Yesterday we hiked up 2847 vertical metres of Chilean Volcano! This was most definitely the ‘stoutest hike’ (as Carson puts it) I have ever done! Equipped with crampons (which we didn’t actually end up using) and ice axes (which we most definitely did!) as well as a tonne of water and sun screen! The first 400 (vertical) metres was on dirt, volcanic ashy rocky dirt, which slid so much you took one step down for every three you took up! This was possibly the hardest part of the climb, as my ankle was in an immense amount of pain from the motion of the walk. Luckily, just as I was contemplating giving up, the dirt turned to snow, and the new motion of lifting and placing your feet so you don’t slide, meant my ankle was no longer hurting, and so, the real climb began!
We had rests every so often as we climbed, in the few flat-ish places permitting time to stop, take off your rucksack, eat a snack, drink as much water as possible, and re-apply sun block!
Resting on the flat
The climb was mostly consistently steep snow, although occasionally it got steeper (and icier), and we reached the false peak, after climbing up the steepest part yet! Just to see the real peak towering high above us, and the people already climbing, tiny dots on the volcano side!
up the Volcano side
We each had a guide, or a guide to two, and so Carson and I were together with a guide. This turned out to be an unfortunate mix, as being very tall, Carson has much longer legs than I do! This resulted in the guide (in-front of me) taking huge steps, and me trying to keep up and stay out of Carson (behind me)’s way, so I basically jogged with huge strides up the Volcano.
We did eventually make it to the top, and the view was honestly incredible. We could also see into the crater, although we couldn’t see far enough down to see the Lava, we could see the smoke coming out in wispy little clouds. We ate some lunch, and wandered around the sides of the crater to see the different views, before (after drinking more water and applying more suncream) we started the head back down.
Reaching the crater of the volcano
The volcano’s alive!
On top of the Volcano
View from the top!
Happy family at the top!
The first part of the down hill hike was a little sketchy, being the steepest part of the mountain. We had to dig our heels in, and take one step at a time down each icy footprint. Soon however, we got past the iciest part, and for pretty much the rest of the way down, we slid down on our butts. This was so much fun, and in places there was more than one track, and we had races down. I went super fast, since I was small, and I had a few moments where I lost control and ended up going down on my side… but I managed to sit back up and slide down!
When we got to the bottom we stretched out and put our stuff in the sun. We took off our soaking wet boots and got into the bus, before driving back for the Chilean asado.
About an hour after my wonderful hot shower, my legs started to ache. Shortly after they were aching so much that I was in quite a lot of pain. After I walked to get dinner they were aching so badly I was holding back tears just to walk to get something to eat. Eventually John went to get me some painkillers, and after dosing up, and then setting my alarm for 2am, I said goodnight to all the university kids at the asado, and went to bed.
My alarm woke me up and I took some more painkillers, before sleeping the rest of the night.
The moral of the story?
Don’t try to keep up with tall people when hiking a volcano… go your own pace!
P.S. Be careful when sliding down volcanoes with an ice axe in your hand… It’s easy to stab yourself in the leg!