Kamchatka, the name is synonymous with remoteness, wilderness, volcanoes, stunning vistas, bad roads, wild rivers, secret military bases, bears, dodgy russian aircraft...........a perfect combination for the next big adventure.
Mission: The primary aim is to climb Klyuchevskaya Sopka 4750m (last eruption March 2010), the highest active volcano in Eurasia and trek across the Klyuchevskaya Massif from the volcanoes of Klyuchevskaya to Tolbachik.
Secondary aims: Climb other neighbouring volcanoes including Ushkovsky 3943m, Bezymyanny 2882m and Plosky Tolbachik (3,085 m)
If you are into exploration and remote adventure few places provide a better playground than the remote and mysterious Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. The 1200km-long peninsula running north-south between the north Pacific and the sea of Okhotsk, is described as “one of the last pristine wilderness areas and most active volcanic regions in the world”. It consists of massive swathes of unpopulated wilderness, huge active volcanoes, remote and wild shores.
While tourists have started to visit the peninsula there isn’t much in the way of infrastructure and the ther interior is still wild and untouched place. And it is to one such area that we plan to visit. The Kamchatka expedition cuts a route through the highest and most active volcanic region on the peninsula. The 200km route crosses the high and treeless Klyuchevskaya Massiff; enroute we intend to make the ascent of at least 5 volcanoes, including Klyuchevskaya Sopka 4750m, the highest active volcano in Eurasia.
During this expedition we will trek over 200km through the untracked wilderness of the 700,000ha World Heritage listed Klyuchevskoy Nature Park. We will not encounter a single road or even a walking track and no permanent settlement for the entire trek. During the trek we will aim to climb a number of volcanoes, some of them active, including Klyuchevskaya Sopka 4750m, the highest volcano in Eurasia which erupted in March 2010.
Kamchatka has also been cut off from the rest of the world as it was, and still is, a massive military base. It is not unusual to see behemoths of the Russian Navy plying the waters of Avacha Bay. Such was the nature of the place that in 1983 the Soviets shot down a Korean Airlines 747 for accidentally straying over Kamchatka, killing all 269 passengers and crew. The region has only been open to outsiders since the fall of communism in 1990.
This trek is a serious undertaking and will suit experienced trekkers who are ready to sweat, lose some weight and feed Russian mosquitoes! We will be completely self supported throughout and as such we will be carrying all our own food and supplies. We will use gear drops when climbing the volcanoes but in-between our packs will weigh up to 30kg, reducing in weight rapidly as we eat through our food! No technical climbing experience is required, we will be using crampons above the snowline but experience is not required.
Kamchatka has the highest concentration of Brown bears (Ursus arctos beringianus) in the world. These bears’ closely related the Alaskan Brown Bear, can grow to 3 metres tall and a weight as much as 650 kgs. Humans are much more of a threat to them than they are to us as, sadly, the bears are still shot by trophy hunters. Other fauna includes wolf, salmon, arctic fox, lynx, wolverine, sable, weasel, ermine, river otter, bighorn sheep, reindeer, moose and marmot. The peninsula is the breeding ground for Steller’s sea eagle one of the largest eagle species.
The Kamchatka peninsula has been described as a natural “volcanology museum” as among its 300 volcanoes, 30 of which are active, there are those that are in every stage of life between active to extinct and have all the different attendant formations: geysers, fumaroles, thermal springs, mud pots, etc. Many of the volcanoes are considered extremely active and erupt regularly; among them are Shiveluch, Karymsky, Kizimen, Bezymianny and Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest active volcano of Eurasia. Bezymianny has been erupting during the preparation of this dossier!
Please click here to see an article written by expedition leader Amar, which was published in Australian Geographic.
The tourist infrastructure in Kamchatka is very limited. While we are in the towns the accommodation facilities will include everything from dorm rooms, to sleeping on the floor, to basic cabins. On the trek we will be camping out on the treeless high volcanic plateau, occasionally we will come across basic huts used by volcanologists.
Food will range from the sublime to gulag fare. In the towns it’s possible to eat very well; the local salmon and salmon caviar is plentiful, hearty beef stews and rice based pulofs make up the daily fare. On the trek we will be on dehydrated trekking rations.
We will travel using local buses to the last town and back. The drive to and from the roadhead will be done on amazing go-anywhere 6×6 ex-military trucks – through bogs, across rivers and up steep inclines, nothing stops these beasts. The Russians don’t build better road, they build bigger trucks!
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
Getting there and away – SC operates on a LAND ONLY basis. You must book your own flights but we can suggest airlines and flight times. Further information will be provided upon booking.
Team members should be over 21, fit and healthy as this trip involves continuous days of strenuous trekking (approx 25km a day), carrying up to 30kgs in remote areas at altitudes of up to 5000 metres.
What is included?
• Full services of a Secret Compass expedition Leader with local guides and drivers.
• All meals
• All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
• All specialist and safety equipment
• All accommodation (Including tents)
• All permits
What is not included?
• Local airport taxes
• Tips to local guides
• Beverages & any costs of a personal nature.
• International Flights
• Personal equipment. (Upon booking you will receive a comprehensive kit list.)