How do you climb the Villarrica volcano? The answer is: one step at a time, with instruction from professional guides who showed us how to use our ice picks to support our steady advance up the wet snow trail. The way up requires good knees, as well as a significant amount of sweat and patience, although no technical knowledge. At the summit, the volcano decides how long you get to stay – in our case, we had only just changed into our windproof gear before a cloud engulfed the view, and the wind began to send noxious gases our way. Our guides rounded us up and started us on our exhilarating descent, swiftly gliding on small plastic sleds down a snowy trail almost all the way to the bottom. After all our efforts to reach the top we would have liked to linger, but nature spoke, and this time we really had to listen.
Next up: Crunch time