Caribbean ViewTrip Report La Soufriere Volcano, Guadeloupe Region de France
If all you told was turned to gold,
If all you dreamed were new,
Imagine sky high above
In Caribbean blue ...
At 1467 meters, La Soufriere is said to be the highest point in the Lesser Antilles. La Soufriere, tends to be shrouded in fog at the summit, like so many other mountains and volcanoes. We were fortunate, that it opened up for us, though we did spend some time up there hoping it would.
Geologically, the Lesser Antilles are a result of a tectonic plate subduction zone, resulting in a chain of volcanic islands. A glance at a map reveals the islands are like beads on a necklace, Guadeloupe being the largest. You can read more about the volcano here: href=http://URL_HERE>LINK TEXT HEREhttp://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=1600-06=
The climb is advertised as an hour and half to the summit trail and another hour from there to the summit. It is a day hike and is launched out of Saint Claude. It is the centerpiece of the islands National Park. The route could be divided into three sections. From the National Park parking lot to the restricted upper lot, a nice hiking trail with trees. From the upper lot around to the North side and the summit route, a steeper hike, the trees giving way to head high and lower vegetation. The summit trace, is a class 2 -3 scramble, with rock and tropic alpine vegetation. It had rained on the way up and was muddy and slippery. Coming down from the summit zone is a section where you may need to turn around and come down as if on a ladder. All trails are well marked. You should count on getting rained on.
The summit area was shrouded in fog, on arrival, allowing one of us to enter the restricted zone and get a good dose of toxic gas and listen to the loud noise of the gas escaping. The fog soon cleared out, revealing a team of four vulcanologists abseiling into a crater. We then enjoyed the view. The entire island of Guadeloupe was laid out below us, as well as nice views of the Saintes, Marie Galante, Dominica and Montserrat.
If you go, remember the island is a Region de France and you’ll need your best French to get around. This is why it does not appear in SPs country list. The signs in the town are clear to the parking lot. There is no entrance fee. No special gear is required though some people may want trekking poles. You’ll almost certainly need rain gear.