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The Villarrica Volcano Hike totally kicked my ass

Villarrica Volcano, Pucon Chile

When in Pucón in Chile, you have to do the Villarrica Volcano Trek. There is just no way around it. You can literally see this active volcano from pretty much everywhere in town and the surrounding area. And you cannot visit this place without doing the most exciting and dangerous activity it has to offer. And you know - FOMO. Oh, and YOLO.

So there we were in Pucón, seeing this majestic active volcano that last erupted in 2015. Tour companies advertised day hikes for everyday, and the weather was looking good.

So we decided to get a few quotes from the agencies and ask a few questions about safety and difficulty and so on. TIP: it is pointless to ask if beginners can do this trek because you don't have to be a mountaineer, or have any climbing experience to do this. They give you all the equipment (notes about this later) and guide you along the way. What you do need however are quads, glutes and hamstrings of steel! Not steel wool like mine. Or be very fit and used to uphill hikes.

Anyway, after getting a few quotes, we went back to Monica's House where we stayed - it was awesome by the way - to discuss this matter further. You see, this hike is a 4 - 5 hour uphill climb over rocks, gravel and glaziers. And from experience, we both knew that I am not good with uphills. In Bolivia we brushed it off as the influence of altitude, but honestly, I was suffering with uphill climbs in general. I consulted a few blog posts on the matter, reports were contradictory, but many said it was hard!

I was worried, I truly doubted that I could actually do this. And what do I do if I am halfway up and I cannot continue etc etc.

Anyway, FOMO kicked in, personal motivation and determination kicked in I mean, you can do anything you set your mind to right? So it was decided. Many blogs suggested going with Chile Expeditions. We didn't get a quote from them but everyone says they are good, so off we went. They were more expensive than most places, but they were professionals. 95 000 pesos per person. You have to fit mountain climbing shoes, water- and windproof jackets and pants and sign your life away. You also get a backpack with all your gear in it. You have to take water and food with. Done! The owner's wife said you have to prepare yourself for a difficult climb, 50% physical, 50% mental preparation and determination.

We left 06:30 am in a small bus to the base of the Volcano. We were 5 people and two guides - the owner and an assistant.

Everyone suggested you take the ski-lift up if it is working for an extra 20 000 pesos as it saves you about an hour's walk. So we did it. Many people didn't, but whatever. I was happy with that. There are hundreds of tourists with different tour companies doing these hikes on the same day. So you're not alone.

The Hike

So, you start the hike about a 1/4 up the volcano. A steep uphill climb. We were informed that we will climb for about 45 minutes, before we rest, then starts the glacial walking with crampons. Po kept up with the professional guide and the o