Posts Tagged ‘volcano Quetrupillan’

Through forest and over hills to the top of Quetrupillan Volcano

The sun is rising above the surrounding hills, some rays are just starting to reach the tips of the bamboo forest and the morning dew is sparkling. I’m standing there in silence, looking around and enjoying the beauty of nature…
This is not the beginning of one of countless novels, no, this is the beginning of my ascent to the Quetrupillan Volcano.
This beautiful and scenic place is about a one hour drive away from Pucón and after meeting at 6:30am at the Summit Chile agency, we arrived to the starting point of the trek around 8 a.m. In contrast to the Villarrica Volcano only a few groups have come today ascend this volcano. Why? I really don’t know. Maybe because at the first glance this sleeping volcano seems to be less spectacular than his active brother. And it’s true, the ascent is completely different – but wonderful!
As I mentioned in the beginning, the path led us through native bamboo and Coihue forest. Similar to the tour to the top of the Villarrica, we used gaiters – this time to protect our pants from getting snagged by some of the bushes or from collecting burs. One of our first challenges was to get over a huge tree trunk lying directly in our path. So we had to find a way through the bushes and tree branches, find a good place to climb and with a helping hand from our guide to get over this massive tree and only a few meters of balancing and then jumping down the other side – we did it!
We walked more or less three hours through this beautiful forest; hiking up, walking straight ahead, hiking up again… The sun was becoming stronger by the minute so we made a few stops to take off some layers. Three or four layers of clothing – this is really the best outfit for a hiking trip starting in the early morning!
Around 11.30 and after one last hill, we stepped out of the shadows of the woods into the blazing sun. From this point we had a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and the Quetrupillan Volcano. With this panorama in sight we took our first long break. Everybody could have lots of water, eat something light and of course put on some sunscreen. Okay, ready to continue the hike!
The path was now the complete opposite of the former one. We didn’t walk over small branches and soft ground any longer but over stones and rocks in the blazing sun. Easily one could underestimate the distances. The summit seemed to be so close, but when you had a closer look you could see some small ants climbing to the top. These small ants were members of another group that was in front of us. And when they seemed to be that small….. the summit must be very far away! The pace from our group slowed down with each meter we hiked up as everyone was getting tired. But our guides insisted to keep walking in the same pace – that should be easier than walking one part slow and another one fast again. And they were right. After some time we reached the first ice field. Because we walked with our own hiking boots and without crampons, everybody walked very slowly and conscientiously, trying to walk in the same footprints as the person in front. After crossing the last ice field we made another break before reaching the summit to recover and gather our last energy reserves.
At this point the ascent ended for me: one German group member was too tired to continue the hike. And because Summit Chile has a policy that nobody stays alone on the mountain, I was predestined as a German student to stay there with her. Of course it was a little sad because we were so close to the summit… But at the same time I had to admit that I was very exhausted too and so it was no problem for me to stay there. We searched for a nice place next to a big rock which was protected from the wind, put on all our clothes, sat down on the backpacks and enjoyed the great view. This panorama was really amazing, we could see the Villarrica Volcano with its grey side because of the smoke and all the other surrounding mountains. Until now I hadn’t realized how beautiful it was! So we sat there, talked about our lives in Chile, had some lunch and relaxed. What a nice break.
After the rest of the group finished their pause at the summit they started to descend and fetched us on the way down. Now I could see that everybody was really exhausted. The rocky underground was a little bit slippery and despite the fact that we had hiking poles some of the group members fell down on their butts – me included. Upon reaching the forest, we were once again protected from the sun by the trees and the going was a bit easier. While descending I asked myself “and where is this trunk we have to climb over?” Because I couldn’t remember that we had walked that far! The moment we reached it the next problem appeared: from this side it was more difficult to climb and our muscles were tired. In conclusion, the elegant and spirited jump from 8 hours earlier was now a graceless scramble … but everyone did it. Everyone except one person: One of our guides was curious about what is behind the trunk in the bushes so he went to investigate … and came out the other side. Ha! We hadn’t have to overcome this obstacle! But anyway, we are in an ancient forest and a toppled down trunk belongs there.
After approx. 10 hours we came back to our car and everybody was eager for the fresh and cold water coming out of a tap close to the parking lot.
At the end of the day an application on my phone told me that I had walked about 33,000 steps and 20 km. Reason enough for me to have a big serving of pasta for dinner!