Mount Price (British Columbia)

Mount Price is a small stratovolcano in the Garibaldi Ranges of the Pacific Ranges in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is located 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) southeast of the abandoned settlement of Garibaldi above the eastern flank of the Cheakamus River valley. With a summit elevation of 2,049 metres (6,722 feet), it rises above the surrounding landscape on the western shore of Garibaldi Lake. The mountain contains a number of subfeatures, including Clinker Peak on its western flank, which was the source of two thick lava flows between 15,000 and 8,000 years ago that ponded against glacial ice. These lava flows are structurally unstable, having produced large landslides as recently as the 1850s. A large provincial park surrounds Mount Price and other volcanoes in its vicinity.

Mount Price
Red Mountain
Clinker Mountain
A lightly glaciated mountain rising above trees and a lake in the foreground.
Mount Price and one of the Battleship Islands reflected in the clear water of Garibaldi Lake
Highest point
Elevation2,049 m (6,722 ft)[1]
ListingMountains of British Columbia
Coordinates49°55′02″N 123°02′08″W / 49.91722°N 123.03556°W / 49.91722; -123.03556Coordinates: 49°55′02″N 123°02′08″W / 49.91722°N 123.03556°W / 49.91722; -123.03556[2]
EtymologyThomas E. Price[2]
Mount Price is located in British Columbia
Mount Price
Mount Price
ProvinceBritish Columbia[3]
DistrictNew Westminster Land District[2]
Protected areaGaribaldi Provincial Park[4]
Parent rangeGaribaldi Ranges
Topo mapNTS 92G14 Cheakamus River[2]
Age of rock< 1,200,000 yrs[3]
Mountain typeStratovolcano[1]
Type of rockAndesite and dacite[3]
Volcanic beltGaribaldi Volcanic Belt[3]
Last eruption15,000–8,000 years ago[5][6]
Normal routeMount Price Route[7]

Mount Price is associated with a small group of volcanoes called the Garibaldi Lake volcanic field. This forms part of the larger Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, a north−south trending volcanic zone that represents a portion of the Canadian Cascade Arc. Mount Price began its formation 1.2 million years ago and continued intermittently until sometime in the last 15,000 years. Although the mountain is not known to have experienced a volcanic eruption for thousands of years, it could erupt again, which would potentially endanger the nearby populace. If this were to happen, relief efforts would be quickly organized. Teams such as the Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan are prepared to notify people threatened by volcanic eruptions in Canada.


Mount Price is situated within the Pacific Ranges Ecoregion, a mountainous region of the southern Coast Mountains characterized by high, steep and rugged mountains built of granitic rocks. Much of this ecoregion encompasses the Pacific Ranges in southwestern British Columbia, although it also includes the northwesternmost portion of the Cascade Range in Washington state. Several coastal islands, channels and fjords occur along the western margin of the Pacific Ranges Ecoregion.[8] This includes the Burke Channel which separates King Island from mainland British Columbia.[9] The Pacific Ranges Ecoregion is bounded on the north by the Coastal Gap Ecoregion, on the southwest by the Georgian Depression Ecoprovince, on the northeast by the Central Interior Ecoprovince, on the southeast by the Southern Interior Ecoprovince and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Coast and Mountains Ecoprovince which forms part of the Humid Maritime and Highlands Ecodivision.[8]

The Pacific Ranges Ecoregion comprises seven ecosections, with Mount Price residing inside the Eastern Pacific Ranges Ecosection. This ecosection is characterized by a rugged landscape of mountains that increase in elevation from south to north, with the northern summits containing large icefields. A number of other volcanoes are situated within the Eastern Pacific Ranges Ecosection. This includes Mount Meager, which lies near the headwaters of the Lillooet River, and Mount Garibaldi and Mount Cayley, which lie in the Squamish River watershed. Several rivers cut through the Eastern Pacific Ranges Ecosection. This includes the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers on its eastern side and the Cheakamus, Squamish and Elaho rivers on its western side, with the Lillooet River lying in the middle. Coastal western hemlock forests dominate nearly all the valleys and lower slopes of this ecosection, with the upper slopes containing subalpine mountain hemlock forests and, to a lesser extent, Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir forests. Alpine vegetation lies just above the subalpine forests, which is normally overlain by barren rock.[8] Wildlife such as grey jays, chipmunks, squirrels, flickers, deer, mountain goats, wolverines, cougars and grizzly and black bears are present in the Eastern Pacific Ranges Ecosection.[10] The communities of Whistler, Pemberton, Mount Currie, Hope and Yale are situated within this ecosection, all of which are connected to the Lower Mainland by a network of highways.[8]


Mount Price, Mount Garibaldi and The Table looming over Garibaldi Lake

Mount Price is one of the three principal volcanoes in the southern segment of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, attaining an elevation of 2,049 metres (6,722 feet).[1][3] It is one of several Garibaldi Belt volcanoes that have been volcanically active throughout the Quaternary. In contrast to most stratovolcanoes in Canada, Mount Price has a nearly symmetrical structure.[3] Its western slope is flanked by Clinker Peak, a 1,983-metre-high (6,506-foot) parasitic stratovolcano containing a breached volcanic crater.[1][3] Oxidation of Mount Price's volcanic rocks has given the mountain a red colour.[11]

Mount Price is part of the Garibaldi Lake volcanic field. This comprises a series of volcanoes and lava flows that were erupted in the last 1.3 million years, with the oldest volcanic rocks being found at Mount Price and The Black Tusk. A diverse range of volcanic rocks with differing compositions are present in the Garibaldi Lake volcanic field. This includes andesite, dacite, basaltic andesite and basalt.[3] It is unknown when the last eruption occurred but it may have been in the early Holocene.[1][3]

Like other volcanoes in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, Mount Price formed as a result of subduction zone volcanism. As the Juan de Fuca Plate subducts under the North American Plate at the Cascadia subduction zone, it forms volcanoes and volcanic eruptions.[12] Unlike most subduction zones worldwide, there is no deep oceanic trench along the continental margin of Cascadia. There is also very little seismic evidence that the Juan de Fuca Plate is actively subducting. As a result, the existence of active volcanism in the Cascade Volcanic Arc is the best evidence for ongoing subduction. However, volcanic activity along the Cascade Arc has been declining over the last few million years. The probable explanation lies in the rate of convergence between the Juan de Fuca and North American plates. These two tectonic plates currently converge at a rate of 3 to 4 centimetres (1.2 to 1.6 inches) per year, only about half the rate of convergence from seven million years ago. This slowed convergence likely accounts for reduced seismicity and the lack of an oceanic trench.[3]

Volcanic historyEdit

At least three phases of eruptive activity have been identified at Mount Price.[3] The first eruptive phase 1.2 million years ago deposited hornblende andesite lava and pyroclastic rocks on the floor of a cirque-like basin after an Early Pleistocene glacial event.[3][13] During the Middle Pleistocene about 300,000 years ago, volcanism of the second phase shifted westward and constructed the nearly symmetrical stratovolcano of Mount Price. Episodic eruptions during this phase of activity produced andesite and dacite lavas, as well as pyroclastic flows from Peléan activity. Later, the volcano was overridden by the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which covered a large portion of western North America during glacial periods of the Quaternary.[3]

The Barrier is part of a thick lava flow that erupted from Clinker Peak between 15,000 and 8,000 years ago.

After the Cordilleran Ice Sheet retreated from higher elevations less than 15,000 years ago, andesite eruptions of the third eruptive phase occurred from a satellite vent at Price Bay.[3][5][13] This resulted in the creation of a small 1,788-metre-high (5,866-foot) lava dome or scoria cone on Mount Price's northern flank.[1][5][13] Possibly contemporaneous volcanism occurred at Clinker Peak with the eruption of two hornblende-biotite andesite lava flows.[3] They are both at least 300 metres (980 feet) thick and 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) long, extending to the northwest and southwest.[3][13] Their unusually large thickness is due to them ponding and cooling against the Cordilleran Ice Sheet when it still filled valleys at lower elevations.[13] The age of this final volcanic phase has varied from 15,000 to 12,000 years ago to as recently as 10,000–8,000 years ago.[5][6]

A prominent feature of the Clinker Peak lava flows are the levees that demarcate the lava channels. The northwest lava flow forms a volcanic dam known as The Barrier.[14] This retains the Garibaldi Lake system and has been the source of two large landslides in the past. The most recent major landslide in 1855–1856 resulted from failure along vertical rock fractures.[15] It travelled 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) down Rubble Creek to the Cheakamus River valley, depositing 30,000,000 cubic metres (1.1×109 cubic feet) of rock.[15][16] The southwest lava flow occurs in the upper reaches of the Culliton Creek valley and forms Clinker Ridge.[6][14] Both lava flows form steep cliffs, with the current face of The Barrier resulting from the mid-19th century landslide.[6]

In contrast to Mount Cayley and Mount Meager, no hot springs are known in the Garibaldi area. However, there is evidence of anomalously high heat flow in Table Meadows near the southern flank of Mount Price and elsewhere. This indicates that magmatic heat is still present under the Garibaldi area which may be related to recent volcanic activity.[17]

Volcanic hazardsEdit

Mount Price as seen from Panorama Ridge at dawn

Mount Price is near the highly populated southwest corner of British Columbia, indicating that it poses a serious threat to the surrounding area.[12][14] Although Plinian eruptions have not been identified at Mount Price, Peléan eruptions can also produce large amounts of volcanic ash that could significantly affect the nearby communities of Whistler and Squamish.[14] Mount Price is also situated in the immediate proximity of a major air traffic route.[18] Volcanic ash reduces visibility and can cause jet engine failure, as well as damage to other aircraft systems.[19]

Peléan eruptions may cause short and long term water supply problems for the city of Vancouver and most of the Lower Mainland. The catchment area for the Greater Vancouver watershed is downwind from Mount Price. An eruption producing floods and lahars could destroy parts of Highway 99, threaten communities such as Brackendale and endanger water supplies from Pitt Lake. Fisheries on the Pitt River would also be at risk. These volcanic hazards become more serious as the Lower Mainland grows in population.[14] More than 60% of British Columbians live in the Lower Mainland, which is one of Canada's most rapidly changing ecoregions.[20][21] This is mostly due to its increasing population and economic development.[21]

Because andesite is the main type of lava erupted from Mount Price, lava flows are a low to moderate hazard.[14] Andesite lava is intermediate in silica content, indicating that it has a higher viscosity than basaltic lava but is less viscous than dacite or rhyolite lava. As a result, andesite lava flows typically move slower than basaltic lava flows and are less likely to travel as far from their source. Dacite and rhyolite lavas are normally too viscous to flow away from a volcanic vent, resulting in the formation of lava domes.[22] An exception is the 15-kilometre-long (9.3-mile) Ring Creek dacite lava flow from Opal Cone on the southeastern flank of Mount Garibaldi, a length that is normally attained by basaltic lava flows.[14]

Mount Price and Clinker Peak

Concerns about The Barrier's instability due to volcanic, tectonic or heavy rainfall activity prompted the provincial government to declare the area immediately below it unsafe for human habitation in 1980.[15] This led to the evacuation of the small resort village of Garibaldi nearby and the relocation of residents to new recreational subdivisions away from the hazard zone.[14][15] Should The Barrier completely collapse, Garibaldi Lake would be entirely released and downstream damage in the Cheakamus and Squamish rivers would be considerable, including major damage to the town of Squamish and possibly an impact-wave on the waters of Howe Sound that would reach Vancouver Island.[15]

The landslide area is referred to as the Barrier Civil Defence Zone by BC Parks. Although landslides are unlikely to happen in the near future, warning signs are posted at the zone to make visitors aware of the potential danger and to minimize the chance of fatalities in the event of a slide. For safety reasons, BC Parks recommends visitors not to camp, stop or linger in the Barrier Civil Defence Zone.[10]


Like other volcanoes in the Garibaldi Lake volcanic field, Mount Price is not monitored closely enough by the Geological Survey of Canada to ascertain its activity level. The Canadian National Seismograph Network has been established to monitor earthquakes throughout Canada, but it is too far away to provide an accurate indication of activity under the mountain. It may sense an increase in seismic activity if Mount Price becomes highly restless, but this may only provide a warning for a large eruption; the system might detect activity only once the volcano has started erupting.[23] If Mount Price were to erupt, mechanisms exist to orchestrate relief efforts. The Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan was created to outline the notification procedure of some of the main agencies that would respond to an erupting volcano in Canada, an eruption close to the Canada–United States border or any eruption that would affect Canada.[24]

Human historyEdit


Mount Price with Garibaldi Lake in the foreground

Mount Price has had at least three names throughout its history. It was originally named Red Mountain for its red appearance, but the date of when this name was adopted has not been cited.[2] Another peak west of Overlord Mountain was identified as Red Mountain on a 1923 sketch by Canadian mountaineer Neal M. Carter.[25][26] To avoid confusion, the name of this mountain was changed to Fissile Peak on September 2, 1930, for its fissility.[2][25]

In 1927, Canadian volcanologist William Henry Mathews (1919–2003) identified Mount Price as Clinker Mountain in articles and journals.[2] Clinker is a geological term used to describe rough lava fragments associated with 'a'a flows. The fragments are characterized by several sharp, jagged spines and are normally less than 150 millimetres (5.9 inches) wide.[27]

The name Mount Price was adopted on September 2, 1930, after a committee of the Garibaldi Park Board was set up to deal with nomenclature. It was requested that the Geographic Board of Canada to adopt Mount Price for this mountain after Thomas E. Price, a former mountaineer and engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway.[2] Clinker Peak and Clinker Ridge were both officially named on September 12, 1972, to retain Mount Price's earlier name, Clinker Mountain.[28][29]

Geological studiesEdit

The lava flows originating from Clinker Peak were one of the first described occurrences of lava having been impounded by glacial ice.[30] They were the subject of significant study by William Henry Mathews, a pioneer in the study of subglacial eruptions and volcano-ice interactions in North America. In 1952, Mathews cited substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that the Clinker Peak lava flows ponded against glacial ice. This included the existence of glacially striated boulders in the lava flows, conformable relations with glacial till, abnormal structures indicative of extrusion into standing meltwater or against ice, and widespread breccia and pillows indicative of rapid quenching in meltwater or in water-soaked pyroclastic rocks under the ice.[31]


Mount Price and its eruptive products are protected in Garibaldi Provincial Park.[4] Founded in 1927 as a Class A provincial park, this wilderness park covers an area of 194,650 hectares (481,000 acres). Lying within its boundaries are a number of other volcanoes, such as Mount Garibaldi and The Black Tusk. Located 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Vancouver in the glaciated Coast Mountains, Garibaldi Provincial Park contains diverse vegetation, iridescent waters and a rich geological history. The park also has abundant wildlife, such as squirrels, chipmunks, Canada jays and flickers. Garibaldi Provincial Park is named after Mount Garibaldi, which is in turn named after the Italian patriot and soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi.[10]


Daisy Lake Road 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of Squamish provides access to Garibaldi Provincial Park from Highway 99.[3][32] At the end of this 2.5-kilometre-long (1.6-mile) road is the Rubble Creek parking lot from which the 9-kilometre-long (5.6-mile) Garibaldi Lake Trail extends to the Garibaldi Lake campground and ranger station.[3][4][32][33] A 5-kilometre-long (3.1-mile) hiking trail, known as the Mount Price Trail or the Mount Price Route, commences past the ranger station.[4][7][33] This poorly marked path ascends to the shore of Garibaldi Lake then returns inland where it traverses south along the lava flow forming The Barrier. The terrain of this part of the route is relatively rough, involving substantial scrambling over boulders of the lava flow. Eventually the trail reaches open terrain north of Mount Price and approaches the base of the volcano. Climbing Mount Price or Clinker Peak involves scree and snow plodding, with scrambling not being a requirement.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Garibaldi Lake: Synonyms & Subfeatures". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mount Price". BC Geographical Names. Archived from the original on 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Wood, Charles A.; Kienle, Jürgen (2001). Volcanoes of North America: United States and Canada. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 113, 114, 143, 144, 148. ISBN 0-521-43811-X.
  4. ^ a b c d e Hui, Stephen (2018). "Hikes North of Vancouver". 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia. Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-77164-287-3.
  5. ^ a b c d Hildreth, Wes (2007). Quaternary Magmatism in the Cascades—Geologic Perspectives. United States Geological Survey. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4113-1945-5.
  6. ^ a b c d Russel, J. K.; Hickson, C. J.; Andrews, Graham (2007). "Canadian Cascade volcanism: Subglacial to explosive eruptions along the Sea to Sky Corridor, British Columbia". GSA Field Guide 9: Floods, Faults, and Fire: Geological Field Trips in Washington State and Southwest British Columbia. 9. Geological Society of America. p. 12. doi:10.1130/2007.fld009(01). ISBN 978-0-8137-0009-0.
  7. ^ a b "Hut Management Plan 2019" (PDF). University of British Columbia. 2019. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
  8. ^ a b c d Demarchi, Dennis A. (2011). An Introduction to the Ecoregions of British Columbia (PDF). Government of British Columbia. pp. 24, 25, 37, 38, 39, 47, 56, 113. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-05-11. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  9. ^ "Burke Channel". BC Geographical Names. Archived from the original on 2020-06-21. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  10. ^ a b c "Garibaldi Provincial Park". BC Parks. Archived from the original on 2021-07-16. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  11. ^ Smellie, J. L.; Chapman, M. G. (2002). Volcano-Ice Interaction on Earth and Mars. Geological Society of London. p. 202. ISBN 1-86239-121-1.
  12. ^ a b "Garibaldi volcanic belt". Catalogue of Canadian volcanoes. Natural Resources Canada. 2009-04-02. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  13. ^ a b c d e Read, Peter B. (1990). "Late Cenozoic Volcanism in the Mount Garibaldi and Garibaldi Lake Volcanic Fields, Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, Southwestern British Columbia". Articles. St. John's, Newfoundland: Geological Association of Canada. 17 (3): 172, 173. ISSN 1911-4850.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "Garibaldi volcanic belt: Garibaldi Lake volcanic field". Catalogue of Canadian volcanoes. Natural Resources Canada. 2009-04-01. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  15. ^ a b c d e Evans, S.G.; Savigny, K.W. (1994). "Landslides in the Vancouver-Fraser Valley-Whistler region". Geology and Geological Hazards of the Vancouver Region, Southwestern British Columbia. Ottawa, Ontario: Natural Resources Canada. pp. 268, 270. ISBN 0-660-15784-5.
  16. ^ "Where do landslides occur?". Government of British Columbia. Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  17. ^ Woodsworth, Glenn J. (April 2003). Geology and Geothermal Potantial of the AWA Claim Group, Squamish, British Columbia (PDF) (Report). Government of British Columbia. p. 10.
  18. ^ "Volcanic hazards". Volcanoes of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. 2009-04-02. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  19. ^ Neal, Christina A.; Casadevall, Thomas J.; Miller, Thomas P.; Hendley II, James W.; Stauffer, Peter H. (2004-10-14). "Volcanic Ash–Danger to Aircraft in the North Pacific". United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2021-07-18. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  20. ^ "Welcome to the Lower Mainland Region". Government of British Columbia. Archived from the original on 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  21. ^ a b "B.C.'s Lower Mainland". Statistics Canada. 2018-01-17. Archived from the original on 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  22. ^ "Lava flows destroy everything in their path". Lava type dictates flow shape and travel distance. United States Geological Survey. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on 2021-07-05.
  23. ^ "Monitoring volcanoes". Volcanoes of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. 2009-02-26. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  24. ^ "Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan (IVENP)". Volcanoes of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  25. ^ a b "Fissile Peak". BC Geographical Names. Archived from the original on 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  26. ^ Scott, Chic (2002). Pushing the Limits: The Story of Canadian Mountaineering. Calgary, Alberta: Rocky Mountain Books. p. 122. ISBN 0-921102-59-3.
  27. ^ Bell, F. G. (1983). Fundamentals of Engineering Geology. Butterworth & Company. p. 17. ISBN 0-408-01169-6.
  28. ^ "Clinker Peak". BC Geographical Names. Archived from the original on 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  29. ^ "Clinker Ridge". BC Geographical Names. Archived from the original on 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  30. ^ Wilson, A. M.; Russell, J. K. (2019). "Quaternary glaciovolcanism in the Canadian Cascade volcanic arc—Paleoenvironmental implications". Field Volcanology: A Tribute to the Distinguished Career of Don Swanson. 538. Geological Society of America. doi:10.1130/SPE538. ISBN 978-0-8137-9538-6. S2CID 214521258.
  31. ^ Mathews, W. H. (1952). "Ice-dammed lavas from Clinker Mountain, southwestern British Columbia". American Journal of Science. American Journal of Science. 250 (8): 553–56. Bibcode:1952AmJS..250..553M. doi:10.2475/AJS.250.8.553. S2CID 131690276.
  32. ^ a b Eyton, Taryn (2021). "Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows". Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia: The Essential Guide to Overnight Hiking Trips. Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-77164-669-7.
  33. ^ a b Anderson, Sean; Bryant, Leslie; Harris, Brian; Hoare, Jay; Hughes, Colin; Manyk, Mike; Mussio, Russell; Soroka, Stepan (2019). Vancouver, Coast & Mountains BC. Mussio Ventures. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-926806-95-2.

External linksEdit