Tungurahua in sound and fury


grafik_inca grafik_inca Tungurahua ( Quechua: tunguri=gullet, rahua=burn, spit fire), an active volcanoe of 5016 m, southeast of Ambato at the eastern slopes of the Andes of Ecuador towering above the Amazon region (topografical map of Ecuador ).
In spring 2003 the activity of the Tungurahua experienced temporarily a maximum. Eruptions, lava output and a continual smoke column were seen and heard. The ash precipitation evoked serious concerns, large parts of the harvest of many Campesinos was spoiled. Likewise children in the valley got breathing difficulties. An evacuation was planned, but was not carried out this time, in contrast to the one two years before. A few days later the activity diminished.



Mama Tungurahua as seen from Illuchi Alto in the north.


Baños, gate to the rain forest, at the foot of the volcano Tungurahua.


The ascent to the Refugio is damp but beautiful.


In the abandoned Refugio. Mama Tungurahua in rage.


The ascent to the summit is easy to find: Always look at the top of the cone and the smoke. A lonely way, no one else is on the way. The fresh ash layer makes walking strenuous. The black color of the cone is deceptive: Near the summit you find under ashes white snow. Only directly at the crater the volcanic heat is noticeable and so strong that all the ice has been thawed away.


Directly at the crater then only smoke. The eyes burn, the hair stands on end, crunching sand between the teeth and. breathing works only, if the wind stands favorably. Again and again explosions in the crater and the following noise of the back-sizzling stones. If the explosions become so strong that the stones are thrown beyond the crater rim, it's high time to head for the valley. In contrast to the ascent, the descent is not completely obvious. One should have a look back repeatedly during the ascent, possibly leave some markings.

At the same time toward the east fantastic views open to the seemingly endless forests of the Amazon basin. Later again, down in Baños, a few passing tourist turn up their noses at my strange smell.

grafik_inca grafik_inca

The Inka narration to the constant hissing and spitting of Mama Tungurahua and its rugged, strongly eroded neighbouring volcano El altar is the following: Taita Chimborazo and Mama Tungurahua were married, but Mama Tungurahua started to flirt with its dashing neighbour El altar. Taita Chimborazo struck once angrily with his fist on El altar, which thereby fell apart completely and since that time Mama Tungurahua, in rage over the humiliation of her lover, spits smoke and fire...



----------------------------------------------- With a paraglider above the Inca roads -----------------------------------------------