The Dangers and Pleasures of Trekking Up Volcanoes

Volcanoes, active or not, are usually steep and rugged mountains that require strenuous trekking and climbing. For some touristy volcanoes, there may be convenient ways of going up, but the risk is still present.

Pleasures of Volcano Climbing

Vistas are stunning even before you start climbing. The surrounding areas are often dotted with lush greeneries because the soil is fertile due to the lava and ashes coming from volcanoes. Plus, civilization is restricted several kilometers around volcanoes, and this allows for flora and fauna in the area to flourish uninterrupted.

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Despite the strong sulfur odor, lava fountains, geysers and rising smoke are overwhelming to see. They are incredibly beautiful in that they aren’t usual sights. Millions of people visit active volcanoes just to have a look at lava and smoke excreted now and then. Geysers are a sight to behold, too, and they’re often located in areas near active volcanoes.

Hot springs and volcanic mud baths are tourist destinations in themselves. People take baths in these places for their therapeutic effects. They are quite soothing, nourishing and cleansing, too. In addition, there’s often a waterfall or river

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Dangers of Volcano Climbing

The path to the crater can be extremely difficult. Some even require professional climbing or mountaineering gear and skills. Others have established trails but the perils of sliding down the steep, often rugged paths can’t be totally eliminated.

Volcanoes release toxic gases that are fatal when inhaled. In Kilauea, two bodies were found inland in the eruption site, but they were not killed due to the lava explosions but due to inhalation of hydrochloric acid.

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Acid rain is at high levels near active volcanoes. It is very dangerous to living organisms. Lava haze or laze is also very dangerous. It limits vision, especially when walking perilous paths.

Some volcanoes have lakes that pose another risk – drowning. Then there’s the risk of getting caught in bad weather while in high altitude. Weather in the mountains can be very erratic – it can go from sunny weather one minute to stormy one the next with very little time to prepare or take shelter.

And there’s always the danger of meeting wild and dangerous animals in the area. People can’t take the risks of the wilderness for granted, as it could mean life and death.

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Photos by: ShaylorRob HursonSchristia and Turner

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