Volcano Peak GR:354390

elevation: 2,553 m. height gain: 1,070 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/14
2013-Mar-24


Ref: Soistheman Digital Diary
leaving the packed trail


After leaving the Evan Thomas Trail, we aimed for a swath of burnt timber.
Snowshoe trip: RT 10.75; 5.0 up. With a beautiful day ahead of us, we decided to head out to the Kananaskis again and meet Charles for another lengthy bushwhack. Snowpack stability was still questionable everywhere; our goal was to reach Mount McDougall via Volcano Peak. The temperature was frigid when we left the car but it quickly warmed up when the sun came out. The instant we left the packed trail, I knew we were in for a long brutal haul. Although our line of ascent was favorable in burnt timber and decently spaced trees, the snowpack's crust didn't support our weight. We took turns plowing through knee-deep snow; even following was difficult as the sugary snow offered more slippage than purchase... We stopped a few times along the way just to regain composure; I doubted we would reach treeline! We continued with lowered expectation, simply enjoying the fantastic weather. Near treeline, the crust gained strength and travelling improved. After 5 hours, we reached Volcano Peak. I was surprised to see a register at the summit cairn. We had a quick break and proceeded towards McDougall's connecting ridge. The snow-laden ridge appeared challenging; we were forced to travel on the ridge crest or right up against the rock on the lee side. With the intense solar radiation and time of day, avalanche risk was defInitely on our mind. We almost made it to McDougall's ascent slopes but the last section of the narrow ridge was heavily corniced. We didn't contemplate using the rope we carried for the crux rockband near the top; we agreed the risk was too great, hence we turned around. We had an excellent lunch break at the saddle before going back up Volcano. I guess we'll have to come back in this vicinity and check the Old Baldy Trail next time!
non supportive crust

The crust is mostly non supportive...

stronger crust

Near treeline, the sun is out and the crust is stronger.

visible approach below


The woodlot's margin, climber's left, served as a good approach.


good travelling


Good travelling to treeline.


treeline


The terrain higher up is scoured.


the summit does look like a volcano


Volcano Peak does look like a cinder cone.


looking back


Looking back.


at the top of volcano


At the top, glancing at Old Baldy Mountain (left).


mount mcdougall


Mount McDougall (left) and its connecting ridge.


on the connecting ridge


Carefully making our way towards Mount McDougall.


unable to avoid sun-baked slopes


Unable to avoid sun-baked slopes, we turned around.


travelling on the ridge crest


Forced to travel on the ridge crest.


more ridge


Returning to Volcano Peak (right).


back up the cone


Back up the cone.


top of volcano peak


The company, the view and the weather are fantastic!


backtracking


Backtraking with The Wedge in the foreground.


the fortress


Great view towards The Fortress.


burnt timber


Back in the burnt timber.
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