Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Day 1 - Meeting at the airport located in Elizovo city, accommodation in houses and a move to Khalaktyrsky beach
Flying over nearly the whole Russian territory, from West to East, you land at the territory of volcanoes, hot springs and hospitable people. Our guide meets you in the airport and pick you up to the resort zone. Double accommodation in the hotel. The room has a fridge but two bathrooms are on the floor. There are a café-canteen and outdoor swimming pool of thermal hot water which also has a slide.
Our journey just only begins! With tourists arriving before 1 a.m. we go on a city sightseeing trip over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski. Our small-sized city is located at the shore of the most beautiful bay all over the world – Avachinskaya bay. It has a glorious heroic history. What do these legendary names mean– Bering, Krashenninikov, Laperouse!
Our way to the Pacific Ocean continues. A man who is standing on the shore of this largest and deepest ocean all over the world experiences stunning feels. Russia begins here. While walking along the shore which is formed by volcanic black sand you may start dreaming or try to deep into icy water being on the edge of the Earth. We head back to a hotel by evening.
The tourist who arrives after 1.30 a.m. accommodates in a hotel at once.
Day 2 – A move to Kozyrevsk village
We leave hotel rooms and go on a long journey to Kluchevskaya volcanic group situated at the center of the peninsula. We are to behold such volcanoes as Kluchevskaya sopka, Kamen, Bezymiany, a group of Tolbachik volcanoes, Zimina, Udina, Krestovsky, Ushkovsky, Kizimen.
This day is devoted to 490 kilometer journey to Kozyrevsk village which is a stop point of the North route. In the middle of the way we have a stop for a dinner in the canteen of Kozyrevsk village. The route is enough prolonged and tiring – we arrive only by evening. The one of the biggest advantage of overnight stopover in Kozyrevsk is our possibility to accommodate in guest lodges instead of overnight in tents and we may go to the bathhouse and make a hearty supper.
Day 3 – move to the area of the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption. Lava caves.
We continue our vehicle trip. Next we draw in on a narrow forest road on which we are to move on average roughly 5 hours. We ford the river Studennaya there. Road ahead is not easy. We travel by special off-road vehicle with superior comfort and cross-country ability named as “vahtovka”. In the afternoon we reach the area of the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption which has happened in these parts in 1975-1976.
We may know how nature changes after these natural cataclysm: we make a trip over traces of the last eruptions, visit lava caves, and go for a walk over “dead forest” situated near cone of ancient collapsed volcano Zvezda. We also see the consequences of the New Tolbachik Eruption in 2012-2013.
The eruptions of Plosky Tolbachik are not of classic eruption column type, during which a huge dimension of ash and smoke is emitted and such column may rise a few kilometers into the air. The eruptions of this volcano are fissuring and characterized by emitting of a large amount of lava. These eruptions are also named as “tourist eruption” within unscientific field because they attract a lot of tourist thanks to its relative safety and photogenic of flowing lava rivers. In contrast to eruption column it’s a possible to fly up pretty close to the volcano by a helicopter during fissure eruptions.
Here we uploaded a few photos of the views of volcanic eruption in summer 2013. This wonderful manifestation of natural phenomenon lasted about one year. Hundreds of tourists visited Tolbachik volcano at that time. However it ended as unexpectedly as it began. There are the consequences of this grandiose phenomenon – huge lava flows stretched out dozen kilometers.
We spend a night in the base camp which is located at a height of 1200 – 1300 meters above sea level. This terrain is situated near the North and South breaks of Tolbachik Fissure.
Day 4 – climb the peak of Plosky Tolbachik
This day we make an ascent of the peak of Plosky Tolbachik volcano which has a height of more than 3000 meters above sea level. We don’t need to use alpinist equipment but climbing of Plosky Tolbachil volcano requires some physical training like any other ascent. Therefore one who wishes may stay in a camp and goes for a walk along surroundings.
Tolbachik (Tolbachinskaya sopka, Tuluach) is a volcanic massif situated in the east of Kamchatka peninsula and belongs to Kluchevskaya group of volcanoes. The massif is formed by two joined stratovolcanoes which have taken their places at pedestal of ancient shield volcano. This is a an extinct Ostry Tolbachik volcano with a collapsed peak (3682 meters) and active Plosky Tolbachik volcano (3140 meters).
With ones who are ready we are to overcome a 20 kilometer way on foot along stoned relief while climbing higher. We leave big knapsacks in a base camp and bring wit you a small knapsack which could be contained a bottle of water, snack meals and warm clothes.
We get up at dawn, make a hearty breakfast and go on our way. It takes 6-8 hours to conquer the peak and the descent takes 4-5 hours. If you read thoroughly our recommendations on what you need to bring, a warm gaiter will be of a great service because small stones and sand won’t get into your shoes during the route. While ascending it’s important not to hurry, but to climb higher slowly, listen to our chief guide and protect your travel-companions from unexpected rockslides.
The path to peak goes through angular stratification of solidified lava flows and volcanic bomb sites. The volcanic slope of which we make an ascent is rather gentle. En route we pass small snow fields.
From the height the bravest peak conquerors get a view of the many kilometers long burnt down valley covered with ashes. Of course, en route we have stops for a rest where you may glance back at the valley situated at the south part of the foot. The final rapid push –and a giant crater which has a diameter of about 2 kilometers is waiting for us at the top of the volcano. We have time to rest, enjoy views and snap memorable photos.
We make a descent easily and more quickly. We head back the camp where a hot dinner is prepared by a cook for us.
Day 5 – 12-kilometer-long hike to Talud pass
Our trekking trip with knapsacks begins. This day we overcome a 12-15 kilometers way on foot: we get around the volcanoes of Tolbachik group from the east and get stunning views of Plosky Tolbachik and Udina volcanoes and volcanic desert.
The scorched desert gradually changes into tundra where plants grow close to the ground, protecting itself from winds. En route we may meet local habitants of this part: bears, foxes and ground squirrel which don’t afraid of tourists. We set up a campground near the Tolud pass.
Day 6 – crossing Talud pass
Over the grassy path we go through sloping Tolud pass which has a length of 12-15 kilometers. We descend to the valley which is hidden by two volcanoes and next we continue our way. We set up a camp near Tolbachinsky pass.
Day 7 – crossing Tolbachinsky pass
We cross Tolbachinsky pass from where we get an awe-inspiring view of such volcanoes as Kamen, Bezymiany and Ushkovsky. We spend a night near cinder cone Upiter in a new camp.
Day 8 – mountain Polennitsa
We leave all our equipment in the camp and bring with us small knapsacks for a radial walk. Then we head on such cinder cones as Mars and Upiter (Jupiter). Next we examine fanciful mountain Polennitsa. Mountain Polennitsa is considered as a nature monument and this area is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This mountain as if especially constructed from selected basalt columns, hence the name of the mountain. It’s believed that Polennitza is formed as a result of cooling lava flows which unusually collapsed a rock into “firewood”. We snap photos of surrounding views and head back the camp.
Day 9 – continue to go round the volcano group, canyon of the Studennaya river
After breakfast we pack up camp and then we continue to go around the group of Tolbachik volcanoes. We ford the small river Studennaya which expands in width and has a maximum depth of knee-deep in these places. If there is no water in riverbed we can examine the canyon but it is not always possible to do. We set up a camp near the stream Baranie. A day hike takes about 16 kilometers.
Day 10 – the Barany’ rocks
It’s possible to head to the valley of edelweiss and Baranie rocks before dinner. Baraniy rocks are rock outcrops situated at south-west slope of Bezymiany volcano. We make a short passage to mountain Kopyto (8 kilometers) until the evening. We spend a night there.
Day 11 – a way back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii
We head back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski city. It takes a whole day for a way back. En route we have a stop for a dinner in the familiar canteen of Milkovo village. We are tired but satisfied! We accommodate in hotel rooms situated at resort zone with a swimming pool as the day we arrived.
Day 12 – ascent of Gorely volcano
Gorely volcano is located at a distance of 75 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski city. As our drivers say there are almost no roads but only directions in Kamchatka. Therefore we use comfortable off-road vehicle. While traveling by this vehicle we have a possibility to go through off-road and huge boulders to the path from where we begin our ascent. The way time (from the city) is about 4 hours. En route we may stop on Viluchinsky pass from where we get beautiful views of the same name volcano and surroundings.
Gorely is an active volcano. It has a height of 1829 meters. The ascent is prolonged but not difficult. Therefore the ascent of this volcano is a good opportunity to warm up with a good rhythm of walking. The path of ascent is good visible. It goes through the old, solidified fanciful figures. Lava flows and cinder fields. When standing on the ground of the cone you are paralyzed from stunning majesty and beauty. It’s impossible to raise eyes from surrounding scenery.
Gorely volcano has a few cones and about 11craters. Two craters of particular interest to tourists are: “Active” in which volcanic activity continues to the present and “Blue lake” a bottom of which is a lake of great beauty.
You may see Mutnovsky volcano in the background where we head on tomorrow. We go along the edge of two craters and will be astonished by rock formation which forms their walls. We ascend the absolute top and, of course, snap photos of surrounding beauty. Descent requires specified skills so you’d better take with you telescoping trekking poles which will help your joints to cope with various kind of loads.
This evening we drive to the foot of Mutnovsky volcano. A dinner and lodging for the night are waiting for us. In case of clear weather you may see extraordinarily huge stars in the night sky.
Day 13 – a visit to the crater of Mutnovsky volcano
Early getting up and breakfast. The ascent of one of the most beautiful volcanoes in Kamchatka – Mutnovsky is waiting for us. It has an absolute height of 2323 meters. This is an active volcano. The ascent is not serious and made through the fault formed in the crater wall.
After a little climbing we see a unique spectacle – active fumaroles, boiling hot mud pots, many-colored glaciers sliding down the crater walls. You need be very careful there. You need to follow trailed path about which our guide tell you and don’t come close to hot springs which spout up from everywhere and they constitute a serious danger. You may feel how Earth breathes there.
The crater is a source for the river Vulkannaya which flows along its riverbed pierced in lava rocks for centuries and three kilometer down it falls down as a grandiose waterfall which has a height of 80 meters. This canyon is a stunning spectacle named “Dangerous Ravine” and its same name waterfall. It is worth to see. We head back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski by late evening.
Day 14 – a visit to fish market, souvenir shop and farewell at the airport
Finally we visit fish market, souvenir shops of Kamchatkan masters and farewell at the airport.