Day 9: Volcán Irruputunku

Our quest to climb all the volcanos in Bolivia continues today! We started the morning with a quick breakfast and a two hour drive to Volcán Irruputunku. The volcano sits on the border of Bolivia and Chile. We had to pass through Bolivian a military checkpoint because part of the hike may technically have been on the Chile side. The Bolivian soldier was probably only gonna see two or three cars use this road today, so our visit gave him a reason to move the pile of rocks serving as the gate.

Ready and Abel

As we got closer to the volcano, we drove through the lava rock field that had queñoa trees throughout the landscape. This type of tree is able to live in dry conditions and high altitudes.

Volcán Irruputunku is both large and active

We started the hike on the south face of the volcano, hiking up ~2,400 feet to an overlook of the caldera and sulfur fumarole. The first part of the trail was steep, but relatively easy to walk on. The next part was also steep, and became a bit more rocky as we got closer to the rim of the caldera. We kept on hiking to an overlook of the crater, then had just a little more to go.

Climbing into Mordor

Gradients and Chile

Navigating around the caldera

View from above

We made it up the final section and reached the top of the volcano! We took in the views and thanked Pachamama. We could clearly see the surrounding altiplano, the mountain we just hiked up, and the crater with the sulfur fumarole steaming in the very windy conditions.

Made it to the top!

I can’t believe I held onto this flag

For our descent, we took a slightly different path. Remembering our scree-skiing skills from Volcán Ascotán, we slid our way down the volcano, aiming towards the caldera, eventually getting a close up view of the fumarole.

Let’s go get a closer look at this active, smoking, sulfur volcano

Is this close enough?

Sulfur selfie

From there, we continued our rock slide shuffle until we met up with our original path. We continued until we reached the van in the same place we started.

Looking back at summit and fumarole

“Carefully” sliding down another volcano

Can you see our van lunch yet?

Waiting for us at the van was our celebratory lunch. We then drove back to the lodge, stopping once again at the military checkpoint. This time there were a couple more Bolivian soldiers with guns and the commandant who wanted to “meet us” (Abel and Oscar) to ensure we weren’t smuggling something or whatever. After returning to the lodge we had some time to relax and enjoy the views.

Driving back to Chicuta… I think I see a Bokoblin fort over there

Back to the lodge — backyard view

Back to the lodge — front yard view

2 Comments on “Day 9: Volcán Irruputunku”

  1. No doubt interesting, but it probably is better to not tell your parent(s) that you are leaving to go stand on the precipice of an active volcano!!! lol!! And it’s hard to grasp what size those ‘cacti’ are, but they remind me of the saguaros in the southwest. It will be hard to top this adventure!

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