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Kamchatka - Land of Colors
volcano expedition to Kamchatka
..."I had a great time" (Jay R., UK after his tour in Sep 2018)
Karymsky volcano
Karymsky volcano
Klyuchevskoy volcano in eruption (photo: Martin Rietze)
Klyuchevskoy volcano in eruption (photo: Martin Rietze)

Kamchatka - Land of Colors

volcano expedition to Kamchatka
Tour type
Expedition: adventure - active volcanoes - photography
Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
Group size: 6-10
Duration
16-19 days
3-21 Sep 2023
Price per person
Kamchatka, with its dramatic landscapes, wild, unspoiled nature and many active volcanoes is a great adventure destination. Our tour is aimed towards people with an interest in volcanoes enjoying photography and adventure in a small group.

Note:
For the time being, we can unfortunately not offer our tours to Russia. We hope very much to resume expeditions once Russia ends its brutal war of extinction against Ukraine and peace returns.


The tour consists of 4 parts:
First, we plan to spend 3 full days at remote Karymsky volcano, which often has spectacular explosive eruptions of strombolian-vulcanian type. Getting there by helicopter and staying at its feet is certainly going to be a highlight of the trip and something that no other tour operator offers.
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 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, Sheveluch, Tolbachik volcanoes, 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. And like a cherry on a pie: a boat trip to Avacha Bay: a great Pacific ocean lies before you, sea animals such as sea lions, orcas and sea birds greets you, and delicious food is served.

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.
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  • 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
  • Boat trip in Avachinsky Bay
  • 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 (2022)

Note:
The following is a rough schedule of the program, based on our successful trips during 2017-19 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) at the end of the main part of the tour, you can also of course shorten the tour (without no refund in days calculations)
Day 1: Arrival in Kamchatka
Arrival at Elizovo airport (Kamchatka), pickup and transfer to our guesthouse.
Time to relax, enjoy great views. Dinner and briefing in the evening.
Day 2: Flight to Karymsky volcano
Helicopter flight (45 mins) to Karymsky volcano.
Day 3-4: 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.
Day 5: Half day at Karymsky, scenic helicopter flight back to Elizovo
Half day at Karymsky. Afternoon helicopter flight back to Elizovo.
Day 6-7: Vilyuchinsky, Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes
In the morning, we leave in our comfortable 4x4 truck to the southern plateau (4-5 hours total transfer time). Scenic views of Vilyuchinsky 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.
Day 8: 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.
Day 9-16: Central Kamchatka volcanoes: Shiveluch, Klyuchevskoy, Bezymianny, Tolbachik
D9: Transfer to Kozyrevsk village - overnight
D10-11: 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.
D12-13: Transfer to Klyutchi village - 2 nights camp in view of Klyuchevskoy volcano, option for hikes to best viewpoints of Klyuchevskoy.
D14: Transfer to Shiveluch volcano and camp.
D15: Return to Kozyrevsk village - overnight
D16: Transfer to Elizovo / Petropavovsk
Day 17: Spare day - optional excursions to Valley of Geysers or Kuril Lake
Spare days with optional excursions (by helicopter, approx 42.000 RUB as of 2019) 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!
Day 18: Boat tour in Avachinskay Bay
Boat tour to Avachinskaya bay: scenic views of dramatic coastline and volcanoes, sea animals and birds, fishing and seafood lunch on board.
Afternoon free to visit Petropavlovsk (souvenir shopping, volcano museum etc).
Farewell group dinner with local specialties.
Day 19: Departure
Transfer to airport and departure, end of service, or own extension.
Dates and details
Booking inquiry

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.

Important note

Due to limited availability of flights on the legs to and from Kamchatka and in order for us to reconfirm a tour early on, you should sign up 9-12 months in advance!

Tour guide

The tour will be guided by Andrej 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.
A volcanologist from our team will also accompany the expedition.
Our expedition leader Andrew Nikiforov

Additional info

Physical requirements

This tour is mostly easy in difficulty and has no extreme or particularly difficult hikes: we focus on getting to best locations for photography accessible by vehicle and during short to medium hikes (3-4 hours max), considering that many people will like to carry their photographic gear (no porters available!).
However, you should be in excellent health (we'll be far from medical facilities much of the time) and possess a reasonably fit condition. You should have no problems to hike over rough, rocky, sandy etc trail-less and uneven terrain with frequent ups and downs for several hours and withstand possibly adverse weather conditions (wind and rain).
The longest hikes are the excursions to the crater of Mutnovsky with an elevation gain of 500 m and the hike up to Gorely (8 km, about 800 m climbing), but both are relatively easy compared to other volcano excursions. Treks on the plateau near the Kyluchevskoy group of volcanoes and Shiveluch are comparably easy and aim to reach the best viewpoints for volcano photography.

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