Fetching ice from the slopes of this steep, active volcano is a daily challenge for some villagers. We were impressed by their tenacity, strength and devotion, all to earn a few dollars, and made a few trips with them. Following in their footsteps and sharing their daily lives.



This is an active volcano in Colombia, with two major fumaroles. The vents, one metre across, emit sulphur in jets of very hot air, making a tremendous noise. Its summit is ice-free and yellow with sulphur.

Our itinerary first took us right to the centre of the crater, where a number of huge volcanic chimneys are temporarily dormant. Another 200m up took us to the edge of the crater: the summit.

A few Indian families make their living from the volcano, collecting sulphur and ice there. It’s extremely hard work.

It’s surprising to approach this steaming chimney.
Sulphur, snow, altitude … a fascinating mixture of discoveries.

Facts and figures

  • Elevation: 4 764 m
  • Summit date : January 6, 2000
  • 2 alpinists : Bernard Voyer and Nathalie Tremblay