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Queries on the Kamchatka alpine program climbing

Questions on the Kamchatka climbing program - “Fire Diadem - Kluchi. Climbing volcanoes in Kamchatka: Shiveluch, Klyuchevskaya, Krestovsky, Kamen”.

Description of the program Climbing volcanoes of Kamchatka - Kluchevskaya, Shiveluch, Kamen

Question 1. How difficult is the climbing program of the three volcanoes, and what technical difficulties will the participants have to face?

Answer: The combined program of climbing several volcanoes, like any program consisting of a set of tough ascents, requires very serious attitude and cannot be considered as an entertaining hike. Technically, the only final climb of the program - the ascent of the Kamen volcano is complicated as a serious climbing route connected with overcoming steep ice and rocky pitches using alpine climbing equipment and gear. Volcano Kamen is deservedly considered the most difficult mountaineering object in Kamchatka. The ascent of the volcano Kamen can be replaced by an easier option – climbing of the volcano Krestovsky. The remaining climbing goals do not present technical difficulties, but in the format of an autonomous expedition they require a high concentration of physical and moral forces. It should be understood that any climbing expedition in Kamchatka that is a very serious challenge to the wild nature elements, which in Kamchatka does not obey at all to the will of man. Traveling in Kamchatka, tourists are subjected to the most serious encounters with the wildlife, put themselves in real difficulties and hardships, which have been forgotten long time ago in the civilized mountain areas, popular for tourism and mountaineering.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 2. What are the risks for the participants of Kamchatka volcanoes climbing program?

Answer: In addition to the usual set of the risks typical to any mountain areas, Kamchatka adds some specific dangers associated with the peculiarities of this wild and inaccessible region. The main danger and peculiarity of Kamchatka lies in its unique volcanic nature, in fact, the mountains of Kamchatka are not mountains in the usual sense of the word - they are active often erupting volcanoes. The most serious risks are associated with this natural phenomenon — the unpredictability of the volcanic activity, the likelihood of an eruption, frequent earthquakes that can cause massive rock falls and mud floods — all of that makes Kamchatka extremely challenging especially for climbing and require extreme caution when developing a tactical planning of the route.
Any tourist infrastructure is very poorly developed in Kamchatka - the possibility of helicopter evacuation or rescue from the route is only theoretical. Unstable weather conditions and the absence of any modern flight fleet do not allow us to expect that in case of accident help from outside will come in time.
In addition, it must be remembered that the animal world of Kamchatka is still preserved in almost its original form - the abundance and activity of wild animals also imposes certain features to the route planning and equipment configuration. All participants in our programs in Kamchatka are given the objects of personal defense in the event of a bear approaching - a “pepper” spray, effectively deterring predators. In addition, there is one automatic gun per group.
We must not forget about the dangers that are not so obvious at the background of fiery eruptions and abundance of bears. In particular, in July and August, the activity of mosquitoes and flies in Kamchatka is so high that it can create serious problems for tourists. Going along the route without special means of protection (chemicals, sprays, mosquito nets) is often not even possible - insects can be bite you to death.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 3. What will be the approximate weight of the backpack and how long I will have to carry it.

Answer: The backpack will be heavy. This route assumes not only a rather long stay in the autonomous conditions of the mountain expedition, all products and equipment for which are equally distributed among the participants of the program. But the presence in the set of the climbs one technically complicated route - volcano Kamen, also makes it necessary to carry the entire set of alpine climbing equipment - ropes, helmets, ice axes, etc.
The length of the main part of the route is 12 autonomous days, which, with a minimum daily food supply layout of 700 grams, will be almost 10 kg of the dry food products. Adding to this a set of communal camping and climbing equipment of 7-8 kg per person and a set of personal gear and clothes, ideally not exceeding 12 kg, we get the total weight of the backpack at the beginning of the route at least 30 kg. Proceeding from this, you should be extremely careful about the complete set of your personal equipment, exclude from it any unnecessary or duplicate elements, and make every detail of clothes and gear as light as possible.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 4. What are the requirements for the footwear for the Kamchatka volcanoes climbing route?

Answer: Mountain climbing shoes should be either new or in perfect condition. There should be no doubt about the quality and reliability of the shoes - on this route, any problem with the shoes can cause a breaking down of the route schedule and even need for the evacuation - getting along a volcanic terrain in a torn shoe or with a loose sole is almost impossible. Therefore, you should be extremely attentive to the choice of your shoes for the climbing expedition in Kamchatka. It is also not possible to have spare shoes due to the previous section of this text - the weight of the backpack on this program does not allow you to take anything extra with you.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 5. What are the service facilities provided for the participants on the route?

Answer: There are service facilities or any infrastructure on this route. At the beginning of the route at an altitude of 900 meters there is a small log shelter, but, if possible, we start the route somehow higher - there where mosquitoes are not as active as in the bush zone. Further, the entire route goes completely autonomous - without shelters, huts, hotels. All the personal needs - washing, toilet – can be realized only the field format - behind a rock or from a stream. Some of the most basic facilities will be offered to the participants in Kluchi village, but you should not expect any comfort from it. The rest of the route you will spend in the tents.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 6. What are the requirements for the physical form of the participants?

Answer: Details on the preparation for the climbing routes of a various levels of difficulty can be found in an article on this subject

The Kamchatka volcanoes climbing program is quite difficult and very demanding for the physical condition of the participants. The basis of the program is three ascents to volcanoes Shiveluch, Kluchevskaya and Krestovsky which do not require special skills, but are physically associated with very intense and serious loads, comparable in with the ascents to 6000+ meters. Many participants compared climbing Kluchevskaya Sopka with some 7000 m climbs.
That is due to the very long distances from the last camps to the summit (that is specific for many routes in Kamchatka), as well as the geographical location of Kamchatka - high north latitude and proximity of the ocean, creating anomalously difficult weather conditions combined with low oxygen level in the air. If you compare the oxygen concentration in the air in Kamchatka with same parameter on Kilimanjaro, you will get a difference of approximately 1500m of altitude — as the oxygen level at the altitude of 3000 meters in Kamchatka will correspond approximately with the altitude of 4200-4500 m at the equatorial mountain. In addition, the impossibility of getting the appropriate acclimatization, sharp altitude changes on the route, difficult terrain and the format of an autonomous expedition require special physical training of the participants.
Exercise should be targeted on the general physical endurance - running, cross-fit. Also the training for coordination - climbing, gymnastics should not be forgotten - it helps a lot to save the power when moving along the difficult terrain. Climbing volcano Kamen requires special alpine climbing skills and prior climbing experience.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 7. What are the general requirements for the personal equipment?

The first and the most important requirement is the weight of your gear. The equipment must be of good quality, as in the conditions of an autonomous expedition, any damage or malfunction of the equipment can lead to the most serious consequences. In addition, I recommend reading the information set out in an article on the subject of the equipment for the mountain climbing programs and expeditions:

Question 8. Why is this program being conducted in August, is it possible to realize the climbing programs in Kamchatka in July or September?

Answer: The climate of Kamchatka is characterized by extremely unstable weather and a sharp change of the seasons - very short spring, rainy summer, very short autumn, and a suddenly coming long severe winter. It is not so easy to choose a period of relatively favorable weather conditions in combination with the normal condition of the route - as a rule, these parameters converge by mid-August and last no more than two or three weeks in a year.
The beginning or the mid-summer period is characterized by a high level of evaporation and condensation, while the beginning of autumn — September — with all its positive qualities (good weather, crazy beautiful autumn landscapes), is completely unpredictable in weather behavior at altitudes over 3000 meters — there is high probability of the massive snowfalls and deadly high winds. So, for planning the serious mountaineering programs in Kamchatka there is no other time left as the mid-August. Choosing any other time significantly reduces the probability of success and adds additional risks to the program.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Question 9. What are the communication options available on the route?

Answer: Unfortunately, most of the route lays outside of all types of radio communications except satellite. In Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, partially on the road to Kluchi village and in the village itself, cellular services are available from Russian operators, however tariffs for them may differ greatly from continental ones, it is advisable to consult your provider on the special costs for the Kamchatka region and possibly switch on the additional services to avoid unexpected expenses.
Outside the Kluchi village, you should not count on any cellular signal. Our group has a Globalstar satellite phone, but its use is strictly limited to emergency need - since on the most part of the route this phone will be the only connection with the outside world, the phone’s battery capacity is not calculated for the calls for the personal needs. In addition, a set of VHF radio stations is used to coordinate the actions of the group in case of separation on different segments of the route or an unforeseen situation, however this means of communication are intended only for the local communication.

Text — Alexey Trubachev, founder of the MCS AlexClimb mountaineering and climbing school.

Climbing Kamchatka volcanoes - frequently asked questions

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.