As you could probably guess from the photos in my last post, all the snow in the mountains around Las Trancas had me practically salivating, wishing for a snowboard. Well, on the way down from Valle de Aguas Calientes, we met some skiers and a splitboarder, who told me of a place in town where I could rent a splitboard! Well, I got the board that evening, and the next morning we woke up at the break of dawn and started the long walk to Volcán Nevado, a 3212m (10,538 ft.) glaciated volcano – the tallest one around here. Read more about our big day below!
It took us over an hour just to walk from town to the end of the road, then another two hours scrambling through a frustrating lava flow full of jagged volcanic rock piles with soft snow in between. The first photo up top was taken after all that, more than one third of the way up the mountains already. This photo above shows the crater that we crossed over – with still another 1,000 feet to the summit!
Almost to the top! The neighboring Volcán Chillán Nuevo is behind.
Panoramic views from the summit ridge. A blanket of high overcast clouds, along with a constant chilly wind, kept the snow frozen and hard – good for hiking, bad for a snowboard descent. I wasn’t expecting good turns for the ride down.
We made it! Claudia surveys the views above the clouds from the summit of Volcán Nevado.
It took us nine hours to hike the 6,400 vertical feet from our cabaña in Las Trancas to the summit! Most of the locals would probably find that incredibly slow, but what can I say… it was a long slog.
Miraculously, soon after we reached the summit, the overcast cloud layer quickly moved away to the east, allowing the afternoon sun to quick-bake the snow. My hopes of a good descent were resurrected, and I waited atop the summit for another hour to give the snow time to soften up a bit and to give Claudia a head start since she had to walk back down.
Though the main glacier looked tempting, the enormous crevasses posed too much danger, so I rode the ridge line down about a thousand feet then did a quick climb up Piramide, the sharp sub peak visible on the left side of the top photo. From there I had a beautiful 2,500 ft. steep descent on perfectly soft spring corn snow! (Pardon my cheesy zoom crop above… I just had to show my line!)
There I am, super stoked to have had such an epic first ride of the season! All in all it was about a 4,000-foot total descent.
While we hiked back down the road through the lenga forest, the high clouds returned and we were treated to an incredible sunset show!
Now we’re relaxing in Las Trancas again, and it’s raining like crazy. (Just like I remember it when I was here in the winter 10 years ago with my buddy Mikel – raining buckets). Tomorrow we’ll catch the bus out of here and head down to Pucón for a while – for more volcanoes and hot springs – and lakes too!