In my long-winded story about my beginnings as a radio amateur, on the
homo ludens radioactivus page, you will find more photos of this trip.
One day I took the opportunity to come to Antuco on a single-day trip, with the secret intention of finally climbing the volcano right to the crater. But when we arrived at the ski center, it was snowing... With little visibility and a thick cover of powder snow, there was no hope to make the volcano. So I joined a rather huge group of hobby climbers who were trying the smaller mountain on the other side of the Laja lake. When the snow is so soft, it's a real advantage to be the last in the row! I got the most trampled snow, so I could walk up with much less effort than those at the top!
By the way, the red-clothed guy is Claudio Zehnder, a classmate with
whom I have done a lot of trips, both during my school time and later.
Here's the view straight up the mountain. The weather was slowly improving, but it was very windy. The large accumulated snow mass posed some risk of avalanches, so we had to be careful. At one time indeed an avalanche came down, fortunately not too close to us.
As we approached the summit, the weather kept improving. The sun started looking through the clouds at some times, which gave us new energy to go on climbing this exhausting route. So we made the summit at a very reasonable time, getting an hour or even more to stroll around and shoot some pictures.
This is one of the arms of the Laja lake. It was rather well filled this year. I have never again seen it with as much water. The huge electric generation plants that draw water from this lake have since kept it at a very much lower level.
Claudio was always our clown. Here he demonstrates in a convincing way that he was tired from the trip! He also shows us the softness of this snow. But please be warned: Lying down to relax in the snow, when you are exhausted, is EXTREMELY dangerous! The cold feeling has a relaxing effect on the body, and before you can fend it off, you fall asleep! Then you drift into unconsciousness, and death. Many mountaineers have died this way. It's a sweet death, they say, as it doesn't hurt a bit. But still you should not try it. We pulled Claudio out of his snow bed before he had a chance to fall asleep.
I have done many more trips to the Antuco, alone and with company. But
I have yet to climb it fully! I have been close many times, but not right
on the top. It seems that I will need a two-day trip to do it.
And as a beautiful end to this little story, here is a closer view of the Sierra Velluda. It's a mountain I have yet to try. Getting to its main summit requires considerable rock climbing practice.