Volcano Peak – Unfinished Business

In Activity, Island Mountain Ramblers, Mountaineering, Strathcona Regional District by Explorington1 Comment

And so it was that on July 4, three adventuresome souls faced stifling heat and humidity, flies and bush, all in the name of tending to unfinished business: A successful summit of Volcano Peak.

A few patches of shrubs to wade through

Back before the year that never was, before anyone had heard the word COVID-19, Matthew, Phil and Karl completed a traverse of Wolf and Puzzle Mountains. On that trip, they wisely left Volcano for another day due to impending inclement weather. (Read More Here ). Since that day in June 2019, the three mused about what it would take to return and tackle the the one we left unsummited.

Approach to the summit massif

Distance: 23.5 km
Starting Elevation: 262 m
Maximum Elevation:  1672 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1700 m
Total Time: 12 h

Fast forward to July 4, 2021, the promise of long days gave rise to a plan to complete the ridge. Fueled by other club members’ beta and recent pictures taken from other peaks, the moment seemed right for another attempt.

Still traversing low in Butterwort Creek valley.

Matthew and Phil drove up from Nanaimo and met Karl at the campsite near Butterwort Creek, and together they pushed off into the bush. Traversing south parallel to the Butterwort creek, the lower terrain was easier than expected. The humidity climbed with the sun, and in the tightly packed bush, rose to a stifling closeness that made it hard to catch one’s breath as they worked along the route. Navigation by GPS allowed the three to place themselves just east of the summit massif hundreds of feet atop the ridge. Here the three ascended increasingly dense bush and steep terrain. Though pleased to find nothing more challenging than easy third-class terrain, the bush was at times welcomed as handholds to haul themselves up the mountain.

One of the few spots that was more than easy hiking

Volcano Peak summit massif

Once the desire to heave their snacks due to heat subsided, they ascended via a somewhat obvious, and not at all as bushy as one might have expected route, to the summit of Volcano Peak. By 1 PM, they reached a saddle in the ridge at the base of the route up to the cairn. Here, the three enjoyed a well-deserved rest wherever they found shade. They were relieved to find the last of a melting snow patch created a trickling stream of water that provided refreshment for the trio.

Final approach to the summit, Volcano Lake in the background

A long break on the summit was their reward for the gallons of sweat they spilled in the forest that day. The views of Colonel Foster, and the other behemoths of the nearby ranges made the effort worth the work. And, it was only with mild enthusiasm for a return home for an even colder beverage that the three left the summit and descended back into the heart of darkness, into the shadow of the Colonel, into the depths of Butterwort Creek.

Volcano Lake below

Looking large and in charge

See the full album of images

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Matthew is an adventure blogger and photographer. He documents his adventures on explorington.com. His stories create a vivid backdrop that give his photographs cotext. He finds his adventures with the Island Mountain Ramblers, and whenever possible, his family joins his adventures.


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