Lassen Peak – Closing a Volcano

(Last Updated On: July 20, 2012)

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Lassen is the southern most volcano in the Cascade Range. With an easy 2.5-mile trail leading directly from the road to the summit, Lassen is a big hit for tourists and many skiers.

Lassen was named after Peter Lassen, who was a Danish person who guided immigrants into the area in the 1830’s. Just like Mt. St. Helens is known to the general populous today for it’s eruption, Lassen was known to many for the same reason. Lassen became famous during series of eruptions that occurred starting in 1914 and lasting about 7 years, with the most explosive eruption in 1915.

Kim and I had intentions of skiing Lassen after skiing Shasta. But, as Kim was investigating campgrounds the day we were set to leave for Lassen, she uncovered the fact that Lassen Peak was closed. Yes, it was closed. A NPS update posted on June 15th stated, “Lassen Peak Restoration Continues. Lassen Peak trail restoration has resumed for the summer season. The trail is closed at Grandview (1.3 miles from the trailhead).”

At first we assumed that just the trail was closed. Surely a whole volcano couldn’t be closed. But a phone call to the Park Service at Lassen proved us wrong. Indeed the entire peak was closed, even to snow travel.

I find this frustrating – not just the fact that it is closed, but many other aspects. For example, public awareness of this closure seems scant. While we sat on top of Shasta, we discussed skiing Lassen with two people from Salt Lake City who had skied it earlier in the week, and also a National Forest Service Ranger. None of them mentioned any sort of closure of any kind, and believe me, they were the type of people who would have mentioned it to us had they known. Second, after learning about this closure, I wanted to know more about it. As it turns out, the name for the program closure is “Reach the Peak”. Does anything about that name imply a closure of any kind? No wonder why there is so much confusion.

After investigating, it seems that Lassen is being closed for rehabilitation. Specifically, they want to rehabilitate Lassen Peak trail, which takes people to the summit. But does this warrant closure of an entire peak? No, it warrants closure of a trail- NOT an entire peak. If you dig deep on their website, you can see that they say the entire peak is closed because they are scared about rock fall by trail workers. However, I doubt that while trail workers are working on the south side that they would trigger rock fall on the north side. Parts of this closure seems very silly to me.

The closure is largely a summer/fall closure. The peak had closed the day before we wanted to ski it. There are a few days here and there where the peak is going to be open this summer. You can find this information on Lassen’s website, however dates I’ve found are conflicting. What I can confirm is that this is a multi-year project that is set to finish in 2013. Until then, make sure you contact the NPS before trying to ski Lassen!

Find more information here:
Trail Status
Reach the Peak Project Sheet

Informational Video:

Links to Other Reports from this Trip:
Volcano-Bound!
From SLC to Shasta
Shasta Ski (14 June 2012)
Shastarama Ski (16 June 2012)
Lassen Peak – Closing a Volcano
Oregon Days Off
Mount Hood (19 June 2012)
Mount Adams (20 June 2012)
Mt. St. Helens (21 June 2012)
From the Gorge to Craters

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

One thought on “Lassen Peak – Closing a Volcano

  • July 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm
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    Strange for sure. And it’s pretty comical that the name of the closure program is “Reach the Peak”. Definitely sending mixed signals with that one…

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