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Kamchatka - Mountains of Fire and Ice

- volcano expedition to Kamchatka -

Klyuchevskoy volcano in eruption (photo: Martin Rietze)
Klyuchevskoy volcano in eruption (photo: Martin Rietze)
Vilyuchinsky volcano (photo: Marco Fulle)
Vilyuchinsky volcano (photo: Marco Fulle)
S side of Mutnovsky volcano (photo: Marco Fulle)
S side of Mutnovsky volcano (photo: Marco Fulle)
The second and active summit crater of Gorely, with a boiling and acid green lake (photo: Marco Fulle)
The second and active summit crater of Gorely, with a boiling and acid green lake (photo: Marco Fulle)
SW sides of Ostry Tolbachik (3672 m, left) and Plosky Tolbachik (right) at the sunset light. (photo: Marco Fulle)
SW sides of Ostry Tolbachik (3672 m, left) and Plosky Tolbachik (right) at the sunset light. (photo: Marco Fulle)
Sunset at Klyuchevskoy
Sunset at Klyuchevskoy
S side of Mutnovsky volcano (2322 m). On the left, the valley of Mutnaya river cuts the crater (photo: Marco Fulle)
S side of Mutnovsky volcano (2322 m). On the left, the valley of Mutnaya river cuts the crater (photo: Marco Fulle)
Shiveluch volcano with the active lava dome in moonlight (photo: Martin Rietze)
Shiveluch volcano with the active lava dome in moonlight (photo: Martin Rietze)
Kamchatka, with its dramatic landscapes, wild, unspoiled nature and many active volcanoes is a great adventure destination. Our pilot tour in Sep 2017 was a great success and we are proud to present an updated program for our next expedition from 2-20 Sep 2018 - volcano photography !
The tour is aimed towards people with an interest in volcanoes enjoying photography and adventure in a small group. It consists of 4 parts:
At the beginning, we plan to spend 3 full days at remote Karymsky volcano, which often has spectacular explosive eruptions of strombolian-vulcanian type. During this time, normally, one or several of the local volcanologists also join us and offer interesting insights into actual volcano monitoring, interesting lectures about Kamchatka's volcanoes and volcanic history, ongoing research and more.
The second part is is 2-3 days in the southern plateau and includes the relatively easy climbs to spectacular Gorely and Mutnowsky volcanoes. After this first week, we spend 8 days around the northern volcano group around Klyuchevskoy and Sheveluch, where very often at least one volcano is in eruption, typically even two or three... This is usually the most adventurous part that also depends strongest on actual conditions. It involves camping and/or simple huts, easy hikes, and hopefully prolonged observation / photography during day and night in the best viewpoints of the volcanoes.
The tour ends with a few extra days which not only add a safety margin (in case changes are needed on location, or if there is an unexpected eruption that merits going), but normally offer the chance to take part in the classic, but truly rewarding excursions to famous Valley of Geysers/Uzon caldera and the Kurile Lake (for bear observations), both available as day-trips by helicopter.

During the largest part of the tour, we will have our own cook who provides us with excellent and plentiful Russian and local cuisine. Volcanological explanations during wait times, tea or dinner etc and in the field round out the tour.
  • Scenic helicopter flights to/from Karymsky
  • 3 days / nights at remote Karymsky volcano for extended observations in an idyllic setting
  • The most active volcanoes of Kamchatka: Avachinsky, Koryaksky, Klyuchevskoi, Shiveluch, Tolbachik, Bezymianny
  • Scenic Mutnovsky and Gorely volcano with spectacular craters, fumaroles
  • Unspoiled nature and beautiful landscapes
  • Autumn colors of forests and tundra
  • Possibility to see bears
  • Options for helicopter excursions to Valley of Geysers/Uzon caldera and Kuril Lake
  • Avachinsky Bay by boat
  • Small group
  • Adventure and fun guaranteed
  • Delicious local and Russian food (incl. sea food)
  • Accompanying volcanologist from our team
  • On Karymsky: accompanying volcanologist from the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Petropavlovsk

19 days program (Sep 2018)

Note:
The following is a rough schedule of the program, based on the recent pilot tour in Sep 2017 which turned out to be very good. Due to weather, volcanic and other conditions out of our hand, it is possible that the actual program on location will be adapted.
If you are not interested in the additional excursions (Valley of Geysers, Kuril Lake, Avachinky Bay) at the end of the main part of the tour, you can also of course shorten the tour.
Day 1: Arrival in Petropawlowsk - flight to Karymsky volcano
Arrival in Petropawlowsk by early afternoon, transfer to our base nearby for lunch and briefing. In the afternoon, helicopter flight (45 mins) to Karymsky volcano.
Acc.: hut or tents at Karymsky volcano (L, D)
Day 2-3: Karymski volcano
2 full days at Karymsky volcano. Observation of volcanic activity, option for short hikes in the area (e.g. to the Akademia Nauk (or Karimskoe) caldera lake, base of the active cone).
Presentation (lectures) about Kamchatka's volcanic activity and volcanic processes, typically given by an accompanying volcanologist from the Institute of Sciences in Petropawlowsk.
Acc.: as before (hut / camp at Karymsky) (B, L, D)
Day 4: Half day at Karymsky, scenic helicopter flitght back to Elizovo
Half day at Karymsky. Afternoon helicopter flight back to Elizovo, including scenic rounds around Karymsky volcano.
Acc.: simple hotel (Gelios) with private bathrooms and good public hot water pool (B, L, D)
Day 5-6: Vilyuchik, Gorely and Mutnowsky volcanoes
In the morning, we leave in our comfortable 4x4 truck to the southern plateau (4-5 hours total transfer time). Scenic views of Vilyuchik volcano, set up camp at Gorely or Mutnovsky volcano (weather etc dependent).
If good weather, we can use the afternoon to climb Gorely volcano with its impressive crater lakes.
Acc.: Camp (B, L, D)
Day 7: Half day for Gorely and return to Elizovo
Half of the day can be used to visit other features in the area (e.g. a large lava cave in the vast lava flow fields of Gorely) before we return to our base in Elizovo in the afternoon / evening.
Acc.: comfortable guesthouse with common warm showers (B, L, D)
Day 8-15: Central Kamchatka volcanoes: Shiveluch, Kyluchevskoy, Bezymianny, Tolbachik
D8: Transfer to Kozyrevsk village - overnight
D9-10: Transfer to the plateau between Tolbachik to the south and the Klyuchevskoy group to the north. Beautiful forest and tundra, possibility to see bears. Camp.
D11-12: Transfer to Klyutchi village - 2 nights camp in view of Klyuchevskoy volcano, option for hikes to best viewpoints of Klyuchevskoy.
D13: Transfer to Shiveluch volcano and camp.
D14: Return to Kozyrevsk village
D15: Return to Elizovo / Petropawlowsk
Acc.: camp, basic hostels & guesthouses (B, L, D)
Day 16-17: Spare days - optional excursions to Valley of Geysers and/or Kuril Lake
Spare days with optional excursions (by helicopter, 37.000 RUB as of 2017) to Valley of Geysers or Kuril Lake. Please let us know towards the beginning of the trip if you are interested! Both excursions highly depend on weather and are only available if conditions are good, but they are well worth doing!
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)
Day 18: Boat tour in Avachinsky Bay
Boat tour to Avachinskaya bay (optional): scenic views of dramatic coastline and volcanoes, sea animals and birds, fishing and seafood lunch on board.
Afternoon free to visit Petropavlowsk (souvenir shopping, volcano museum etc).
Farewell group dinner with local specialties.
Acc.: as before (B, L, D)
Day 19: Departure
Transfer to airport and departure, end of service, or own extension.
Acc.: none (B)
Tour code: KAM_VOL
Tour type: Expedition: adventure - active volcanoes - photography
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Group size: 6-10
Duration: 16-19 days

Dates:

2-20 Sep 2018

Price (p.p.): 4350 €  ? 

Included:

  • Invitation to Kamchatka for tourist visa (Russia)
  • Full board during tour incl. drinking water, coffee, tea
  • Airport transfers, 4x4 transfers, and helicopter flight to/from Karymsky
  • Camping gear
  • Experienced local expedition guide
  • Accompanying volcanologist and volcano photographer from our team
  • All entry fees and permits

Tour guide:

The tour will be guided by Andrew Nikiforov, mountain and expedition leader from Kamchatka. Andrew has spent many years organizing expeditions in his country for local and foreign groups and companies, and also has excellent connections with the scientists from Petropavlovsk's Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Volcanologist Tom Pfeiffer from our team will also accompany the expedition.
Our expedition leader Andrew Nikiforov

Arrival info:

The tour starts and ends at the airport of Petropavlovsk (PKC), usually reached during an overnight domestic flight (7-8 hours) from Moscow.

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