'A window into hell': At the edge of a violent lava lake
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 6:45 PM - George Kourounis is often described as the ultimate adventurer and explorer, but his latest expedition has taken him to a whole new level...On the edge of a "violently boiling lava lake."
"It is one of only five places in the world with persistent lava lakes," said Kourounis in an interview with The Weather Network. "Getting to it was kind of like a reverse climbing of Everest. The volcano fought back at us, and we had to deal with terrible weather, tremendous heat from the lava, descending and ascending 400 meters of near vertical, loose rock face, acid rain so strong that it could have come from a car battery, and a variety of other craziness. The lava melted part of one of my cameras, I got splashed by small chunks of glowing hot lava which melted a hole in my rain jacket, and my protective heat suit is now ruined from the intense acid rain."
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His incredible video is epic to say the least as they faced "splashes of lava, toxic sulfur dioxide gas, and shockingly strong acid rain."
"The sound of the lava churning around was hard to describe," he says. "I imagine it is what Satan’s washing machine would sound like!"
While the climb itself is a difficult one, Kourounis says Mother Nature plays a crucial role in whether or not one makes it to the top.
"Interestingly, the weather was a HUGE factor in the expedition," he told us. "The volcano is very large, and creates it’s own weather. We were pelted by high winds and rain every day. There were only a few breaks in the weather, and when they came, we took advantage of them and made the 1200 foot descent. It is so steep and deep that we had to use gasoline powered rope ascenders to climb back up."
"It is Hell on Earth. Not a place that is conducive to life for very long, but I can’t wait to go back there for another expedition."
Getting up close to Marum lava lake, Vanuatu, 1200 feet down inside the crater! Oh the heat!! #Volcano #Adventure pic.twitter.com/5PR1ojUIMC— George Kourounis (@georgekourounis) August 27, 2014
Can you take the heat? Marum volcano's lake of lava boils away mere meters away. pic.twitter.com/GKdA2yzZ5S— George Kourounis (@georgekourounis) August 27, 2014
A window into Hell. Marum #Volcano as seen from about 1/2 way down the crater. pic.twitter.com/DjeDNz50f7— George Kourounis (@georgekourounis) August 27, 2014
At the start of the 400 meter drop into the Marum Volcano crater. Almost entirely vertical. #Adventure pic.twitter.com/21vwrpDuRz— George Kourounis (@georgekourounis) August 27, 2014
Volcano #selfie. When normal selfies are not extreme enough! pic.twitter.com/hSRWPDjfDX— George Kourounis (@georgekourounis) August 28, 2014