It was an early start. Even though I made a decision not to make the climb to the top of Volcan Villarrica I still got up with the birds (and the neighbors rooster) to send them, Xander and Bob, on their way.
Not for the faint of heart or the unfit they had to be at Summit Chile headquarters at 6:30 am to begin the van journey to the volcano. They take 12 climbers and each person is provided with:
- proper boots
- snow pants
- gas mask (for the gas as you peer into the active volcano's plume)
- back pack
- and a slidy disc for sliding DOWN the volcano once you've made it to the top.
You were responsible for:
- 3 layers of clothing - shirt (not cotton), sweater and wind jacket.
- pants (not shorts)
- 1.5 litres minimum of water
- food snacks - the guide stressed it was not a lunch and there were no lunch breaks or picnics to be had, but nuts, fruit, chocolate "snacks" were to be eaten along the trail.
- sun glasses - a must - you didn't get out of the van without them.
The first part was scrambling over rock and lava from the volcano but as they got higher the rock yielded to snow. Their guide broke away from the group and took Xander and Bob up a slightly different path at a faster pace than the rest of the group. Upon reflection Xander thought that maybe that their guide, Juan, spotted a rock that he needed to get behind for some personal "business".
This took them from the usual, serpentine, path that was traversed over steep un-troddened snow that they had to forcibly stick their toe-picks into before taking a step. They survived and were among the first to get to the summit.
They weren't disappointed as they donned their gas masks to look into the molten lava of Volcan Villarrica.
Once at the top now was the fun part of coming back down. They took out their ice picks and slidy discs and made their way down from the top.
They were sun burnt and tired when then made it back home but I think it was a successful endeavor.