If there's a better, a quicker, a crazier, or a more unbelievably fun way to get down a mountain, I'd be very surprised. From the summit of Volcán Villarrica this afternoon, it was back down the mountain feet first, on our bums! Nuh-uh, I ain't kidding: we put on our "nappies" (a protective kind of harness that we strapped around our waists and backsides), we sat on the steep and snowy slopes, and down we hurtled. Sure as hell beats walking all the way back down, and is arguably more fun even than skiing it! Check out a video of us going down.
Some dude bumsliding down the hill behind us.
Myself, Helen, Amy, and our guide Victor did this legend activity, along with almost everyone else who'd climbed to the top of the Volcano this morning. Bumsliding is fairly simple: you just sit down on the snow, feet-first — like you're going down a slippery slide — you hold your ice-axe in both hands, to use as a brake if necessary (although it doesn't really slow you down); and off you go.
There were about 10 little sections of the mountainside that we were able to bumslide down, in our descent of the volcano this afternoon. Each section was virtually a proper slippery slide: so many people slid down them everyday, that they were quite clearly-formed and smooth trails. Most of them were fairly short (less than 100m), and weren't particularly steep; although there was one near the start, that was really steep — we all kamikazed down that one, and most of us made it down without stacking too spectacularly.
Took a bit over an hour to do all the bumsliding, after which there was a bit of walking to get the rest of the way to the bottom. Once we arrived back in the ski resort area, we had an hour or so to kill, while we waited for several other groups to make it down (as we were sharing the minibus with them). The four of us relaxed, sipped a few stubbies of Chilean beers, and enjoyed the great view and the hip vibe that surrounded us.
In the aprés ski area at the bottom.
The other groups turned up eventually, and then it was time to get the chairlift (the same one that we took this morning) back down from the resort to the carpark. We hopped back in the minibus, shoved all our gear in with us, and whizzed back down the lakeside road to Pucón. When we got back to the Sierra Nevada office in town, I said my farewells to Helen and Amy, and that was about it for the day. Great fun, and a great volcano!