On may 19, 1915, a steam explosion near the summit of California's Lassen Peak (10,457') released molten boulders of hot lava onto the volcano's snow-covered north face, sending an avalanche of rock and melted snow four miles to Emigrant Pass and flooding Hat Creek. Three days later, Lassen's summit violently exploded, creating a new crater, launching rock and pumice into the air, and sending a spectacular plume of ash 30,000 feet into the atmosphere.
The trail of destruction caused by the floods, now known as the "Devastated Area" of Lassen National Park, was my next stop on the spring volcano tour.
|We began from Emigrant Pass just before sunrise|
|Ascending the Lost Creek basin|
|After two miles of hiking we were skinning. We would soon be ascending the north ridge on the right.|
|Galen nearing the ridge|
|Mount Shasta to the north, with Chaos Crags in the foreground|
|Before long we were bootpacking the ridge|
|At 11am we reached the 10,457-foot summit.|
|Gearing up in the couloir was... interesting|
|We descended the summit before traversing right to the east buttress|
|Looking back at Lassen's summit|
|Galen shredding the north face|
|We followed this ribbon of snow to about 7,000 feet...|
|...where we rested at the end of the line before hiking down to the parking lot.|
|Summit and east buttress from the Emigrant Pass parking lot|