The Villarrica volcano (2.847mt / 9343 ft) or RukaPillan (house of spirits) in Mapudungun (the ancestral language of the mapuche people) is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile. Volcán Villarrica is the most iconic, quintessential peak in Chile. It's the type of mountain kids draw when you ask them to draw a volcano – including the puff of smoke coming from the summit. It's true that Villarrica is the most climbed peak in South America. It's not a place to go to be alone. But it is still extremely worthwhile. Most people are climbing the peak with no intention of skiing. As skiers, we can climb slightly away from the crowds and we certainly don't descend the standard route.
The ascent to the top is a little more than 5000 vertical feet. The first 3/5ths are usually done with skins on a consistent pitch. From a prominent rock known as the White Rock some sort of technical tool like ski crampons or boot crampons is usually needed. It's not particularly steep, but the wind rips through here and the snow tends to be firm, especially in the morning.
The summit of Villarrica is an active crater. There is commonly smoke billowing from the crater. The last years , lava was present, often bubbling up and splashing against the walls where you can feel the great power of mother nature and share these unique moments in an incredibly beautiful environment surrounded by mountains and snowy volcanoes with small lakes at the foot surrounded by the dense forest that exists in this corner of the world.
VILLARICA SUMMIT DAY • 9,341' | 2,847
Like other volcanoes, our climb on Villarrica starts from the base of a small ski area , this one called Ski Pucon , by this point we’re starting to get in the groove of these summit days. We skin half to two-thirds of the way to the summit before a possible transitioning to boot crampons. The 5,000’ vertical foot climb to the summit of Villarrica takes about 5 hours. In good conditions, the descent back to the parking lot takes 25 minutes!
The most common description of the skiing on Villarrica: Perfect! The corn snow can be sublime. I have had multiple clients fall to the ground in tears at the bottom of the run. It is steep enough to be fun and the snow is creamy allowing us to ski fast. It's a long run and the bottom has interesting terrain.
The town of Pucón is the perfect place to hang after a day of shredding a big, iconic peak. There are hot springs, fantastic restaurants, discos and comfy hotels all waiting to help celebrate your big day.