Eruption of Volcán UbinasExerpt from message board (more details will be added to the trip report):
We´re back from Ubinas. We only made basecamp. Last night was about the longest night of my life. No sleep.
Anyway, we made basecamp at around 2pm in a raging snowstorm with thunder. It was snowing hard, sometimes in blizzard conditions so we just had to sit in the tent the whole time. Had to shake the tent off several times to shed the snow. It finally stopped snowing at 11pm under a star filled sky.
More "thunder" at 2 am. It was noticed that there was a layer of dirt over the snow around the tent. I thought the wind must have blown it there since it was strong at times. More thunder and a strong smell at 2:30 am that made us all sick. It finally occured to me what was going on. I don´t know why it didn´t dawn on me before until the smell hit us. This was no thunder nor blowing dirt. The volcano was erupting. Ash was falling from the sky. The fumes made us all sick and Kessler vomitted several times. I went outside to find a layer of ash over everything including the new snow. It was definately falling from the sky. It stung the eyes and filled nostrils, ears, etc. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do. The way off the mountain couldn´t be found in the dark with all the new snow and new ash all over. I hreard the truck have trouble starting and then it was parked a bit down hill. We had to wait until it got light. Luckily it begins to get light at 4:30. We secured every nook in the tent as good as we could to keep the ash out.
As soon as it began to get light we began to pack up to get the (fill in the blank) out of there. Kessler was still sick and I covered him with everything I could to filter out any ash and fumes.
Like everthing else, the truck was covered with ash. We haphazardly threw everything in (includeing Kessler whom I hurried and carried) and got out of there. As we were leaving we saw the eruptuion from a safe distance.
There were still some positive things about this long and no fun night. I guess we have to look at the bright side.
1. Other than getting sick from the fumes, no one got injured in any way nor were there any other mishaps.
2. While packing up, I still managed to shoot the whole thing on film (still camera). We should have some amazing photos as we were only 500 meters (1600 feet) below the crater rim. We got photos of the ash covered tentsw and truck with the exploding volcano behind. We were very close to the eruption. Since the sun wasn´t up yet, they will be only fair to good quality, but I was going to hang around for better lighting. I also got several good photos with good lighting from a distance.
3. Kessler is going to have one heck of a story to tell to his kindergarten class. Probably to his children and grand children as well.
Anyway, the volcano erupted while we were attempting to climb it. We spent several days acclimatizing on other mountains and in the Colca Canyon. See the trip report for more details.