Photos: skiing volcanos in South America

Skinning up and skiing down may be the purist way to explore a mountain environment.
By Brody Leven

Think 'South America' and most people's minds will be drawn to Amazonian rainforests or bikinis on beaches. Not Brody Leven. For him and other intrepid adventurers, the continent means one thing — incredible mountain ranges. The ski mountaineer just notched off six volcano summits in Patagonia, one of the most storm-battered mountain ranges in the world.

Read a little bit more about Brody's trip – or check out some of the fun statistics in the #SeasonallyConfused #StatisticlyAbused infographic. But first – scroll down and check out the adventure.

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Country confusion
Brody crossing the border
Country confusion A large part of the allure of skiing far-off Patagonian volcanoes is in their remote nature. To accommodate this desire, skiers must be prepared to cross high mountain passes, run out of gas, get lost and cross borders at the least likely places. © Adam Clark
What is ski season?
Brody enjoying the warm weather
What is ski season? Spring is the traditional ski mountaineering season. Brody and Adam left the northern hemisphere’s fall to hit the southern hemisphere’s spring. But the seasons seemed to be screwed up—it was sometimes cold and snowy, other times warm and springlike. © Adam Clark
Every journey begins with a single step
Brody exploring the nature
Every journey begins with a single step Skiing in Patagonia is not for the faint-hearted. A strong willingness to explore, stay focused, motivated, and ability to turn around before the summit is required. But it offers a view of skiing that few ever see. © Adam Clark
Volcan Lanín
Hiking up the Volcan Lanín.
Volcan Lanín The base is in Chile, the summit is in Argentina, and a climber needs permission to access both. Two days of bureaucratic headaches for two days of climbing and one ski descent. © Adam Clark
No easy way down
Brody skiing the descent
No easy way down Rarely does a volcano have an easy descent option. Even if it isn’t very steep, some combination of other variables usually conspires against a skier: bad snow conditions, no snow, pure ice, strong winds, glacial travel, difficult route-finding... But sometimes, everything lines up… © Adam Clark
3,000 meters up
Brody climbing over 3000 meters to the summit
3,000 meters up From the trailhead, Brody and Adam climbed over 3,000 meters to the summit of Volcan Lanín. A lightweight approach, big commitment and the fitness of a ski mountaineer allowed them to climb numerous Patagonian peaks. © Adam Clark
Rental van: friend or foe?
Installing tire chains in the middle of nowhere.
Rental van: friend or foe? “My first time installing tyre chains was in the middle of Chilean nowhere, on a stuck car, in a snowstorm, at sunset,” says professional ski mountaineer Brody Leven. “And I think it was only one-wheel-drive.” © Adam Clark
Welcome home
Brody posing infront of the hut
Welcome home Perched on the side of the volcano, Brody was happy to reach the hut before nightfall. So much effort goes into reaching a Patagonian volcano that the climbing and skiing is normally the least stressful part. © Adam Clark
Gimme shelter: heating not included
Brody filling up the stove melting some water afterwards.
Gimme shelter: heating not included Having made it to the hut, Brody pulled out his stove and fuel canister to melt some water for dinner. Sure enough, the brand new stove he’d just bought didn’t work. Backup arrived, and a different canister worked. © Adam Clark
Skiing uphill
Brody Leven hiking up the Volcan Lanin
Skiing uphill Lanín, 3,747m, straddles the border of Argentina and Chile. Before they could climb it Leven and photographer Adam Clark first had to ensure they had the right visas for both countries — the hardest challenge. © Adam Clark
Maid service not included
Brody organizing and cleaning the gear
Maid service not included For a month, Brody and Adam camped in a new spot every night. Before climbing Lanín, they made sure to organize gear and clean the van. Upon their return, they tossed their sweaty boots in the back, jumped in the front seat, and motored to their next mountain campsite. © Adam Clark
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