So, on [insert date] I went with Rachel, Eadie, Sahar and Chiara to climb the active volcano Villarrica, located in the 9th region of Chile. I really wasn’t prepared for the volcano climb, the biggest hill I’ve climbed being the one on Coll which is about 100m high. The summit of Villarrica is 1400m! I thought it’d be like a long country walk, I didn’t really think about the ice, snow, steepness, rocks or anything. I also imagined that when (if) we reached the summit that when we looked down into the crater, it would be full of thick orange lava, ready to burst out at any minute. I thought it’d be freezing walking up, because of the snow, but then I thought that at the top it would be roasting hot cos of the lava.
How wrong was I? Haha
We arrived as far as the road went in a minibus, and looked up at the summit, and it looked really far, but not that far. I was ready for the challenge, although when the guide said it would take us 4-5 hours to get up I was a bit shocked.
We decided to take the cable car up the first bit, cos the guides recommended it, saying we’d need strength to reach the top.
We started walking up, seeing other groups up ahead of us, and also a group behind us, which quickly caught up with us and took over. We got to the first break stop and I was so tired! Because I thought it’d be cold, I was wearing 6 tshirts, a hoody and a coat, so I had to start taking off some of my layers.
And the adventure carried on, us slowly waking up, with pickaxes to help our balance, stopping for breaks, me taking off layers, eating manjar sandwiches and listening to Daddy Yankee for some inspiration to get to the top.
Eventually we reached the top, and much to my disappointment there was no bubbling lava, only some clouds of smoke, and a sulphur smell. The views were really good, we could see the lake, the little town of Pucon, and also other volcanoes, Llaima and Sierra Nevada. The day was really clear and we were really lucky with the weather.
Then, to get down we had to slide down on plastic seats and slide down the snow, using the pickaxe as a brake, which didn’t work very well. I don’t particularly like speed, falling, snow, and being out of control of my own body. This activity involved all of the above, and I was scared and didn’t like it.
Then when the snow ran out, we had to walk down on the rocks, which was equally as scary. I fell down so many times, once falling onto a bigass rock on my bum/spine bone, which hurt. Then I was a bit shook up, so the rest of the descent I held the guide’s hand, so if we fell, we’d fall together.
I was so proud of myself though, when I got up and down in one piece. When I got down to the bottom and looked up at what I’d just climbed it was a real sense of achievement. I was super tired, and wanted a Mars bar to celebrate.