The day could not be better for the climb. It was sunny and warm and not a cloud in the sky. There was 6 in our group plus 2 guides. We met at 6:30 at the Politour offices and geared up. Gaitors, crampons, Jacket and pant shells, gloves, helmet and sliding gear. Jammed that into a pack with 2 litres of water, a gatorade, large hersheys, and apple and a good hiking sandwich of avocado, onion, egg and salami.
** I forgot to mention that after the first rise we lost one person. She got pretty scared and it was impossible for her to go any further so the second guide took her down to the transportation. When it was over she was cool and gave everyone a big congratulatory hug.**
The top was underwhelming to say the least. The acidic smoke from the volcano was blowing in our faces and and choking us a bit...well alot. Our guide just said "follow me". We walked across the crater through the smoke in what can only be described as blind faith. We coughed and hacked our way to the south side of the volcano away from the wind and smoke and there is was, the view we wanted. It was photo time!
It was the usual "enjoy the moment" moment when our glorious guide yelled our new instructions. Take off the crampon and put on the rubber butt pouch thats in your backpack". Like lemmings we obeyed, no questions asked. We knew what was coming...kind of.
Ready to go our guide said just wait and got very quiet for about 45 seconds. I am pretty sure he was praying for a safe trip down. Pachamana you are the queen!
With some basic instruction on controlling our speed over the top we went, on our butts. There were chutes that looked like butt sized luge runs and we just jumped over. It was a bit hairy to realize you were butt surfing from the top of an active volcano and you got past that when you realized how freaking fast you were going. We used our pic axes as breaks along with our feet to control our speed. Like all good fun things, once you got the hang of it all was good. Now came the plastic butt tobogans that were for one reason only - INCREASED SPEED. Remember we are sliding down 2800 metres.
Of all the things I have done on this or any other trip, trekking Villarrica and then sliding back down goes right to the top of the list. It was challanging, a bit hairy at times and then crazy childlike fun. My only recommendation is make sure you go with a reputable company here in Pucon. There are 28 tour operators in town. I went with Poiltour who has been here longer than most.