Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Toluca volcano January 13

Looking east from the crater rim.  Toluca smog in the distance.
On our last full day in Mexico Alex, Will, and myself decided to hike the Toluca volcano rather than fly.  We had already arranged a driver so we were up at the parking lot by 9am; the ground was still frozen!

We had a nice hike on the south-facing slopes of the crater rim (the north slopes are full of snow) and then Alex and Will visited the crater lake.  Skies were extremely blue and all the pollution from Toluca, Valle, and Mexico City was below us.

As we descended back to the parking lot it was a steady stream of people hiking up to enjoy the rare snow + no clouds + visibility.  Entire families, some wearing entirely inappropriate clothing for the volcano (!) were heading up to play in the snow and take photos...I guess Toluca proper doesn't get much snow!

Crater lakes, facing SE.
Meanwhile back in Valle it was pretty average conditions, climbs to 3200m reported by Al and Andrew, who flew to Divis before heading back to the lake.

Popocatépetl volcano on the horizon, facing east.
While watching the afternoon SIV course, I watched as a pilot full-stalled his EN-B glider, messed up the recovery (he let up on the brakes while the glider was behind him), and then fell past the slack lines.  A big cravatte ensued which came out right away during the resulting autorotation/SAT, but then it went into a full-on spiral dive.  Despite the instructor saying "throw your reserve" repeatedly, the pilot did nothing (possibly Gee-d out) and hit the lake, hard, while in a full spiral.

Heading up to the high point of the rim, facing west.
The recovery boat was right there and pulled him out and he was pretty unresponsive, possibly concussed.  But he was alive and moving so the ambulance crew showed up and took him to the hospital.  A scary thing to watch as water can be awfully hard when going in from that height and with that much force.





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