Real-life volcanology museum
The Kamchatka peninsula has been described as a natural volcanology museum. Among its 300 volcanoes, 30 of which are active, are those at every stage of volcanic life from active to extinct. Between them they display all the different attendant volcanic formations from geysers and fumaroles to thermal springs and mud pots. Many of the volcanoes are considered extremely active and erupt regularly, among these are Shiveluch, Karymsky, Kizimen, Bezymianny and Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest active volcano of Eurasia. The trek includes exploration of the Klyuchevskaya massif but the active volcano of the same name itself is not attempted.
If you are into exploration and remote adventure few places provide a better playground than the remote and mysterious Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East. Kamchatka is a 1200km-long peninsula running north-south between the north Pacific and the sea of Okhotsk. It is home to the 700,000ha World Heritage-listed Klyuchevskoy Nature Park. Described as one of the last pristine wilderness areas on Earth, it is one of the planet’s most active volcanic regions. It consists of massive swathes of unpopulated wilderness, huge active volcanoes and remote and wild shores that attract extreme surfers and those keen on truly remote wilderness fishing.
No tourist infrastructure
Believe the literature: the part of Kamchatka this expedition explores is remote. There are closer trekking regions near the airport – which are far busier as they’re easy to access. This epic Secret Compass expedition pushes right out into the rugged wilderness, far from the madding crowd…and also from any useful infrastructure. Prepare for tough journeys over uneven land and to forge your own route out through the volcanoes, with no trails or instructions. This is an exploratory adventure waiting for you to make it your own. It’s likely you won’t see a single road, walking track or permanent settlement for the entire trek. Abandoned Soviet architecture or planes might be spotted as cut-off Kamchatka was, and still is in places, a massive military base. It is not unusual to see behemoths of the Russian Navy plying the waters of Avacha Bay. The region has only been open to outsiders since the fall of communism.
A tough, self-supported trek
This expedition does not come with porters. You are your own porter so pack warmly but wisely. In addition to your personal kit, teammates will receive ration packs and a share of team kit to carry bringing your weight carried to around 25kg at the outset. You’ll then cover a total of up to 180km through the untracked wilderness of the 700,000ha World Heritage listed Klyuchevskoy Nature Park, leaving larger bags at basecamps when attempting summits. 1990. No technical experience is required and specialist kit will be provided but whatever your fitness levels or previous experience: train and come prepared.
Bears, flora and fauna
Kamchatka has the highest concentration of Brown bears (Ursus arctos beringianus) in the world. These bears are closely related to the Alaskan Brown Bear and can grow to three metres in height, weighing as much as 650kgs. 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.