If you drop your keys...

...in a river of molten lava, let 'em go, cause man, they're gone!

I climbed Volcano Pacaya with my sister, Saison a couple weeks ago. The hike lasted 2 hours to cover 4 kms (2.5 miles). The vertical increase was 800 m (about 2600 feet), the last 400 m was very steep and over volcanic ash.

For half of the hike, there were boys and men with horses antagonizing the people at the back of our 45 adventurer group. They basically intermittently shouted "Taxi!" or "Horse" as you struggled for your breath. Clever. I think almost every horse was rented. I used my feet.

It was quite a team effort some people to make it to the summit of this active volcano (1 of 3 in Guatemala). One 10 year old Danish boy made it up in sandals while a retired Qu├ębecoise struggled a few steps behind him. One of our guides has climbed this volcano over 2000 times.

An actual river of molten lava was present flowing from a smoldering sulphur heap. All this, a stones throw from where we tourists were allowed to stand and take photos. Nothing really prevented us from actually rushing down to the river to take a dip, aside from common sense I suppose.

Pacaya displayed some fireworks as we stood 15 m from the recently formed crater. In some of the debris it spewed, you could see the red. The smell of the volcano reminded me of my unventilated chemistry lab in Montreal - dropping pieces of magnesium in hydrochloric acid - burns the inside of your nose quite effectively.


Kevininspace said...

Wow! Sounds amazing! Love the pictures. You got any more on flickr?

Sirdar said...

That climb must have been awesome!! You can tell the difference between Guatemala and Canada. If there were a volcano that even hinted at being active "they" probably wouldn't let you within 10 kms of it. To be on a live volcano would be quite the memory. If you do have more pics somewhere post where they are.

Zaak said...

It was great experience. I posted some photos on my website: go to page 8 of the most spring 2006 photos page.