The Sweitzer Family: Hiking an Active Volcano – Mt. Stromboli, Italy


The world traveling family from the Midwest is back with another exciting trip update. The Sweitzer’s, who hail from Missouri, have traveled all over the planet and are now taking in all the sights of Italy, where Steve has updated us on their recent journey to Mt. Stromboli Volcano.

Stromboli is a small island north of Sicily, and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It’s famous for its normally small, but regular explosions launching glowing lava from several vents inside its summit crater. This activity has been going on for at least 2000 years.


One of three tubes belching smoke and lava. We were standing at craters edge. It was incredible. Not much of a zoom on this shot. We were close. 

We decided to make our ascent at night as the full moon rose in the east and sun set in the west. An incredible sight to view at 3000 feet.

You must use a guide to summit the volcano. Going solo could result in a fine if you are caught.


Sadie pauses about half way to the summit and watches the full moon rise above the sea

Our guide led a group of about 15 climbers at a slow but steady pace. Volcanic rock makes the going slow because some of the trails are quite loose. You should be in fairly good shape to make this hike because it is very steep. I’d give it a difficulty rating of 4 out of 5.

We found ourselves becoming very emotional as we climbed upward.


Impossible to catch on camera (by me, anyway), as the sun set in the west, the full moon rose in the east. We were at around 2500 feet at this point.

The full moon rising, the sun setting, the volcano belching smoke and ash combined with sky and earth, fire and danger, culminating into an experience like we’ve never witnessed before.

To say it was amazing or wonderful doesn’t adequately describe the feeling you get.


That look you get when you apply sunscreen and hike a volcanic ash mountain in high winds. Photo by Sadie. She thought this was hilarious. I’ll be digging sand out of my ears for weeks. – Warriors ready for the ascent.

I think it’s the oneness you feel with nature, specifically, the volcano. It rumbles like thunder and you can feel its power under your feet and through your body along with the heat coming up through the ground you are walking on. Then you see the smoke rising followed by the glow of lava burping into the air from the 3 volcano tubes in the crater. You look to the sky and the illusion of being at the same altitude as the full moon also adds to the crazy/beautiful mosaic of emotions. Some people weeped. As we stood in our group looking at this incredible display of nature, we all took deep breaths, grinned at each other and slowly began our descent through sand-like fields of volcanic ash and rocks knowing that this was an important highlight in our lives.

Join their adventure and follow the Sweitzers as they create and share videos, photos, and blogs throughout their two-year journey using Garmin products. Don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram using #HaveNoLimits.




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