Volcan Osorno, Patagonia

Volcan Osorno is one of the most aesthetic volcanoes in Chile, often likened to Mount Fuji in Japan. As I think the photos included here will illustrate, it’s easy to see why. For me Osorno held another, more personal, significance. It was the first volcano that we skied in the Patagonian Lakes District. This meant that 14 months after starting our Panamerican journey we had officially arrived in Patagonia.

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I think my desire to travel to Patagonia can be traced back to one moment in 2010 at a surf festival in San Sebastian. I was backpacking around Europe at the time, and happened to be in town on the night of the screening of 180 Degrees South. This adventure film is about a man who repeats a trip to Patagonia undertaken by Yvon Chouinard and the late Doug Tompkins in the early 80’s. I sat on a beanbag on a warm summer night and watched the film projected on the outside wall of a building next to the seawall. Right then and there I fell hard for the mystical draw of the far south. I think that moment played a big part in leading to the inception of the idea to drive the Panamerican Highway.

Summiting Osorno was highly recommended by my friend Derek Field as offering one of the best views anywhere, but unfortunately upon arrival a CONAF officer (Chilean Park Ranger) informed us that that the peak would be closed until September. Apparently not satisfied with my answer of “Si Entinedo, que trieste”, he repeated himself three more times and then added that if we did try to climb it the police would be waiting for us when we came down.

Clearly summiting was off the menu, but we still had a lovely day touring on the lower slopes and I managed to snap some beauty shots of Jessa skiing powder with the lake in the background. It was a day that left me pinching myself. Holy shit, we actually made it. We drove to Patagonia!

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