier gone throught the screen of our mobile) and got to the top of the glacier walking towards the smoking volcano. The first group with our guide dissapeared out of site on the last section up to the lip of the volcano so we had to find our own way scrambling up the loose volcanic rocks, but Jon lead us (and three others from our group) and we made it safely to the top and to the stench of sulphur that choked us! The view was just incredible, it was a perfect clear day so we could see far into the Lake District.

After about an hour at the top, we put on the trousers, gloves and jackets they had given us and made our way down, we were able to slide on our bottoms all the way down the glacier, as earlier trekkers had made snow shoots to go down and there was an amazing one that was naturally made, curving its way down the middle section of the glacier! It was welcome after the hard climb up, but not as easy as it sounds, as you had to push yourself down in some bits! The bits we had to walk were also quite scary! As we were told, going down is the really difficult part, so you don´t celebrate at the top, only when you are back at the bottom! We didn´t take the chair lift down so had to walk those extra meters! We were so tired and seeing the bus in the distant made it seem much longer!

On the bus back to the center we heard a ¨case 5¨come over the radio! There were a few slow people in our group who had only got to the top as we were coming down and one of them had broken their knee going down the snow tubes! They all returned safely, just a couple of hours later!

The day was hard, but good fun and we are really proud that we got to the top, thanks to our effort and the excellent guides who accompanied us!

Happy Birthday Mum and Jo!!

Blanca climbing the glacier

Conqered the Volcano!

Lip of the Volcano

El jueves subimos al Volcan Villarrica! No es un juego de niños, asi que nos advirtieron que el dia anterior el sexo y el alcohol estaban prohibidos! Como a los futbolistas de elite!!! Empezamos pronto por la mañana, a las 7.30 nos reunimos con el grupo y nos dieron el equipo: mochila, casco, piolet (baston de escalada), trampones (para el hielo) y ropa para bajar en los tobogones de hielo! Al principio, todo fue muy relajado, fuimos en bus hasta el valle y despues en silla hasta la primera base (o la segunda?). Pero a partir de ahi empezo lo bueno. Subir era dificil, ya que la superficie, hecha de la lava de las erupciones del volcan, era muy resbalazadiza. Cuando estabamos llegando al glaciar, nos paramos para comer y descansar algo, pero no mucho, porque teniamos que llegar a la cima antes de las 2.30, cuando la temperatura empieza a bajar muy deprisa. A mitad de camino por el glaciar, nos paramos a ponernos los trampones porque la superficie era mas de hielo que de nieve. Despues de la ultima parada, en la que nos los quitamos, porque estabamos casi en la cima y la superficie de lava empezaba otra vez, el guia y parte de nuestro grupo de repente desaparecieron y el siguiente grupo estaba lejos, asi que el ultimo trozo de subida lo hicimos unos cuantos guiados por Jon. Llegamos a la cima sanos y salvos, aunque casi ahogados por el acido sulfurico del volcan. La vista era preciosa! Era un dia claro y se podian ver las montañas, lagos y volcanes de la Region de los Lagos alrededor!

Una hora mas tarde, nos pusimos los trajes que nos habian dado para bajar por los toboganes de nieve del glaciar!!! Se agradecio la bajada de esa manera, aunque tampoco era tan facil, porque en algunos sitios te tenias que empujar a ti mismo. Los trozos que habia que andar eran tambien bastante dificiles. Como nos dijeron los guias, lo mas dificil es el descenso y la hazaña se celebra al llegar abajo, y no en la cumbre. Esta vez no fuimos en la silla, asi que tuvimos que andar unos metros extra. Estabamos cansados y ver el bus al fondo era frustrante, nunca llegabamos!!

Cuando finalmente llegamos e ibamos de vuelta a Pucon en el bus, oimos por la radio que el grupo de los rezagados tenia “un caso 5”, una de las chicas se habia hecho un esguince de rodilla al bajar! Todos llegaron sin mas problemas abajo, solo que un par de horas mas tarde!

El dia fue duro pero tambien divertido y estamos muy, muy orgullosos de haberlo conseguido, gracias a nuestro esfuerzo y a los fantasticos guias que nos acompañaron.

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