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The Osorno Volcano is the perfect icon of the Lake District in Chile. With green slopes and snowcovered summits, visitors should get close in order to admire its grandeur.
|Its figure ideally synthesizes what a volcano is. Its unique colors, as well as its slopes and a summit that remains covered with white, unspoilt snow almost 365 days a year.|
Standing almost 60 kilometers to the Northwest of Puerto Varas, it reaches a height of 2,661 meters above sea level. Its great height makes it visible from every point in the district of Osorno, even in some places on Chiloé Island. Therefore, it represents an impressive and typical postcard of the region. With its classical blackish dark green color and ornamented with arms of eternal snow, its presence attracts the thousands of tourists who visit it every year. Looking at its summit is mesmerizing and it is the destination for various climbing excursions.
The volcano may be ascended from Puerto Kloker, Ensenada and Petrohué. Ascents take approximately 6 hours and, in most cases, groups are organized to climb in the company of a local guide. It is advisable to wear thermic clothes, sunglasses, sun protection, water and, of course, comfortable climbing footwear.
|The forest that protects its slopes lodges a wide range of remarkable species and it benefits from the plentiful rainfalls recorded all through the year. The first stretch of the circuit (located between two hundred and one thousand meters above sea level) is dwelled by coihues and lengas. Above the eight hundred meters, the most ancient species in the forest can be found: the Andean birch. It is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old and today is protected by regulations on endangered species, though sometimes they are not fully respected.|
As for the fauna, the pudú, the chingue (Patagonian skunk), the culpeo (Patagonian fox), the quique (a kind of ferret) and the puma may be observed. The long-muzzled weasel, the huet-huet, the hummingbird, the kestrel, the tit-tyrant and woodpeckers of all sizes and multiple varieties take shelter in the humid forests.
|It is not up to the 2,000 meters of height that the snow settles down and blueish cracks may be observed on the southeastern slope. This stretch has strongly encourged mountaineering and trekking activities. Every year, sportsmen practicing various activities come along to hit the summit of this beautiful and ancient volcano.|
from Puerto Varas, the volcano is accessed from the center, after 60 kilometers.
from sunrise to sunset.
to be arranged with the hired guide.
if climbers do not have certificated mountaineering experience, it is advisable that they organize a climbing group led by an experienced mountain guide. Going up on their own may be dangerous if they are not familiar with the elementary codes of life in the mountain.
|“This ascension presents medium difficulty. In the last five hundred meters, the slope becomes remarkably steeper. In order to ascend, it is necessary to be equipped with crampons, boots and appropriate clothing. Also, harness, helmet, carabiners and ropes are part of the equipment generally provided by operators organizing this kind of excursions”.|
Pablo Etchevers- Journalist