Kamchatka

Territory with an area of 472,300 square kilometers which is equal to the territory of Germany, Austria and Switzerland taken together; 150 extinct and 29 active volcanoes (which accounts for 12% of the total number of active volcanoes in the world), including the highest Eurasian volcano – Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4,750 m); over 160 thermal springs with a wide variety of chemical composition and temperature; the world-largest population of brown bear; about 300 climatic zones with average temperature of the hottest month (August) being +120С; 27% of the territory occupied by specially protected areas; 134 species of rare plants and animals listed in the Red Book; the Valley of Geysers, the caldera of Uzon volcano, the Death Valley, the world’s only grove of Kamchatka fir.

All this is Kamchatka – a one-of-a-kind, mysterious land famous for its volcanoes, geysers, powder snow and high-level snowboarders. Snow season starts in December – as a rule, one already can ski and ride in this month. And then, from February till May the slopes of Kamchatka mountains are just asking you to go for a ride. The advantage of this region is that there are slopes of different difficulty categories here, so both beginners and professionals will feel comfortable. You can visit even in summer – skiing in June is possible at heights over 1,000 meters. Professional guides working on the peninsula ensure safety and monitor the weather and snow conditions.

The regional center is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city, from which you can reach the potential skiing areas by car or by helicopter. Heli-skiing is popular in the central, northern and southern areas of Kamchatka. In the latter Rodnikovaya Mountain Lodge is situated at the foot of Vilyuchinsky volcano. The guides working in this area offer an ambitious program: skiing from volcanoes (Vilyuchinsky, Mutnovsky, Gorely, Zhirovskoy, Asacha and others), freerides right to the Pacific Ocean or into the crater of an active volcano (this is an adventure which can be tried only in Kamchatka).

There are many and various types of recreation in Kamchatka: bathing in outdoor hot springs surrounded with snowbanks, getting to know the traditions and culture of indigenous people, exploration of national cuisine. This is the place to spend some quality time with your friends or family. When you don’t ski, you can visit aqua park, spend an interesting evening in a chum (indigenous home), take a ride in a snowmobile or visit Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city. As a rule, after a visit to Kamchatka people come there again. Unexplored wilderness, splendid snows and discovering new places for heli-skiing will create unforgettable memories.

Avachinsky volcano (2,741 m)

Located north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city, it is classified as a Somma-Vesuvius type of volcano. Its lower slopes are ornated by the groves of Siberian dwarf pine and stone birch, while the upper levels are covered with glaciers and snow patches. It is a member of Avacha volcano group and, being very close to the city, is called a “domestic” volcano. Every summer thousands of people come here to take part in mass hiking tours up the well-trodden tourist trail.

Koryaksky volcano (3,456 m)

Another “domestic” volcano, it is situated north-west of Avachinsky volcano. This volcano has the form of a regular plicate cone truncated westward. Two glaciers 1 km and 4.2 km long stretch down to the north-eastern slope from the glacial cirque which is 500 m in diameter. Cinder and lava cones of adventive eruptions are well represented on the slopes and at the foot of the volcano. The latest lava flows were made of olivine basalts, and vast lava fields were formed at the south-western foot.

Kozelsky volcano (2,189 m)

Another member of Avacha volcano group, it is located 25 kilometers west of the Pacific coast. After several strongest explosions, the volcano is almost destroyed. Its slopes are covered with gullies and in the south-eastern part overlapped by short lava flows in various states of damage.

Being so close to the city, it is also rightfully called a “domestic” volcano and very well-liked by professional athletes and winter sports fans, as they have an opportunity to hone their skills on the Kozelsky slopes all the way to July.

Goryachaya Sopka (721 m)

This mountain, situated in the south of peninsula between the Paratunka and the Karymshina rivers, is an extrusive dome. From the top of Goryachaya Sopka you can admire the picturesque surroundings of Vilyuchinsky volcano.

On the north-eastern slope of Goryachaya Sopka at about 70 m from the foot there are Verkhne-Paratunskiye hot springs consisting of  two dozen mud springs with temperature varying from 20°С to 70°С.

The stream flowing down the slope forms natural bath tubs of a great medicinal value due to water composition. Verkhne-Paratunskiye hot springs is a popular holiday destination both among Kamchatka residents and tourists from around the world.

Karymshinskiye hot springs

Are located in the narrow valley of the left tributary of the Karymshina river.  Wells with thermal water are thought to be situated above the center of once existing volcano which is now buried under the silt.

Karymshinskiye springs fall into two clusters. The lower cluster with water temperature reaching 76°C consists of small scattered rivulets abruptly dropping down to the river over the cliff. The upper cluster of springs is located 5 km higher but their temperature does not exceed 27.8°C.

The picturesque valley of the lower cluster features tubs with medicinal thermal water which helps in curing sports-related injuries, post-traumatic conditions, musculoskeletal system disorders etc.

Vilyuchinsky volcano (2,173 m)

Located behind the Avacha Bay, southwest of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Vilyuchinsky volcano has the form of a regular plicate cone truncated westward and is made of large rock fragments separated by ice cluster. The volcano slopes are cut by deep barrancos radiating from the summit, some of which start at the midslope, making the volcano look like an octopus from a distance. The volcano is deemed extinct, and the deep-cut barrancos on its cone prove that its eruptions were such a long time ago.

In summer, you can admire a forty-meter-high waterfall formed by thawing ice and neve of one of the glaciers on the north-western slope.

Zhirovaya Bay

Zhirovaya Bay is located between Krutoy and Razdelny capes. It used to be called Yuzhnaya Zhirovaya (Southern Fatty – TN) because the fattening Avacha herring which was a targeted species up to 1950s regularly entered the waters.

The valley of the Zhirovaya river hosts the Voynovskiye and Zhirovskiye hot springs located in 15 km and 12 km from the ocean, respectively. From olden times these two clusters of thermal springs have always been popular among hunters, fishermen and tourists for treatment or recreation.

Gorely volcano (1,826 m)

The active volcano located in the south of Kamchatka is a part of Eastern-Kamchatka volcanic belt. The Gorely volcano is formed by a three-kilometer-long linear volcanic ridge consisting of three principal cones and about three dozen craters formed by one-act adventive eruptions. The whole structure is situated inside the oval-shaped caldera elongated to the north-west with dimensions 9*13 km. The north and south of the caldera bottom is flat and covered with sand, cinder and fragments of lava.

The main attraction is the largest and the most spectacular Blue Lake crater situated eastward and having sheer walls 150-200 m in height. Inside the crater, one can see an unbelievably beautiful blue-colored lake and two funnels about half a kilometer in diameter. Climbing down is only possible from the southern side. 

Mutnovsky volcano (2,323 m)

This active volcano is located in the southern part of the peninsula, near Gorely volcano and 80 km to the south of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It is a single shapeless massif formed by several cones. The volcano releases a lot of energy in the form of fumarolic emissions and many hot springs. Mutnovsky volcano is one of the largest geothermal steam fields in the world. There are two clusters of fumarole-type hot springs on the northern slope. Both thermal platforms are formed by volcanic rocks decomposed into clay. The thermal manifestations include thin steam plumes, boiling puddles and small mud pots.

Karymsky volcano (1,536 m)

One of the volcanoes of Karymsky volcanic center group, which is located 30 km from the Pacific Ocean and 125 km north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Classified as a stratovolcano. The crater is constantly releasing hot gases. Its cone is situated in the caldera of an ancient volcano with a diameter of 5 km and an area of 12 sq. km, aged 7,700-7,800 years. Karymsky is quite an active volcano – over 20 eruptions have been recorded since 1852.

At the southern foot of Karymsky volcano there is Karymskoye lake occupying the central part of the caldera of an even more ancient volcano aged over 28 thousand years. The lake diameter is 4 km, maximum depth 70 m.

Vachkazhets volcano (1,556 m)

It is situated 80 km westward from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city. The ancient rock massif Vachkazhets was divided by a strong eruption into three main distinct parts: Letnyaya Poperechnaya mountain (1,417 m), Vachkazhtsy mountain (1,500 m) and Vachkazhets itself. Two large volcanic cirques, which are most probably the remnants of the crater of the single larger volcano, still can be found near the Letnyaya Poperechnaya mountain.

This area is optimal both for summer hiking tours and wildlife observation tours, as well as for winter skiing tour programs which sometimes can be taken in summer. The base camp is located at the height of 450 m on the lake shore in the valley at the foot of Letnyaya Poperechnaya mountain and Vachkazhtsy mountain.

Opala volcano (1,400 m)

This stratovolcano located in the south of the peninsula has a symmetrical cone dissected by deep barrancos. The crater at the top is destroyed. Diameter of the volcane base is 12 km, diameter of the caldera is 13 and 19 km. Volcano is active, the known eruptions were recorded in 1776, 1827, 1854, 1894. There are active fumaroles at the top inside the central crater. Today, powerful seepage of mineral springs with considerable release of gases can be found within the volcano caldera.   Opala’s cone is well seen from the highway Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Ust-Bolsheretsk running northward from the volcano.

Zhirovskoy volcano (Zhirovaya Sopka – 1,125 m)

This is an extinct volcano located in the east of South Kamchatka. Zhirovskoy volcano, which is a member of the Mutnovsko-Gorelovskaya group of volcanoes, is trunconical and rises 400 m above the plateau with the caldera of 5*7 km surrounded by a circular sharp-crested ridge. The Verkhne-Mutnovskiye springs with slight fumarolic activity are situated on the bottom of the caldera which is covered with a mesh of fan-like ravines converging to the point where the Mutnovskaya river comes out of the caldera and where Voynovskiye hot springs are situated.

Asacha volcano (1,911 m)

Volcanic complex located in the southern part of the peninsula 90 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, southwestward from Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes.  This is a round-shaped massif of cones with dimensions of 20*22 km and an area about 300 sq. km: three cones of the western group with the Zhelty cone (1,870 m) adjacent to it in the east. There are several lower cones at the foot of the volcano.

A glacier cirque with a lake is situated in the western part of the massif, its slope is covered with faults, gorges and barrancos. Fumarolic activity is also present on the volcano.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4,850 m)

The Eurasian highest active volcano is located within Klyuchevskaya volcano group of 60 km from the coast of the Kamchatsky Bay of the Pacific Ocean. It looks like a regular cone with 70 adventive cones, domes and craters without snow and glaciers because of strong volcanic activity. For 270 years there have been over 50 violent eruptions, and in 2004-2005 during its eruption the height of ash column was record high – 8,000 m. The latest eruption was in 2009. Now the volcano is still erupting, and its height is reaching 5,000 meters.

Kronotsky reserve

Knonotsky reserve which is located in the eastern part of the peninsula on the territory with an area of 1,147,619.37 hectares incorporates the Kronotsky peninsula. It features 8 active volcanoes the highest of which is Kronotskaya Sopka (3,528 m), thermal lakes, well-known Valley of Geysers, waterfalls.  

The territory of the Kronotsky reserve is also abundant in various species of mammals, birds, fish, insects and vascular plants. The reserve is engaged in preservation of brown bear in the peninsula, the habitat of the largest protected population in the world – up to 800 animals.  

The caldera of Uzon volcano

The volcano is located in the territory of Kronotsky reserve. Its caldera is a huge bowl with a diameter of 10 km and an area of 150 sq. m which used to have a 3,000-meter-high cone. Flat bottom of the caldera is at the level of 700 m. In the south, west and north it is surrounded by steep benches from 200 m to 800 m in height smoothly transforming into the external plateau. The highest point is –

Barany Peak (1,617 m)

Numerous streams flowing on the surface of the caldera form the headwaters of the Shumnaya river. At the same time one can observe in the caldera the manifestation of young volcanism, mineral and ore formation, development of thermal lakes, seepage of the youngest oil on the planet, microbiological processes in thermal springs. There are about 100 springs and over 500 individual hydrothermal occurrences in the western part.