|“||When it explodes in 1984, our ancestors inside the ship will awaken, and start the Great War.||”|
Marvel Comics continuity
The Transformers space cruiser, the Ark, crashed into the side of the dormant volcano roughly four million years ago, where it lay undisturbed until the volcano erupted again in 1984. The explosion reactivated the systems aboard the Ark, which promptly set about restoring the Autobots and Decepticons on board.
Mount St. Hilary would serve as the headquarters of the Autobots for the next few years. At one point, Wheeljack installed a number of automated gun emplacements around the volcano. These were hidden inside the rock face, emerging through sliding panels as they were needed.
Under the leadership of Grimlock, the Autobots completed repairs on the Ark and successfully relaunched it into space. The hole left behind still contained a variety of discarded machinery and communications systems. These were later used by the Autobot Goldbug to send a distress call that was eventually received by the Autobot Headmasters on Nebulos.
They answered the distress call and made their way to Earth followed by the Decepticons. Tracking the source of the signal, they arrived at Mount St. Hilary to find Spike Witwicky looking for his missing brother, Buster.
Not long after, the Decepticon Headmasters attacked and trapped Spike in the volcano. Scorponok caused molten lava to erupt from the cavern floor. Fortress Maximus’s headmaster, Galen, attempted to save Spike by pushing him out of the path of a rock fall and died himself in the attempt.
Later a Firebug landed on Earth on one side of the volcano and an Autobot shuttlecraft landed on the other side the next morning.
After this, Mount St. Hilary played no further role in the Transformers war.
American cartoon continuity
The volcano that the Transformers crash into is never explicitly named in the cartoon series, and neither is the state in which it is located. There is no reason that it couldn’t be called Mount St. Hilary, but there is no canonical evidence within the series to back this up.
The name has, however, been used in a number of places other than the Marvel comic. These include a set of collector's cards based around the television series and the range of Audio books which use a number of concepts from the television series. These lend support to the idea that the volcano in the cartoon is also called Mount St. Hilary, but it is far from conclusive.
Japanese cartoon continuity
In the second issue of the Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer manga, the Autobot Headquarters is said to be located in Arizona. The manga acted as a supplement to the television series. Whether this pertains to the US version of the show is debatable.
In the Beast Wars episode "The Agenda", the Ark is uncovered by the Predacon leader Megatron, but again, the volcano itself is never given a name. This makes sense, however, as Beast Wars is set in prehistory, and therefore the volcano has no name at this stage. It could eventually be named Mount St. Hilary, though. Beast Wars did give the Autobot spaceship the name "the Ark" for the first time outside of the comic continuity, therefore, it is possible that the writers also intended the volcano to be the same as that shown in the comics.
After a battle with the Decepticons, the Autobot Micromasters discovered ruins of Cybertronian origin at Mount St. Hilary, including a piece of metal with a Predacon faction symbol on it (though none of the Micromasters knew the symbol's significance). The Autobots set up a headquarters at the base of the volcano. While excavating the ruins, they uncovered a stasis pod which emitted a strange radiation that brought forth a combiner team from an alternate dimension.
Where is Mount St. Hilary?
Mount St. Hilary seems clearly inspired by the real-world eruption of Mount St. Helens just a few years earlier, but there is much evidence that they are not in the same location (even if they are in the same region).
While Mount St. Helens is in Washington State, the Marvel comics continuity places Mount St. Hilary to the south, in Oregon not far from Portland. Subsequent events also largely take place in Oregon around (and in) the city of Portland. A possible location for the volcano could be the Boring Lava Field near Portland, which does indeed contain a number of volcanoes similar to the one shown, but this is never specified within the comic itself.
The Oregon setting is stated or implied in several G1 continuities, the one major exception being the cartoon. While there's no direct evidence that its volcano isn't in the same place, the surrounding landscape is mostly desert. This conflicts with the actual geography and climate of the Portland area and especially that of Washington State. If the volcano is anywhere in that region, the southeastern part of Oregon seems most likely.
In story-continuity terms, one clue the cartoon offers is the Decepticon base. Immediately after awakening, Megatron began construction of a space cruiser not far from the volcano. This ship did launch but was quickly sabotaged, and it crashed into the ocean within view of a shoreline near the launch site. Carly was able to drive quickly from the Ark to the coast and SCUBA-dive to the base.The Decepticons used the sunken ship as their main headquarters for some time afterwards, and in fact
Portland is about 60 miles from the nearest coastline, so it's still possible the cartoon volcano could be in that area if one ignores the environmental inconsistency. However, the only other evidence of the Decepticon base's location suggests otherwise: A computer readout once showed oil tankers converging on the Decepticon base... in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.The fact that it's nowhere near a shore is a contradiction in itself. But putting that aside, if the Decepticon base is located in the Atlantic, that would suggest the volcano is in an east-coast state. Unfortunately, this makes the setting even more incongruous due to that coast's lack of both deserts and volcanoes.
Much of the volcano/Decepticon-base proximity evidence is based on quick transit times. But this counts for little in the cartoon, where it's apparently possible for the Autobots to drive from the Ark to Africa. Japanese manga, which introduces the Autobot Road: a series of underground roads that allow the Autobots to travel around the world at great speed. But even assuming that the Autobot Road is a reality in the cartoon proper, it would have taken a long time to construct and was highly unlikely to have been available when the Decepticons were building their space cruiser. Even Carly's quick drive to the coast probably wouldn't have involved the Autobot Road because she had only just met the Autobots.This is accounted for in the
So as the cartoon offers only a hodgepodge of conflicting evidence and little consistent reference to the real world, identifying the volcano's precise location in that continuity is likely impossible. Everywhere else, though—Oregon!
- In 1984 Presto Magix released a transfer set called Trouble on Mount St. Hilary.
- In 1985 Mount St. Hilary appeared on the Action Cards trading cards from Milton Bradley.