Kamchatka May 2015 Part 1

gmanpadre

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Jul 26, 2015
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Some pics from a trip to Kamchatka earlier this year, first week was a guided group based in the cabins at Avachinsky Pass and second bit was camping next to Viluchinsky volcano south of Avacha Bay and the main town Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

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After a couple of days warming up the plan was to camp halway up Koryaksky volcano and summit the next day. If your fit enough and strong enough you can do it in a single push with a day pack, I need to do a bit more work and drink less beer to get in that shape!
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Unfortunately the weather turned in the afternoon and we spent a pretty interesting night camping on the mountain, 40-50 kn winds with some stronger gusts meant we turned tail in the morning. Type II fun! This is what she looked like when we got back to the cabins.
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Couple vids of the ride out.

 
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gmanpadre

Hard Yards
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Jul 26, 2015
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Part III Viluchinsky
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Sweet camp spot.
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The mess
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Next couple of days were windy with a little bit of fresh stuff, so touring in the trees nearby was the call.
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Weather cleared up and we had a crack at Viluchinsky.
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We made it to the patch of rocks underneath the notch looker's right when the cloud started to roll in so that was that, conditions for the whole trip were changeable, not winter not spring, hard pack, wind blown, corn, some fresh a bit of everything really, no summits but an epic trip!

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Heinz

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:cool:

Koryakski is a big mountain (3456m) and would be a long skin, getting quite steep and exposed higher up and it does get windy. I certainly wouldn't manage it. I was happy to go in the heli!

Petropavlosk isn't the most attractive town.

Did you get much of view of the coastline on the way down to Veluchinsky? - pretty amazing scenery.
 

gmanpadre

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Jul 26, 2015
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Yeah Koryaksky is a big girl such a beautiful mountain too! Crampons and ice axe for sure for the upper parts, we didn't make it that far, we were able to skin and walk to the camp spot. The road down to Viluchinsky was all inland really didn't see the coast, there is a town of the same name which is where the Russian's have a large submarine base so that's totally off limits. So much to see there flying in the heli would have been awesome will go back one day for sure.

Boodwah, it was earlier this year and a bit of a mission, I live in Perth so flew to Sydney, Tokyo then S7 airlines overnight in Khabarovsk then Petropavlosk, if my dates were a bit more flexible ideally it would have been Perth to Hong Kong to Vladivostok to Petropavlovsk using Cathay and S7 but flight times weren't quite right and cathay suck for extra baggage. I use oneworld airlines as I have qantas club thru work that gives me extra baggage allowance.
 

Heinz

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I went via Seoul and Vladivostock with a couple of days in each as flights were only 3-4 a week. Quickest in total elapsed time as opposed to flying time would be via Moscow direct to PK as flights are daily.
 

gmanpadre

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I went via Seoul and Vladivostock with a couple of days in each as flights were only 3-4 a week. Quickest in total elapsed time as opposed to flying time would be via Moscow direct to PK as flights are daily.

Yeah that's one hell of a dog leg! Seoul is a good option from the east coast no direct flights there from the west though, a few years ago or maybe it's just in summer there were 2 a week flights Beijing to PK direct.
 

webberchoked

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Oct 15, 2011
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nice pics.
what guide/company did you use?
kamchatka is high on my list and but undecided if it would be best to do the heli thing or tour later in the season.
 

gmanpadre

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nice pics.
what guide/company did you use?
kamchatka is high on my list and but undecided if it would be best to do the heli thing or tour later in the season.

I'll PM you the guide's contact details mate, I reckon you could easily combine heli and touring if you had three weeks or so there, the heli's don't get going till April I think, could be wrong about that though.
 

Ramshead

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I enjoyed this, thanks for sharing. Interested in the mountaineering, skiing and travel side of things, but as a lover of all things Russian, I'm especially interested in the food, the locals and their attitude to you and other westerners - and basically any other impressions of eastern Russia which you feel like sharing. Cheers`
 

gmanpadre

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Hey Ramshead, I find Russia to be a really interesting place like yourself, it was my third time there and I will be going back. I've found the people to be warm and generous and I have made friends there that I stay in contact with regularly, in saying that when I'm there I wonder what is wrong with the place, why isn't there the same standards in their living conditions, public institutions, governance as western europe, they have the education sytem and the natural resources to do it. It seems to me the government/ruling elite tries really hard to cultivate a fortress Russia mentality to take the heat off themselves and justify their suspect activities but in speaking to them you start to gather the idea that it is a little more complex than that, a lot of interesting books have been written about the Russian cultural identity that's for sure.

The seafood in Kamchatka is awesome, big fishing industry, lots of it in town and great value, really enjoyed the smoked salmon and halibut, salmon roe, crab. First trip too Kamchatka was in summer on a budget hiking trip, great fun group, protein for the two weeks though was tinned beef, tinned mackerel and salami I'm not fussy so I was fine, actually got a fondness for the tinned beef! In general though food is a little bland it's all about the condiments, sauces, pickles, preserves, soups are good as well, shaslicks even better.

For me I really enjoy the feeling of it being a wild and 'natural place' that you get to yourself, tourism is not actively encouraged by the govt. they make it harder than it should be, worth the effort though.
 

Heinz

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The seafood in Kamchatka is awesome, big fishing industry, lots of it in town and great value, really enjoyed the smoked salmon and halibut, salmon roe, crab.

Yep for sure. Plenty of this stuff in the town markets, the 'in-convenience' store and restaurants in P-K. They have access to similar produce that Alaska has which makes sense and while the basics relied on the seafood and cabbage and potato, I found what they did with that was more interesting than what they did in Alaska.

Just be wary when carrying dried smoked salmon in your pack for any length of time.
 
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Heinz

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I didn't have that much contact with the local population but what I did have I found that they were generally very hospitable. It followed one of those rules which suggest that the less people have the more they are willing to give.

And while many buildings appeared to be in a state of disrepair as that was the responsibility of the landowner or government there was great care taken with interiors looked after by the people living there.

These people are poles apart from the image of rich Russian tourists you see in the West.
 
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mattyv

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Hi guys, very interesting read, and thanks to gman for sharing his wonderful trip from earlier this year.
I followed your link to the Russian mountain adventure guiding business gman , and was particularly taken with their ski touring "cruise" to the Antarctic Peninsula. Skiing in Antarctica has always been a dream of mine, and one that I never thought possible. Does anyone on here know of people that have done this cruise or any other like it? Wow, can you imagine....?!
 
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Heinz

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Hi guys, very interesting read, and thanks to gman for sharing his wonderful trip from earlier this year.
I followed your link to the Russian mountain adventure guiding business gman , and was particularly taken with their ski touring "cruise" to the Antarctic Peninsula. Skiing in Antarctica has always been a dream of mine, and one that I never thought possible. Does anyone on here know of people that have done this cruise or any other like it? Wow, can you imagine....?!

I haven't but know a couple of guides who have. These guys based in Wanaka do these trips:
http://www.adventureconsultants.com/adventure/Antarctica/

One of the guys I was heli-skiing with last week is planning on this trip this year along with guide Mark Sedon - I think he was still looking for a couple of people to make the numbers.
http://www.adventureconsultants.com/adventure/AntarcticPeninsulaYacht/

Listed in a bit to Mark discussing the trip with the other guy while skiing with them. Sounds like you can make the trip as easy or difficult as you want. Go ski touring and / or climbing from the boat and when you've had enough for the day head back to the boat and the bar.

Through heli-skiing know several of the NZ guides who do this. Can verify that they are very good.
 
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webberchoked

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The obvious choice is ice axe.tv they have a massive boat every year. I know a few people who have been.
Reports seem to be mellow ski touring as most of the clients are rich older folk. You can see how it is on YouTube if you search.
You don't go expecting amazing skiing. You go because it's antarctica. I think I'd probably do it the cheaper way and go on a sightseeing tour as the skiing doesn't look worthwhile
 
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mattyv

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Thanks guys. I will check it out further. I have always been fascinated with the great south continent. Being able to ski there could be my ultimate dream....?
 
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