John returned to the summit of the Lanín volcano, after 50 years, and captured it from the sky

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El volcán Lanín tiene 3.776 metros de altura, y hacer cumbre es una experiencia que no se olvida. Fotos y videos: John Bell Thompson.

Appreciate the summit of the Lanín volcano from a plane, 50 years after climbing on foot, it was for John Bell Thompson, a beautiful experience to share. With his friend they recorded a unique landscape of lakes and mountains and he thought it would be nice for many people to see it. It was for this reason that he put it to music, uploaded it to the networks and the lovers of Patagonia thanked him with millions of likes that moment of beauty that left flying.

John answers the phone from the mountain range and says that he lives a bit in San Martín de los Andes and a bit in the United States. His grandparents were settlers in Patagonia in 1880 and he grew up in San Martín. There he spent the summers. “In 1962 the situation in Argentina was bad, and I left. I lived in Europe, in Portugal, England, the United States. There I did my postgraduate course in surgery. I am a retired cardiovascular surgeon and I spent the rest of my life there, although I always come back, ”he says to begin while recalling the long history of his family, who came to these lands from England during the war.

Today, his daughter lives in San Martín, he has a house that he rents in the winter season to those who come for tourism and those are some of the great reasons why he returns all the time. He remembers when the town had only about 1,500 inhabitants, that everything was very different. “Now seeing it is impressive,” he reflects.

Going out on a plane is something he has always loved. She has a twin-engine Aerostar plane and that day she was ideal to go out and explore the sky. “I went to an American friend who is here and told him ‘would you like to go for a tour of the Lanín?’ We went out, it was a beautiful afternoon. I chose the time a bit because you always have to be careful when you fly over the mountain, ”she highlights.

For a while they walked around “the landscape was spectacular”, it was so clear, so beautiful that his friend decided to film it with his cell phone. “The summit is like that, you can see it everywhere. That day you could see all the volcanoes very well: Osorno, Villarica, El Tronador… and also the lakes”, says Jhon and in his voice the admiration for beauty is noted.

While narrating, he maintains that many walk up each season. But he warns that it is dangerous without preparation, that every year the Lanín claims a victim. For this reason, to climb it you have to prepare yourself, hire authorized guides and, above all, get informed.

Memories take him back to youth, when 50 years ago he did. “I was not prepared and an avalanche almost killed me. It was all an adventure. I did it when no one was going, there was only the infantry shelter. We stayed the night there, went up and down the next night. I did some stupid things, but they are adventures that are done when one is young”, he says while laughing.

John Bell Thompson had climbed on foot 50 years ago, with a very basic equipment.

Look at the photos of that moment, you can clearly see the humble equipment they were wearing. On the plane, while with his friend they flew over that afternoon, he returned with his story at the age of 22, when he walked the slopes.

The boy who took it at that time had done it once and assured him that he knew the way. The whole first part was not difficult for them. It was a long journey, but only in the last 300 meters found the complications.

At the age of 22, John Bell Thompson walks in search of his summit.

“There were some rocks, glaciers to go through and you had to be careful. But a storm caught us, from the shelter up and the avalanche came on us, because we made a mistake and left late. We were in the clouds, we didn’t see anything, we said we’re going down and at that moment it cleared up,” he says.

Suddenly he saw the summit so close, it seemed that they could touch it. “We said ‘we are here’. ‘Come on, we went up’ and we went to the top”. He assures that the wind that is seen in the video that he shared, that brushes and removes a little snow from the top, that same wind they found up that day.

“Then we went down and it was totally fun. We got from the top to San Martin in one day and it was playing all the way. Now we saw it from a more comfortable place”, and it is that no matter how you arrive, the Lanín is always an unforgettable giant.


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