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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Explore Kamchatka, one of the world`s last great wilderness areas
  • Enjoy the views from the top of 4 active volcanoes
  • Fantastic wildlife spotting on the Kamchatka Peninsula
  • Remote trekking in a wild and dramatic landscape

Twice as big as the UK and with a population of just half a million people, the Kamchatka peninsula is one of the world's most important wilderness areas. Its wealth of magnificent wildlife - wolf, bear and eagle - is matched only by the splendour of its volcanic landscape. As our introduction to this part of the world, we head south from Petropavlovsk to make ascents of Gorely (with its 11 craters) and nearby Mutnovsky. This is spectacular trekking amongst hot springs, geysers and lakes of boiling mud. Returning to Petropavlovsk, we have an excursion by boat on Avacha Bay (or optional helicopter ride) and then make an ascent of Avachinsky (2748m). Next, we head north to explore amongst the Klyuchevskaya chain of volcanoes, where (volcanic activity permitting) we will hike across pristine tundra and also make the tough ascent to the top of the active Plosky Tolbachik (3085m), where the views include the striking, conical Klyuchevskoy, the biggest active volcano in Asia. With outlandish scenery, as well as great cultural and historical interest, Kamchatka is a revelation.

explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?
During the course of this trip, there are 8 days of hiking across some of the wildest and most exciting terrain on the planet. On 6 of these days, we will be walking for between 5 and 8 hours, usually on paths and reasonably well-marked trails, but also on loose volcanic scree and open tundra. There are also 2 longer days, when we climb the volcanoes - Avachinsky and Plosky Tolbachik. Each of these climbs involves a considerable amount of ascent, on scree and on low angle snow or frozen ground and on both days we can expect to be out for at least 12 hours including stops. The moderately high altitudes reached during these climbs will have a slightly adverse effect on your performance. The trip also includes a couple of long days of overland travel.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Petropavlosk. A single airport transfer is included. Drive to Gorely.
  • Trek up to the spectacular summit of Gorely (1829m) which has 11 craters.
  • Ascent of Mutnovsky (2939m) through boiling mud and fumeroles to the crater at 1829m.
  • Trek to the former hot springs at Dachnye and return to Petropavlosk.
  • Free day in Petropavlosk. Take a boat trip out onto Avacha Bay. Transfer to refuge
  • Ascent of Avachinsky (2748m). From the summit enjoy great views of Avacha Bay, Gorely and Mutnovsky.
  • Transfer to Kozirievsk on the northern side of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
  • Enter the wild heart of Kamchatka, the taiga, as we drive to Waterfall Base, close to Tolbachik.
  • Ascend to the viewpoint on Alaid Lava Cone.
  • Trek to Tolbachik's active north crater, crossing lava fields and lunar landscapes.
  • Ascent of Plosky Tolbachik (3085m). Summit views include the Klyuchevskoy (4750m) volcanoes.
  • Contingency day in case of bad weather. In the afternoon transfer to Milkovo.
  • Return transfer to Petropavlosk, stopping off en route at hot springs near the village of Esso.
  • A further contingency day. Free time in Petropavlosk should the itinerary have operated to plan.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to Petropavlosk Airport is included.
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Petropavlovsk. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Petropavlovsk International Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to Joining Arrangements and Transfers in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • peaks
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Petropavlosk. A single airport transfer is included. Drive to Gorely.

    Arriving in Petropavlovsk, KE group package services begin with a group transfer to a hotel where we have some time to rest and freshen up. In the late afternoon, we transfer (2 to 3 hours) by all-terrain vehicle, south to a camp at the foot of the volcanoes Gorely and Mutnovsky where we will spend the next three nights.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals d

  • Trek up to the spectacular summit of Gorely (1829m) which has 11 craters.

    As our first taste of Kamchatka, we will make an ascent of Gorely (1829m). This semi-dormant volcano famously boasts 11 craters. We hike across terrain which is a mix of grassy tundra, shrubby taiga and bands of basaltic rock. On the upper part of the approximately 1000 metre ascent, there are low-angle snow fields. One of the craters at the summit has active fumeroles and a lake of boiling acid. After the round trip, we return to camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Ascent of Mutnovsky (2939m) through boiling mud and fumeroles to the crater at 1829m.

    This is without doubt the most beautiful volcanic scenery on the Kamchatkan peninsula. Our vehicle will transfer us to a lake from where we make an ascent to the crater of Mutnovsky (2393m). With its pools of boiling mud, fumeroles and wonderfully colourful rock formations, this is a spectacular climb. Getting to the crater involves 4 to 5 hours walking across chaotic tundra, lava flows, cinder fields and finally, snow slopes covered in penitentes of ice until we emerge into the volcanic zone of glaciers, fumaroles, mini-geysers and the all-pervading smell of sulphur. As we ascend higher we reach a turquoise blue lake before finally reaching the crater rim at 1829m - this is the highest point for us to safely ascend to! The views down into the 100 metre deep crater, with its column of rising steam, are fantastic. We return to camp by the same route.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek to the former hot springs at Dachnye and return to Petropavlosk.

    Today we take a lovely walk to the site of the former hot springs at Dachnye. The springs were destroyed in 2007 following a landslide, but it remains a beautiful place to visit. Later we board our transport for the drive back to the hotel in Petropavlovsk.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs trekking

  • Free day in Petropavlosk. Take a boat trip out onto Avacha Bay. Transfer to refuge

    We have a free day in Petropavlovsk. If the weather is good, there is the option to arrange (at extra cost - paid locally) a helicopter flight to the spectacular Valley of the Geysers. We will also arrange (either today or on Day 14) a boat trip out onto Avatcha Bay. Situated on the Pacific coast of the peninsula, this is an amazing natural harbour some 24 kilometres long. The strait which connects the bay to the sea, is less than 3 kilometres across, so bad weather, ice and even tsunamis are prevented from harming the ships lying at port here. This boat trip provides a great perspective on Avachinsky, which rises above the buildings and shipping of the port of Petropavlovsk. For those wishing to take the helicopter flight, please note that this is weather dependent, and payable locally. The Valley of the Geysers, only discovered in 1941, is situated at the heart of the Kornotsky Nature Reserve. The geysers are the result of magmatic activity 500m below the earths surface at temperatures of more than 250 degrees Centigrade. There will be approximately 1 hour to explore on foot, keeping to the managed footpaths and observations platforms, before transferring to the Uzon caldera. Lunch will be at Nahychevsky hot springs before a visit to Bannoe Lake where the sulphurous pools are 140 degrees Centigrade! Flight time will be 1hr 15 mins on the way out and 35 minutes on return. The flight affords great views of Karymsky, an active volcano, and Maly Semyachik. In the late afternoon, we transfer by 6WD vehicle for 2 to 3 hours to a refuge which is stunningly located between the volcanoes Koryaksky and Avachinsky.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Ascent of Avachinsky (2748m). From the summit enjoy great views of Avacha Bay, Gorely and Mutnovsky.

    The fittest and keenest of the group will set out to climb the active volcano, Avachinsky (2748m) which last erupted in 1991. It is a straightforward ascent for approximately 1100 metres to the first crater and from there we have a further 700 metres on frozen scree or snow. From the summit, there are great views of Avacha Bay and Petropavlovsk and of the volcanoes Gorely and Mutnovsky beyond. This is a tough day of between 9 and 12 hours. Group members not wishing to make this ascent will have the option of a shorter hike on the scenic slopes of Mount Camel.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 9 - 12 hrs trekking

  • Transfer to Kozirievsk on the northern side of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

    A day of travel today as we transfer towards the volcanoes on the north side of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Kozirievsk is a village situated at the foot of the massif of Klyuchevskoy (4800m). Here there are not hot springs, but we will be close to the Kamchatka River which is stuffed with salmon. We'll stay overnight in a homestay - facilities will be basic, but we will be able to enjoy a traditional Russian banya.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

  • Enter the wild heart of Kamchatka, the taiga, as we drive to Waterfall Base, close to Tolbachik.

    Leaving Kozirievsk, we enter the wild heart of Kamchatka. We are in the centre of a vast plateau at around 900m above sea level, covered in volcanic ash and cinder cones up to 300m in height. The forest is home to herds of deer, bears and grouse. Rarely visited, the area was used to test lunar vehicles during the Soviet era. It's a 3 hour drive into the taiga to reach our camp, close to the active volcano called Tolbachik at the site known as Waterfall Base. There will be around 5 - 6 hours driving today. We set up our camp here and this will be our base for the next four nights.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Ascend to the viewpoint on Alaid Lava Cone.

    During the next 3 days we will make a full exploration of the Tolbachik craters. Please note that ascents will depend on the weather and your guide may vary the programme depending on climactic conditions. If all goes to plan, today we start with a short drive in the support vehicle to the Lunakhodchikov Base. From here we walk for 40 minutes to the foot of the lava cone called ‘Alaid’. It takes a further hour or so, and involves a 500 metre climb, to reach the top of this excellent viewpoint. Finally we return to our camp at the Vodopadnaya Waterfall Base.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Tolbachik's active north crater, crossing lava fields and lunar landscapes.

    Today, we hike to the active crater on the north side of Tolbachik, which erupted violently in 1975 and again in 2013 . There are two large lava cones with steaming vents (fumeroles) and we hike across these taking around 4 hours to complete the traverse. We then trek through a petrified forest to reach some impressive lava caves, created during the 1975 eruption and since changed by a more recent eruption in 2013. We traverse a moon-like landscape covered with volcanic bombs of all sizes and crossed by tortured lava flows and return to camp. A total of around 6 -7 hours trekking.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Ascent of Plosky Tolbachik (3085m). Summit views include the Klyuchevskoy (4750m) volcanoes.

    We return to the Lunakhodchikov Base to begin our trek to the top of Plosky Tolbachik (3085m). This will be a long day, crossing slag cones, bare rock, screes, snow and ice. We have around 1900 metres of ascent (and descent), with the upper part quite steep, at an angle of around 30 degrees - trekking poles are useful. The summit is a large plateau, 4 kilometres across, with a one and a half kilometre-wide crater. The extraordinary panorama from up here includes the Kluchevskaya group of volcanoes, the biggest of which is the striking, conical Klyuchevskoy (4750m), the biggest active volcano in Asia. After a long descent, we spend a final night at the camp at Vodopadnaya Waterfall Base

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 12 - 14 hrs trekking

  • Contingency day in case of bad weather. In the afternoon transfer to Milkovo.

    This is something of a contingency day in the Tolbachik area in case our programme has been delayed by bad weather. There are several hiking options in the morning for anyone who doesn’t need a rest after yesterday’s big day. In the afternoon, we start our drive back to Petropavlovsk, getting as far as Milkovo, where we check in at our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Return transfer to Petropavlosk, stopping off en route at hot springs near the village of Esso.

    We complete the drive back to Petropavlovsk, stopping off en route to bathe in the hot springs near the village of Esso on the Bistraya River. Arriving in Petropavlovsk, we check in at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • A further contingency day. Free time in Petropavlosk should the itinerary have operated to plan.

    This is another contingency day so we have the best chance of completing our trekking programme whatever the weather. If we have made ascents of all our volcanoes at this point we can enjoy some further free time in and around Petropavlovsk. If there are weather problems on day 5, this is a further opportunity for a helicopter or boat trip. This evening we have a final group dinner where we say goodbye to our guide.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Departure day. A single transfer to Petropavlosk Airport is included.

    In the late morning there is a single, timed group transfer to Petropavlosk Airport where KE group package services end.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional English-speaking local leader
  • A single Petropavlovsk Airport transfer at the beginning and end of the trip
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • When camping a full service including all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • A boat trip on Avacha Bay
  • Travel insurance
  • Russian visa fees
  • Tips for local guides and support staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

The Kamchatka area is famous for its fish, especially salmon and fish will always form part of any weekly menu. Russian cuisine is known for its exotic soups, cabbage schi and solyanka, which is made of assorted meats and there will be opportunity to try these dishes too. The food on trek will be a mix of local and international dishes, made from locally sourced ingredients.

All meals are included in the trip price other than lunches and dinners in Petropavlosk.
A transfer from Petropavlovsk Airport will be provided on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary. This will meet the mid morning arrival of the Aeroflot flight. The local guide will assist with this transfer. A representative of our overseas agent will be waiting in arrivals at these times with a KE signboard. On the final day of the itinerary, there will a single transfer back to the airport, timed to meet check in for the Aeroflot flight back to Moscow. This transfer will arrive at the airport mid morning. Anyone with flights departing after this time is welcome to join this transfer. If your flight schedule means that you are unable to take advantage of these transfers, you will need to make independent arrangements. In this case please contact the KE office. Hotel details and an emergency number will be provided.
During this trip the group will spend 4 nights in hotel accommodation in Petropavlovsk and 2 nights in a hotel in Milkovo. There are 2 nights spent in a mountain refuge where the accommodation is dormitory style. There are also 6 nights camping. All accommodation except in the refuge is on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent on this trek for an additional cost. Depending on availability, it is also normally possible to book a single room for the 6 hotel nights spent in Petropavlovsk and Milkovo. Additional hotel nights can be arranged in Petropavlovsk (subject to availability). For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The group will be accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking Russian tour leader. There will be additional Russian guides and an interpreter during the ascents of the volcanoes.

Approximately £250- £300 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including tips for your guide (allow £50). We suggest that you take your money in the form of US dollars currency, although there are ATMs in downtown Petropavlovsk. If you intend to take a helicopter flight to the Valley of the Geysers, either on Day 5 or on Day 14, you can pay for this using a credit or debit card or by cash in dollars, euros or roubles - the cost of this in summer 2014 was €750. 

Tips are the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your local guides and other local staff. We make sure that our local staff are paid appropriately and we tell them that the paying of tips is a bonus and is entirely dependent on the service that they provide. We recommend that you pay tips to your local crew if they do a good job. As a rough guide we suggest you allow a total of £50 for this.

You should restrict your luggage to your KE trek bag and one small daypack. Your trek bag will be carried in the support vehicle and, in the interests of making your travel experience more enjoyable, you should keep the weight of this bag to around 15 kgs.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude. www.keadventure.com/page/altitude.html

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

The packed weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 kgs.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

  • Daypack (approx. 30 litres)

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rating - minus 10 degrees centigrade)

  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat

  • Warm jacket (down)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)

  • Trainers or similar for camp use

  • Shorts

  • Thermal baselayer – Leggings

  • Gaiters (useful for walking in volcanic ash)

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Scarf or buff

  • Swimwear (for hot springs)

  • Travel clothes

  • Camera

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa Russia

UK and USA passport holders do require a visa. The visa fee is around GBP £65 and you must apply for it prior to departure. Please download the detailed information document: Visa PDF Russia.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but jogging and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Kamchatka's climate is as diverse as its flora and fauna. The peninsula experiences the four seasons of the northern hemisphere with warm summers and cool winters but there are as many as 20 distinct climatic zones which vary not only according to latitude but also proximity to the sea and even geo-thermal activity. All this makes temperature and rainfall very hard to predict. In general both coasts have a moderate maritime climate, while the centre tends to be more continental (hotter in summer and cooler in winter), and northern parts of the peninsula are sub-arctic. We can expect daytime temperatures to be in the region of 10 to 20 degrees centigrade, whilst overnight at our highest camps the temperature may drop slightly below freezing.

  • Kamchatka: A Journal and Guide to Russia's Land of Ice and Fire. Diana Gleadhill

  • Steller's History of Kamchatka Georg Wilhelm Steller

  • Russia and Belarus. Lonely Planet

  •  Guides Trans Siberian Railway.

  • Lonely Planet Guides Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Insight Guides

Kamchatka: ITMB Publishing. Scales: 1:1,200,000 / 1:800,000

Double-side map presenting the Kamchatska peninsula in two halves: the northern portion (from Ust-Kamchatsk to the northern border) is at a scale of 1:1,200,000, the rest is at the larger 1:800,000. Detail distinguishes paved and unpaved roads, and shows intermediate driving distances. Topographic details include swamps, waterfalls, glaciers, gullies, lava fields & volcanoes. General relief is shown by elevation tinting and spot heights for selected peaks. The map is annotated with facts about the region and illustrated with a selection of colour photographs. Three more inset maps are included: Geysers Valley at 1:8,000. A street plan of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at 1:30,000. A map showing the administrative districts of Kamchatka.

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