6-29-11 Puu Oo Vent Perched Lava Lake


Update 7-19-11 – Images from this hike added to my Volcano Fine Art Gallery Images 356c – 367.

Finally made my way back to Puu Oo vent last week.

I’ll start with my warning not to do what I do. I have most likely done this hike more than anyone and I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. It’s extremely easy for the inexperienced to get lost on this hike. Most who attempt it do get lost. There are very real dangers and one needs to recognize them. I can. The hike is usually shrouded in heavy fog with no visible markers. Please stay away for your own safety. Most of all, it’s just plain and simply difficult!!

Okay, the hike was absolutely miserable due to the persistent rain. Over 9 miles of thick nasty mud that drained me quickly. Drank all 8 liters of water I carried with me. Limited visibility on the hike up. It rained most of the time so, I only shot photos during brief periods of clarity. But, when it was clear it was fantastic for great shots. I also shot more video but, mostly while it was raining. As usual it was also freezing cold. I managed to shave 2 lbs off of my pack from the Kamoamoa hike. Not that I really noticed my pack only weighing in at 68 lbs rather than 70 lbs. The heavy rains most likely added several more pounds to my gear. I’m often asked why I carry so much stuff. You have to be ready for most anything out there. It’s truly an extreme adventure and it needs to be prepared for in that way. 11.5 hours of hiking (15 miles) and 18 total on my feet and I lost 8 lbs. Found them and a few extras since the hike 🙂

The perched lava lake is quite simply, huge! I’ve seen them before from ground level but, never from above like this. There was a real nice breach going on at the NE edge when I arrived. It would last for hours before sealing up after the SE spatter cone collapsed during a powerful surge up lifted most of the crusted lava lake during a heavy rain. This surge caused the vent to break apart and the lava gushed out onto Puu Oo’s south floor. This would persist until my departure.  There was a period when the spattering lava reached the rim of Puu Oo’s east rim which was about 100′ high. No photos as I had just arrived and it was pouring rain. After that it was more subdued at about 10-20′. The lava lake would spatter along much of its perimeter during my visit. Occasionally in the middle too as pressure would release. Heavy fumes would come and go through the night. The east spillway was fuming rather strongly and the fumes were warm. The south floor of Puu Oo did rise nearly to the pre March eruption levels during my visit. Thankfully sunrise was rain free and colorful. I’ll be posting some images from this hike to my volcano fine art gallery later this week so, they will be available for purchase. I’m still in the process of narrowing them down. Many will be available for the next Kona Stroll street fair on July 17th.

My video will be added soon too. I’ll send out a newsletter once its available to view.

Again, please stay away from this area. You have no idea how well prepared I am and how hard I train for hikes like this. Yes, I train all the time. One day I’ll do a posting on how I go about it. All of my adventures are well thought out and well prepared for. 19+ years experience.

Enjoy the images and feel free to comment on them individually or here or via email. Visit the gallery here.


Bryan Lowry

All text and images are copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited.
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