After the annoying border crossing procedure at both customs on Paso Mamuil Malal we finally entered Chile with our sturdy little truck, fully loaded with gear and ski-eager passengers. We went straight to the Termas de los Pozones in order to get clean and be more welcomed in the Hostels of Pucón. After 3 hours of hanging out in the warm pools surrounded by lush green and a super chilly torrent we felt clean and refreshed enough to join the civilization again. On the way to Pucón one can’t avoid to catch a glimpse at this huge white, smoking cone that we already spotted from Lanín: Volcán Villarica, 2847m. A tempting target we didn’t want to miss out on.
After a down day with rain, it looked very promising with bluebird weather, little wind and a considerable amount of fresh snow. In best Russian company from Kamtchatka and Siberia (Thanks to Gregory & Masha!!!) we rushed to the base of Villarica Ski Resort at about 1200m. Instead of using the very old and even slower chair lifts we skinned straight from the base. Very soon we spotted some caterpillar-like looking black caravans slowly climbing up the slopes of the volcano. Ahhh the guided tourist groups we were told about! In no time we passed them and found ourselves on the more and more windy and completely untracked Volcano. The adjective „little“ in terms of wind on volcanoes may not be underestimated… Despite some fierce gusts and a detour caused by the unhealthy exhalation of the Villarica Volcano we made it in 3.5 hours to the smoking „summit“. Right, there is no summit in a traditional meaning so we climbed the highest bump on the edge of the crater. A quite unique experience but you should always consider the direction of the wind otherwise you could easily die of suffocation!
We nearly had no expectations about the descent on the wind-affected faces but it turned out as quite favorable. And finally the Southern Winter taught us a lesson about avalanche awareness as we triggered a considerable slab avalanche remotely. We decided not to follow the ascent route and instead a small valley with powdery snow, covered with a thin breakable layer of ice. The terrain was awesome with crests, chutes and small cliffs to air and stomp or crash… Back on the slopes of the ski area we were stoked about the summit and the line we explored completely unexpected. Not to mention that we had first lines from summit to the beer on the terrace of the restaurant while we were waiting for our Russian friends, who also made it to the summit. To give our readers a glimpse of the future, our next blog will be called „Снег в Восточной“. But until then stay tuned for more epic stories from the South!