Kamchatka Volcanoes - Russia
A fantastic two week trek to explore the legendary wilderness of the Kamchatka peninsula in the far eastern corner of Russia. The area is a designated UNESCO World heritage Site in recognition of its spectacular landscape of volcanic cones, glaciers and lakes and also its wildlife including otter, bear and eagles.
More than 300 volcanoes are found in Kamchatka, 29 of which are considered currently active. The range of different types of volcanic landscapes includes caldera, strata-volcano, somma-volcano and mixed types, the largest included in the World Heritage site is Kronotskaya Sopka at 3,528 m. In addition there is a multitude of thermal and mineral springs, geysers and other phenomena of active vulcanism.
Being surrounded by sea, the Kamchatka peninsula has a moist and relatively mild climate leading to lush vegetation. With only modest history of human exploitation, the vegetation is in largely pristine condition, and includes mountain valley taiga forest of birch, larch and spruce; extensive stone-birch forest; riparian forest on alluvial soil of poplars, aspen, alder and willow; peat wetland and extensive coastal wetlands up to 50 km wide; and subalpine shrub and mountain tundra. The region also contains an especially diverse range of Palaearctic flora including a number of nationally threatened species and at least 16 endemics.
A number of animal species are abundant, including bears, snow ram, northern deer, sable and wolverine, and there is a high level of endemism. Noteworthy birds include Stellar's sea eagle (50% of world population), white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, gyrfalcon and peregrine falcon. There are numerous seabird colonies and 50% of the global population of Aleutian tern nest on the peninsula. Almost all rivers, noted for being exceptionally unpolluted, serve as salmon spawning grounds, a key food-chain species for predatory birds and mammals. All 11 species of salmonid fish coexist in several of Kamchatka's rivers.
Adventure Alternative runs a subsidiary organisation called Russian Adventures based in Moscow. We look after all the bureaucratic details to ensure a problem-free trip.
Sasha Lebedev is our trip organiser and translater on our trips to Russia, including Kamchatka Treks. He is a reputable author with published books covering Mount Elbrus, the Altai Republic and Mongolia. His English is excellent and he is an experienced and safe guide. With his knowledge of the natural and cultural sorroundings Sasha is able to bring Kamchatka alive and make it so much more than a simple trekking or sightseeing trip.
Dates and Itinerary
We normally run this trip in August-September time. Due to the economy of costs involved we generally cater for closed groups of around 10 people. Please get in touch with us for further details and options.
1- Arrive Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Travel to Paratunka.
2- Drive to Mutnovsky & Gorely volcanoes. Vilyuchinsky volcano. Sleep in camp.
3- Hike on Mutnovsky Volcano. Sleep in camp.
4- Hike on Gorely Volcano craters. Sleep in camp.
5- Drive to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Travel to Paratunka.
6- Drive to Tolbachik Volcano area. Sleep in camp.
7- Hike to Plosky Tolbachik Volcano. Hike to Krasnaya Sopka Volcano. Sleep in camp.
8- Hike to area of Tolbachinskiy eruption. Hike on Peplovoe ash Plateau. Sleep in camp.
9- Hike to top of Plosky Tolbachik Volcano.
10- Drive to Esso. Sleep in hotel or Chum.
11- Drive to village of Anavgai. Sleep in Esso hotel or Chum.
12- Drive to Essovskaya Bystraya thermal springs. Sleep in camp.
13- Drive to Paratunka.
14- Drive to Avachinsky volcano. Hike up volcano.
15- Drive to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport. Depart.
|1||Arrival in Kamchatka in the morning (local time). Bus transfer to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of Kamchatka (about 1 hour.). Short sightseeing tour of the city. Transfer to Paratunka (a resort village not far from Petropavlovsk, famous for its numerous thermal springs), accommodation at the hotel with thermal pool Virginia or Gelios (double rooms; each hotel has it own thermal pool; facilities are on the floor). Dinner at the restaurant. Free afternoon, rest in the thermal pool.|
|2||Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer by 6WD bus to the caldera between the Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes (about 4 hrs). The road passes by the Vilyuchinsky volcano, a favorite place for downhill skiing for Kamchatka dwellers (quite often snow lies there even in July). Lunch en route. Dinner, overnight at the base tented camp.|
|3||Breakfast. Hike (without backpacks) to the Mutnovsky volcano (about 12 hours.). Hike into the crater of the Mutnovsky active volcano through a crack in the volcano's edge. The view is alarming and fantastic: eastward a glacier descends the crater's wall to end in a bluff eaten by fumaroles; opposite it rises a sheer rock, here and there columns of water vapor are curling upward. The appearance of this crater is changeable. The crater contains a lake of bitter whitish water and two groups of powerful fumaroles. One of the fumaroles throw off small drops of melted sulphur, the other - powerful jets of vapours, water and sulfureous. Near the crater, there are vast mud pits. Mutnovsky active volcano being a nest of merged craters, is perhaps the most beautiful volcanic phenomenon of Kamchatka. The view from its top is magnificent: steep walls surrounding the vast and deep crater cavity, glittering of firm and sparkling glaciers split by cracks, torches of fumaroles oscillating far below and drawing a translucent view over the northern crater, the southern crater under its armour of ice and above all this a column of vapor rising from the Active Funnel crater, surrounded by a cogged crest. Return to the base camp (40 min.). The total distance of hiking during this day is 22 km. Lunch there. Dinner, overnight in tents.|
|4||Breakfast. Ascend and hiking excursion to the chain of craters of the Gorely volcano. Gorely volcano presents the unique collection of craters - a chain, which lies across the top. The chain begins with the West crater, no longer active and surrounded by rather low rocky walls. The crater's bottom is occupied by a glacier. Next is the chain composed by craters of different age. Most of volcano's activity is concentrated in the Central crater. On its walls and bottom, there are permanently active fumaroles; their deposits color the crater's walls. The biggest and the most beautiful crater is the Blue Lake. Its bottom is occupied by a lake of tender-blue water where blocks of ice float. The last in the chain of top craters is the Cup. This crater is on the top of a rather low and perfectly regular cone. On its bottom a shallow lake of violet water is situated.|
|5||Transfer by 6WD bus to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Visit the fish market. Optional (for additional fee) visit to the Museum of local lore, the Museum of the Institute for Volcanology, Salmon Museum, or the museum and visitor center of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve (acquaintance with the especially protected nature areas of Kamchatka – Kronotsky Nature Reserve and South Kamchatka State Nature Sanctuary). Lunch at the café. Transfer to Paratunka, dinner and overnight stay in the hotel.|
|6||Breakfast at the café. Bus transfer to the area of the Tolbachik volcano (more than 500 km, about 10 hrs or more with stops in interesting places). Picnic lunch. Overnight in the tented camp.|
|7||Hiking excursions at the bottom of the Plosky (“Flat”) Tolbachik volcano. The altitude of this area is 1000 m above the sea level. (*In the Soviet time, the testing of the lunar exploring vehicle took place there). Picnic lunch. In the afternoon, hiking to the dormant volcano Krasnaya Sopka (Red Knoll) – 3 hrs, about 5 km. It is quite possible to see hares, reindeer and bears there. Overnight accommodation in the tented camp.|
|8||Hiking without backpacks to the area where the “Eruption of the Century” (the Big Cleft Tolbachinskiy eruption) took place. It is considered one of the largest basalt eruptions ever known in the volcano belt of the Kuril Isles and Kamchatka. It lasted for one and a half year (July, 1975 – December, 1976) and was included in a list of six the most powerful cleft eruptions ever happened on Earth. The events were evolving in the mid of a wood 18 km to the south from volcano Plosky Tolbachik. The eruption was accurately forecasted and studied by the scientists of the Institute of Volcanology (P.I.Tokarev). A flaming “candle” reached 2,5 km in height, and the ash cloud was 12 km long. In sequence, new clefts evolved one after another, and as a result four new cones of Tolbachinski volcanoes were formed (from 100 to 330 m high). Eruption turned an enormous territory around volcanoes into a burnt desert, the forests captured by the ash fall dried off to the root. Lakes evaporated and rivers disappeared. Those animals that had survived left the area for the best. Hiking excursion in the Peplovoe (“Ash”) Plateau (8 hrs, about 18 km). A view to this area is nice and unusual: a row of flat volcanoes, numerous clefts, streams of hot gases coming through them. Ascend 3 small volcanoes. Visit the “Fairytale” forest (ash-buried forest that dried standing during the eruption). Return back to the tented camp, overnight there.|
|9||Hike to the bottom of the Plosky Tolbachik and ascend this volcano (the total hiking distance is 20 km; this route will take us from 1000 m to 3000 m above the sea level). Ascend to this volcano does not require special technical skills. The whole route will take about 9 hrs. A view to the magnificent volcanoes of the Klyuchevskaya group (laying to the opposite side from the Tolbachik volcano) will open from the upper plateau (if we hike across the plateau). Lunch en route. Return back to the tented camp for dinner and overnight.|
|10||Reserve day for the case of bad weather. In the afternoon, transfer by 6WD bus to Esso, the national village of the Evens and Koryaks (about 4-5 hrs). Overnight in the private hotels or in the hotel of local Administration|
|11||Visit the ethnography museum in Esso. Drive to the village of Anavgai, visit the ethnography complex near-by (there are authentic “chums” - traditional dwellings of indigenous people covered by reindeer skins). Talk to local people living there, taste traditional cuisine and phyto-teas. Performance of the folk ensemble “Nurgeneck” and children folk group “Orjakan”. * For additional payment, visitors can order this day a several-hours horseback riding trip or a helicopter flight to the nomadic camp of the Even reindeer herders). Overnight in the “chum” or private hotel in Esso.|
|12||Car transfer to the river Essovskaya Bystraya (so-called "47 kilometer"), relax in thermal springs and after that rafting down a very dynamic and picturesque section of Essovskaya Bystraya river. Overnight in the tented camp.|
|13||Bus transfer back to Paratunka and relax. Overnight at the hotel.|
|14||Transfer by 6WD bus to the bottom of the Avachinsky volcano. Ascend the Avachinsky volcano (its total elevation is 2741 m). Usually tourists start ascending early in the morning. They cross the deep gorge of the Suhaia (“Dry”) river and ascend the volcano along its somma. They stop for a lunch at the attitude of 2000-2200 m and then continue ascending along the new cone of the volcano to the edge of its crater. The ascend usually takes about 6-8 hrs; the steepness of the slope is 30 o . During the ascend and from the edge of the crater, wonderful views open. To the south, the cities of PK and Elizovo can be viewed, as well as the Avacha river valley, Avachinskaya bay, volcanoes Vilyuchinsky, Gorely, Mutnovsky and, if the weather is fine, a snow-white cone of the Opala volcano. To the west, a massive cone of the Koriaksky volcano is towering. To the north, an impressive view opens to the Nalychevo river valley, Zhupanovsky and Dzendzur volcanoes. Drive back to Paratunka, dinner and overnight in the hotel.|
|15||Bus transfer to the airport, departure to Moscow. Arrive in Moscow, transfer to the international airport for the flight home.|
Kamchatka Volcanoes cost: £2,795.00
- Visa application support
- accommodation as per itinerary
- meals three times daily
- guiding and interpretation services
- services of a cook
- fees for visiting especially protected nature areas
- museum entry fees
- International Air Fare to/from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport
- Personal travel insurance
- Russian Visa
- Extra accomodation prior to arrival in Kamchatka and after drop off in Kamchatka
You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the climbs are moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of altitude may also further tax your body. You will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip. You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.
Type of Terrain
The trek generally follows well trodden paths all the way though this can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way, although some of the volcanoes can be steep and never-ending
- 1 set of thermal base layer
- 1 pr fleece pants (light,midweight eg Polartec 100 or 200 ) or warm trousers
- Midlayer - can be fleece or warm shirts, jumper etc.
- Fleece jacket (heavyweight eg Polartec 300, full zip jacket better) or thick jacket.
- Down jacket with hood. This is optional only in July and August, although if you do not bring this you
- must be sure of extra warm fleece layers to compensate, and a windproof outer.
- Shell trousers and jacket with hood
- Hiking trousers and shirts for valley treks, T-shirts, underwear etc
- Sunhat and wool or fleece hat (warm with ear flaps)
- Balaclava or something to cover the face like neck warmer
- Headlamp (Petzl with spare bulbs and batteries)
- Glacier or sunglasses (100% UV)
- Leather walking boots, worn in
- Plastic climbing boots (avoid tight fit with heavy socks) for use on snow
- Gaiters (optional)
- 2 pr heavy socks, 2 pr liner socks
- Crampons (step-ins or strap-ons, 10 or 12 point, check fit on boots beforehand, point protectors are
- also useful for storage and an adjusting tool).
- 1 pr fleecy gloves to fit inside mitts
- Mitts with gore-Tex or waterproof shells or one pair very warm gloves
- Rucksack (minimum 65 litres) or strong duffle bag
- Day pack (around 35- 40 litres)
- Sleeping bag, 3 season
- Water bottles - 2 x 1 litres capacity + covers
- Sunscreen and lipscreen (SPF 30 at least)
- Personal first aid kit
- Ski or trekking poles (optional)
- Large plastic bags (to keep things dry, eg sleeping bag)
- Travel Clothes
Additional Kit Info
Personal Medical Kit
Water Purification Tablets
Personal Medication as required:
eg. Anti-Malarials, Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc
Possible Additional Personal First Aid Items
Prochlorperazine tablets (for sickness/nausea)
Ciprofloxacin tablets (general antibiotic; prescription required)
Acetazolamide tablets (altitude prophylactic; prescription required)
Note: you must check with your GP for your personal suitability to all medicines and their possible side effects and interactions. Please inform us of the details of all regular medication that you intend to use though the course of your trip and any relevant allergies and medical history related to them. You also need to check the requirements and regulations of the airline and all countries visited in relation to medications. For example; laws governing transport of some pain control medication and the need keep insulin at a suitable temperature, ie not in the cargo hold.
- We have a subsidiary company in Russia with full time Russian emloyees to ensure a smooth trip with expert backup.
- Our Russian Guide Alexander 'Sasha' Lebedev is hugely experienced as a mountain and wilderness guide all over Russia.
- Sasha is also the author of many guidebooks including one on the Russian Altai Mountains and another on the Mongolian Altai Mountains.
- We are fully bonded by AITO in guarantee your financial security.
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains which carries out international development work in Kenya, Nepal, Borneo and the Ukraine.