Homo ludens andinensis

My first desire to climb mountains arose through photography. From a great altitude you have a great view! So, when I got my first camera, I started climbing hills and peaks, and ever since then mountain climbing and photography have come paired to me. Later on, when I started playing with radios, building radios, trying radios, testing radios and using radios, in short, being a full and declared radio amateur, I started climbing mountains for the sake of getting altitude for better radio coverage. Not only on VHF and above, but even on HF a few thousand meters altitude help!  And mountains are plentiful here in Chile, it's just a matter of climbing them!

Later, in my university years, I joined the university's mountaineering group, and got some formal training there. I picked up the technical things quite well, but physically I wasn't as strong as most. So I had to make up with technique what I lacked in sheer muscle power. It worked out quite well.

Nowadays I'm not in any organized mountaineering group, but I still go climbing. Sometimes with two or three friends, and at other times I do solo trips. Those are the ones I enjoy most. Being alone with Mother Nature, aware that no one is anywhere close, knowing that you and only you can now care for yourself, is a great feeling. There are times when I just need to be alone, safe from anyone's intruding closeness. At such times I retreat into my beloved mountains.

Chile is blessed with over 50 active volcanos, many more that are extinct, and 4000 km of the western (steeper) side of the Andes mountain chain. We have the tallest active volcano in the world (the Ojos del Salado, shared with Argentina) and several other such records. No place in Chile is farther away than 300 km from large and beautiful mountains, and by far most of the country is much closer to them. There is such an amount of mountain land to roam that no lifetime is long enough to see it all. Nevertheless most Chileans have never climbed any mountain, and many have never seen a snowflake in their lifes!  So much better for those who love nature, and find it in pristine condition here in the Chilean Andes.

I have put together some photos and stories about a few of the mountains I have visited. Be welcome to read them, enjoy them, and if you feel so, drop me a note about them.

The Antuco volcano and the Sierra Velluda: This is the place where I did my first mountaineering trips.

The Chillán massif: An active volcano, an extinct volcano and a non-volcanic mountain make up this system. Most of my training happened here, and I have climbed both volcanos in a single solo trip.

Cerro Plomo: A weather-frustrated try at the 5430 meter high mountain famous for the Inca mummies found there.

The Llaima volcano: A solo trip to this highly active volcano, which is not above throwing stones to keep visitors away!

The Villarica volcano: One of Chile's most active volcanos. I have climbed it three times, and one time I climbed down into the fuming crater!

The Lonquimay volcano: I climbed it once in mid winter, and twice in summer. And then this volcano, thought to be extinct, exploded and gave an impressive show!

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