The going was slow at first. Brushy vegetation is quickly taking over the lower slopes of the volcanic cone and we had to push through with effort, scratching up our bare legs. Higher, the brush gave way to grasses and rocks, and finally there were only bare rocks. Typically for a volcano, the talus boulders were unstable, often shifting under our weight, and the scree was like walking on ball bearings. Care was required not to start a rock avalanche or pull a boulder down on oneself, but it felt like climbing a much taller, alpine mountain and we became quite excited. Hot steam hissed forth from the rocks around us as we climbed higher. By sunrise we were climbing the last few rocks to the summit.