Expeditions in Kamchatka and North Kuril islands
Kamchatka is a special place. But there are some particularly special places inside it - not just wilderness, but a truly wild wilderness. Huge, intimidating, and at the same time beautiful, volcanoes and mountains still hold virgin slopes for the new explorers.
We offer these adventures as custom programmes for private groups and individuals by request. Please contact us for more information.
Kluchevskaya group of volcanoes
These are most active and biggest volcanoes of Kamchatka. In fact, the main volcano of the area is Kluchevskaya Sopka - the highest active volcano in Europe and Asia. The volume of volcanic rocks at this site exceeds the volume of volcanic rocks in all the Japanese islands. There are nine big volcanoes in this group and each is unique and interesting in its own way. They are: Kluchevskaya sopka, Kamen', Bezymyanny, Ushkovsky, Krestovsky, Plosky Tolbachik, Ostry Tolbachik, Zimina and Udina. All of them have been skied just a couple of times and there are still many virgin lines.
Kluchevskaya Sopka is a huge volcano with current altitude of 4835m - the altitude is not stable due to frequent eruptions. But there are enough breaks between volcanic activity to give plenty of chances to climb and ski it safely. Not so long ago the world celebrated the beginning of the Alpinism era, which started with first Mont Blanc ascent. However, not many people know that just two years later in August 1788, explorer Daniel Gauss with two partners (unfortunately unknown) made the first step on the summit of Kluchevskaya Sopka volcano in Kamchatka. No one climbed this amazing mountain over the next 143 years until 1931. It is still an absolutely wild place and while climbing you can feel the spirit of the 18th century.
Kamen' volcano. At 4585m, this is a second highest volcano in Kamchatka. One side of the volcano consists of a sheer wall of 2km, and on the other side there is a huge glacier from the top to the very bottom. It has been skied just few times, and the first descent was made by our Guide Fedor Farberov. We doubt there are many people in the world who can repeat it. But if you are strong enough you just need to pick the right time. Here is another point to remember. Research has shown the top of Kamen’ volcano has on of the lowest average temperature in Russia. Definitely not the place to ski in a T-shirt!
There is a tiny mountain hut on a pass between Kluchevskaya Sopka and Kamen’, at 3200m.
Ushkovskiy and Krestovskiy are two volcanoes joined in one giant massif with permanent glaciation. The height of the volcanoes is 3943m and 4057m respectively. There is a 25m2 plateau covered with ice on the upper part of the volcano. Skiing there should be a bit easier than on the mountains previously mentioned, but still requires excellent fitness, skiing and mountaineering skills.
Plosky Tolbachik and Ostry Tolbachik volcanoes. These are also two volcanoes merged into one massif. However, you can see differences from your first glance. At 3140m Plosky Tolbachik is a stratovolcano with a ruined top and a crater 2 km in diameter. As for Ostry Tolbachik, it’s a classic, sharp-summited stratovolcano standing 3682 meters high. Plosky Tolbachik is an active volcano, famous for its fissure type eruptions, the most powerful of which occurred in the years 1975-1976. The last occurred in 2012-2013, but it was not so dangerous, and you could safely stay nearby during the eruption. Moreover, you could ski right down to the cooling lava flow and have a barbecue there! The volcano is still active and you can see various signs of volcanic activity.
Zimina and Udina volcanoes are 3081m and 2923m respectively. They are beautiful big stratovolcanoes, which were only skied for the first time in 2000 - nobody has skied there since then. They are very interesting skiing objectives with really steep slopes and great scenery from the summits.
This perfect cone is one of the world's most beautiful volcanoes: 3528m, practically growing out of the Pacific Ocean. On the other side, the beautiful Kronotskoe Lake is its back-drop, the biggest lake in Kamchatka. On the northern slopes there is a glacier descending down to 2000m. The volcano is remarkable for its shape, stunning views and endless couloirs. Also, Kronotsky is the last big volcano in Kamchatka which no one has ever skied from the top of.
12km from Kronotsky is Krasheninnikova volcano, named after Stepan Krasheninnikov, one of the main discoverers and explorers of Kamchatka. The volcano is interesting for its structure. It is located in the caldera of an ancient shield volcano, out of which two cones rose 800m up. In one of the cones, two more cones appeared, one inside the other. There are three cones altogether, inside each other like a Matryoshka doll. Plus, this volcano is also still unskied.
This is one of the least explored areas of Kamchatka. This giant range is just slightly smaller than the Alps. But unlike the Alps, only a few villages can be found in the central part of these mountains. The southern part welcomes occasional heliskiing groups, but on the remaining territory very few ski expeditions take place. Hundreds of summits have remained pristine since they were formed, with slopes still waiting for their discoverers. The highest point of the range is Ichinskaya Sopka volcano at 3621m, which is located on the western part of the range. It is the only active volcano in this mountain range and is now showing weak fumarole activity. At an altitude of about 3000m, active outputs of hot gases (fumaroles and solfataras) can be found and a large part of the volcano is covered with glaciers. First descent from this volcano has been done in 1992 by our guide Fedor Farberov, and second time in 2016 by our lead guide Grigory Mintsev and French snowboarder Laurent Cazeaux. It was first guided trip to this volcano, and first snowboard descent ever.
North Kuril Islands
Well, It's not quite Kamchatka, but very close to it. We have always been interested in the area, and having first visited it more than 15 years ago, we fell in love with this beautiful land of islands. Our guides were some of the first skiers to leave ski tracks on the slopes of Kuril Islands’ volcanoes.
The northern part of the archipelago consists of 10 islands and the central part has 12. Most of the islands consist of a volcano, and some have more than one. The highest point of the archipelago is the island-volcano Alaid (Atlasova island) which rises 2339m from the Okhotskoe sea - the foot of volcano is 3000m below, at the bottom of the sea. This volcano has a superb shape, which was admired by Japanese poets who considered it to be more perfect than Mount Fuji.
The whole archipelago was formed due to volcanic activity, and a few islands are actually the tops of submarine volcanoes, such as Alaid. The most interesting volcanoes are Fussa (1772m) on the island of Paramushir; Krenitsyn (1324m) and Nemo (1019m) on Onekotan; Severgina (1157m) on the island of Kharimkotan; Ekarma (1170m) on the Ekarma island; Sarychev (1446m) on the island of Matua, plus dozens of other peaks which have never been skied.
The only permanent settlement is on the island of Paramushir. It has a transport connection with Petropavlovsk by helicopter and a passenger boat. In addition to skiing, the islands may be interesting due to their volcanic activity including fumaroles and a hot river on the Ebeko volcano, as well as historic events of the Second World War. One of the most significant fortification areas in the history of world wars can be found here. The only possible option for exploring the islands is by yacht.