Article
Challenge
Thanks!
Challenge us!
1





We met our guide in the refuge of this day, that will climb with us the 1500m descent until the top. The agence said we have 7-8 hours of ascent. We decided to see the sunrise at the summit. Then we had to start at midnight instead of 3am. This decision was motivated by the beauty of this phenomenon, the adventure's spirit and the will to do something different.

2


Preparation


We had almost no equipment to struggle against the strong cold... Where are gloves, scarf, hot socks? Only Tom was owning these protections. We had to be satisfied of our 4 layers of clothes, socks on hands, cover around the head to protect ears, sheet around the neck and two pairs of socks. Fully muffled, we could hardly move our head but were ready to face the cold!

3



Wake

After a 2 hours nap, we got up at 11:30pm. An infusion of coca (see the article 25) has been prepared to help us struggle against the tiredness and the altitude. the atmosphere was confined and the perspective of hazard and difficulties was a bit compensated by the excitement.

4



At the foot of the volcano

Finally the guide arrived, with a colleague to assist him. We all entered the jeep where the atmosphere got warm fast. We opened then the windows to get it colder: we didn't want to get used to the warmth. Around 0:30am, we arrived at the bottom of the volcano. The excitement was taking us awake whereas the guide was giving the last instructions: "stay in line; if anyone has a headache, report it; don't let the altitude dominate yourself! "

5



Starting

We started at 4500m of altitude. Our muscles were waiting for the effort. Lamp on the front, everyone was lighting up his own steps climbing the thousands of stones. We couldn't see anything else that the more and more abrupt trail. Three of us were not used to the altitude: the effort was making our heart to beat at an unbridled rhythm. To regulate it, we had to breath with long inspirations: our lungs had to be empty then full. If ever we forgot to breath for a little while, the lack of air would stop us immediately!

6





First break after 45 minutes. Everyone was alright but the cadence was too intense. We removed some clothes to cool down and we continued at a unbearable slow rhythm which was necessary for the success of the ascent.
Hundreds of meters later, the cold has intensified so we dressed ourselves up again. Still protected from the wind, we drank drops of coca infusion. Pierre, feeling the altitude sickness, was needing the most this beverage. The batteries of Roy's lamp failed and he had to continued following the torch of the others.

7





The ascent got harder. We were at around 5500m. The merciless cold wind was attacking our sens, fingers, checks and nose. Each step was increasing our breathlessness. We were stopping every 10 minutes to take back our breath. However couldn't stay static too long because of the cold. Sometimes we were getting off our scarf to breath more easily. The water inside the bag was freezing...
Then we saw the sky far away at East was getting bright. The blue rays let us discover the shape of the neighbouring picks.

8



Separation

A bit higher, the group split after a longer break. Roy had a lot of difficulties. Pierre and the guide waited a bit more to rest. Tom went forward with Victor. I followed them, with the guy helping of the guide. My will was strong however the altitude was forcing me to take breaks every 20 meters. The guide was following me with a disconcerting ease.

9





We were close to the top. The evolution of the aurora was continuing. We have admired its colours and now, with the illuminated sky, we were able to see the path. We were so cold. Suddenly the guide showed me the direction of the East. A red sun was dawning behind one of the summits around us. All the mountain were getting alive around me and the color of rocks had passed from cold grey to warming yellow. I felt a wave of pleasure and warmth when its rays stroke my face. It was 5:30am and the end was close. Let's finish it!
We overtook Victor. The infinite mass of debris was over, only big rocks were staying on our way. Tom was not visible. Downwards Pierre hooked on the ordeal with an unstoppable will to reach his goal, up there.

10





Soon the slope got easier and we could oversee, 50m higher, this typical pile of rocks : the summit. Energized by adrenaline, after enduring a short break, I finally put my last step and reached the top! Happiness and joy took control of me. In front was standing the crater containing a frozen lake. Further I could see Tom that undertook the tour of it to see better the desert of Atacama. It was 6:15. Tom had arrived 25min ago and arrived Pierre 20min after me. In spite of the sun, the cold was terrible up there, bitting. W e uncapped the whisky to savour our reward, without forgetting to feed Pachamama, the Andean goddess of the Earth, with a drop of it.

11





From the top, a huge panorama was dressing. We saw at the feet of the volcano the laguna Verde and Blanca. The sun was finally turning yellow the whole set of mountains but was not warming us a lot.

12





A small wall of stones was offering us a basic protection against the wind. Waiting for the last of us, I was talking with the guide. We were on the highest point of the region and the view was incomparable.

13





We signed the registry hidden inside the pile of rock, attesting our presence here, then immortalised the scene. At the moment to go down, Roy appeared with the guide. All of us did it!

14





The downward slope was special. A huge slide of little stones was laying from the top to almost the foot of the volcano. With one step, we were able to go down for 1 meter of slope thanks to the pebbles rolling under our shoes. We were surfing on the stone waves and running a long distance in a short time. This exercise was exhausting but the adrenaline was keeping the muscle alerted.
Good things always have an end. Bigger rocks replaced small pebbles. Surfing became dangerous. We had to walk down the 500 last meters.

15





Suffering the tiredness and feet bulb, the arrival to the car was a blessing. Our body was suffering and our mind getting asleep. Tom, full of energy, just finished a supplementary tour, to get the view. While most of us were sleeping, Victor had to drive half an hour to the refuge, charge the car and bring us to Aguas Calientes. While we were stretching our muscles in the excessively warm water, he could finally rest.

1





We met our guide in the refuge of this day, that will climb with us the 1500m descent until the top. The agence said we have 7-8 hours of ascent. We decided to see the sunrise at the summit. Then we had to start at midnight instead of 3am. This decision was motivated by the beauty of this phenomenon, the adventure's spirit and the will to do something different.


Preparation


We had almost no equipment to struggle against the strong cold... Where are gloves, scarf, hot socks? Only Tom was owning these protections. We had to be satisfied of our 4 layers of clothes, socks on hands, cover around the head to protect ears, sheet around the neck and two pairs of socks. Fully muffled, we could hardly move our head but were ready to face the cold!



Wake

After a 2 hours nap, we got up at 11:30pm. An infusion of coca (see the article 25) has been prepared to help us struggle against the tiredness and the altitude. the atmosphere was confined and the perspective of hazard and difficulties was a bit compensated by the excitement.



At the foot of the volcano

Finally the guide arrived, with a colleague to assist him. We all entered the jeep where the atmosphere got warm fast. We opened then the windows to get it colder: we didn't want to get used to the warmth. Around 0:30am, we arrived at the bottom of the volcano. The excitement was taking us awake whereas the guide was giving the last instructions: "stay in line; if anyone has a headache, report it; don't let the altitude dominate yourself! "



Starting

We started at 4500m of altitude. Our muscles were waiting for the effort. Lamp on the front, everyone was lighting up his own steps climbing the thousands of stones. We couldn't see anything else that the more and more abrupt trail. Three of us were not used to the altitude: the effort was making our heart to beat at an unbridled rhythm. To regulate it, we had to breath with long inspirations: our lungs had to be empty then full. If ever we forgot to breath for a little while, the lack of air would stop us immediately!





First break after 45 minutes. Everyone was alright but the cadence was too intense. We removed some clothes to cool down and we continued at a unbearable slow rhythm which was necessary for the success of the ascent.
Hundreds of meters later, the cold has intensified so we dressed ourselves up again. Still protected from the wind, we drank drops of coca infusion. Pierre, feeling the altitude sickness, was needing the most this beverage. The batteries of Roy's lamp failed and he had to continued following the torch of the others.





The ascent got harder. We were at around 5500m. The merciless cold wind was attacking our sens, fingers, checks and nose. Each step was increasing our breathlessness. We were stopping every 10 minutes to take back our breath. However couldn't stay static too long because of the cold. Sometimes we were getting off our scarf to breath more easily. The water inside the bag was freezing...
Then we saw the sky far away at East was getting bright. The blue rays let us discover the shape of the neighbouring picks.



Separation

A bit higher, the group split after a longer break. Roy had a lot of difficulties. Pierre and the guide waited a bit more to rest. Tom went forward with Victor. I followed them, with the guy helping of the guide. My will was strong however the altitude was forcing me to take breaks every 20 meters. The guide was following me with a disconcerting ease.





We were close to the top. The evolution of the aurora was continuing. We have admired its colours and now, with the illuminated sky, we were able to see the path. We were so cold. Suddenly the guide showed me the direction of the East. A red sun was dawning behind one of the summits around us. All the mountain were getting alive around me and the color of rocks had passed from cold grey to warming yellow. I felt a wave of pleasure and warmth when its rays stroke my face. It was 5:30am and the end was close. Let's finish it!
We overtook Victor. The infinite mass of debris was over, only big rocks were staying on our way. Tom was not visible. Downwards Pierre hooked on the ordeal with an unstoppable will to reach his goal, up there.





Soon the slope got easier and we could oversee, 50m higher, this typical pile of rocks : the summit. Energized by adrenaline, after enduring a short break, I finally put my last step and reached the top! Happiness and joy took control of me. In front was standing the crater containing a frozen lake. Further I could see Tom that undertook the tour of it to see better the desert of Atacama. It was 6:15. Tom had arrived 25min ago and arrived Pierre 20min after me. In spite of the sun, the cold was terrible up there, bitting. W e uncapped the whisky to savour our reward, without forgetting to feed Pachamama, the Andean goddess of the Earth, with a drop of it.





From the top, a huge panorama was dressing. We saw at the feet of the volcano the laguna Verde and Blanca. The sun was finally turning yellow the whole set of mountains but was not warming us a lot.





A small wall of stones was offering us a basic protection against the wind. Waiting for the last of us, I was talking with the guide. We were on the highest point of the region and the view was incomparable.





We signed the registry hidden inside the pile of rock, attesting our presence here, then immortalised the scene. At the moment to go down, Roy appeared with the guide. All of us did it!





The downward slope was special. A huge slide of little stones was laying from the top to almost the foot of the volcano. With one step, we were able to go down for 1 meter of slope thanks to the pebbles rolling under our shoes. We were surfing on the stone waves and running a long distance in a short time. This exercise was exhausting but the adrenaline was keeping the muscle alerted.
Good things always have an end. Bigger rocks replaced small pebbles. Surfing became dangerous. We had to walk down the 500 last meters.





Suffering the tiredness and feet bulb, the arrival to the car was a blessing. Our body was suffering and our mind getting asleep. Tom, full of energy, just finished a supplementary tour, to get the view. While most of us were sleeping, Victor had to drive half an hour to the refuge, charge the car and bring us to Aguas Calientes. While we were stretching our muscles in the excessively warm water, he could finally rest.

.