Камча́тка, Russia - The Mutnowski and Gorely Volcanoes

Please see my comments on the Tolbachik Volcano Circuit.

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Photo by Evgeny Androssov

Photo by Evgeny Androssov

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drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

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the side of the mountain was quite hot. Even on this warm day, the steam was visible.

the side of the mountain was quite hot. Even on this warm day, the steam was visible.

An unnamed crater and Mutnowski Volcano behind.

An unnamed crater and Mutnowski Volcano behind.

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Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

drone photo by Evgeny Adnrossov

drone photo by Evgeny Adnrossov

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Камча́тка, Russia - The Tolbachik Volcano Circuit and Volcano Bezimienny

In August of 2016, we travelled to explore the volcanic landscapes of Kamchatka in Eastern Russia. Volcanoes are not the only reason to go to Kamchatka. Many people go there for fishing and hunting as well. It is also known for its hot springs and senatoria.

Kamchatka is quite remote and it was closed to all tourists until 1992 due to militarily sensitive areas. The landscapes of this peninsula are very unique not only in Russia but the world. Volcanoes are Kamchatka’s biggest attraction and you can see them even before you land in Petropawlosk Kamchatsky, the capital city of the region. Since the region has only one main road, getting to some of the remote volcanoes requires planning and can get quite expensive.

Our primary goal was to explore the large Kluchewskaya Cluster National Park. The Park is located 600 km from Petropawlosk and it takes around 10 hours of non-stop driving on progressively deteriorating roads to get there. The final stretch from the main road to the park is on old Soviet logging tracks (one of the primary industries fo the region back in the USSR days). The experience of the driver and the quality of the 4x4 are very important as getting stuck in this remote region could basically put an end to the trip. Thanks to Evgeny, our industrious guide, we engaged help of Sergey, a former Hydrologist who worked in the region and knows the forest tracks very well.

Another minor annoyance are the mosquitos and very unpredictable weather (prolonged periods of rain and strong tent-damaging winds). One needs luck to be able to see the beautiful views that Kamchatka has to offer. We were very lucky indeed.

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On the Kamchatka Peninsula, there are over 200 volcanoes, 30 of which are active and erupt frequently.

On the Kamchatka Peninsula, there are over 200 volcanoes, 30 of which are active and erupt frequently.

There only one road on the Peninsula. Thankfully it takes you to some beautiful places!

There only one road on the Peninsula. Thankfully it takes you to some beautiful places!

The map of the trails inside the Kluchevsky Cluster Park. Our journey was 120 km long, one of the longest in the park. One can also ascend most of the volcanic peaks without major difficulties except the weather.

The map of the trails inside the Kluchevsky Cluster Park. Our journey was 120 km long, one of the longest in the park. One can also ascend most of the volcanic peaks without major difficulties except the weather.

The summit cone of one of the volcanoes near Petropawlosk Kamchatsky from the landing airplane. I was so excited to be in this mysterious land!

The summit cone of one of the volcanoes near Petropawlosk Kamchatsky from the landing airplane. I was so excited to be in this mysterious land!

Kamchatka - wild and green - looks splendid!

Kamchatka - wild and green - looks splendid!

The modern airport of Petropawlowsk.

The modern airport of Petropawlowsk.

On the road from Petropawlosk to the trail. It is a long drive through pristine tajga forests full of bears and mosquitoes.

On the road from Petropawlosk to the trail. It is a long drive through pristine tajga forests full of bears and mosquitoes.

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The Kamchatka River is the largest river on the peninsula. You can see the Volcano Kameny above the tajga forest. It is at least 80 km away through the mosquito infested tajga.

The Kamchatka River is the largest river on the peninsula. You can see the Volcano Kameny above the tajga forest. It is at least 80 km away through the mosquito infested tajga.

The Kamchatka River

The Kamchatka River

The Kamchatka River and the Kluchewskaya group of volcanoes from the drone.  Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The Kamchatka River and the Kluchewskaya group of volcanoes from the drone. Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The Kamchatka River from the drone.  Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The Kamchatka River from the drone. Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The Kluchewskaya Sobka 4,750m Volcano and Krestowski Volcano 4,057m and the endless taiga forest from the drone.  Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The Kluchewskaya Sobka 4,750m Volcano and Krestowski Volcano 4,057m and the endless taiga forest from the drone. Photo by Evgeny Androssov.

Driving through taiga - home to billions of mosquitoes!

Driving through taiga - home to billions of mosquitoes!

The old Soviet logging roads can be quite challenging. We helped out the Nissan to get out of the mud. Some of the old tracks have been further damaged by the Tolbachik eruptions in 2012. The local drivers just cut alternative tracks through the thick bush. The roads are not maintained.

The old Soviet logging roads can be quite challenging. We helped out the Nissan to get out of the mud. Some of the old tracks have been further damaged by the Tolbachik eruptions in 2012. The local drivers just cut alternative tracks through the thick bush. The roads are not maintained.

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Some larger groups charter these industrial KAMAZ trucks. the truck can take up to 20 passengers and it costs 3,500 Euro for the round trip from Petropawlosk. We met a few large Russian groups that traveled this way. Some were overlanders and some were trekking in the park.

Some larger groups charter these industrial KAMAZ trucks. the truck can take up to 20 passengers and it costs 3,500 Euro for the round trip from Petropawlosk. We met a few large Russian groups that traveled this way. Some were overlanders and some were trekking in the park.

Our starting point. We started at the Stolnik hut. The forrest trucks ends here and it is walking from this point on. The large cone of the Ostry Tolbachik towers above the camp. See the ubiquitous mosquito in the photo frame!

Our starting point. We started at the Stolnik hut. The forrest trucks ends here and it is walking from this point on. The large cone of the Ostry Tolbachik towers above the camp. See the ubiquitous mosquito in the photo frame!

The simple shelters provide a welcome escape from the frequent and intense rain. The air temperature can vary by a lot in the matter of hours.

The simple shelters provide a welcome escape from the frequent and intense rain. The air temperature can vary by a lot in the matter of hours.

Our first view of the Ostry Tolbachik Volcano 3,672m.

Our first view of the Ostry Tolbachik Volcano 3,672m.

On the left is the distant Kluchewska Volcano 4,750m (the highest active volcano in Eurasia). On the right is Kamen Volcano 4,580m. More imposing and with permanent snow. The Kluchewskaya has no snow as it is active and hot.

On the left is the distant Kluchewska Volcano 4,750m (the highest active volcano in Eurasia). On the right is Kamen Volcano 4,580m. More imposing and with permanent snow. The Kluchewskaya has no snow as it is active and hot.

The beautiful tundra and the Ostry Tolbachik Volcano. The little cones in the photo are picked by the locals for medicinal purposes. They are boiled and often mixed with alcohol to create a healing concoction.

The beautiful tundra and the Ostry Tolbachik Volcano. The little cones in the photo are picked by the locals for medicinal purposes. They are boiled and often mixed with alcohol to create a healing concoction.

During our first day we had two bear encounters. We almost walked into one young bear (he run away promptly) and this old one came quite close to our camp checking us out. He lingered around eating berries but eventually left and went on. We have not seen any other bears after that but they sure came close to our tents during the night.

During our first day we had two bear encounters. We almost walked into one young bear (he run away promptly) and this old one came quite close to our camp checking us out. He lingered around eating berries but eventually left and went on. We have not seen any other bears after that but they sure came close to our tents during the night.

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Best seen from the distance!

Best seen from the distance!

Beautiful surroundings of the lower parts of the Kluchewskaya Park.

Beautiful surroundings of the lower parts of the Kluchewskaya Park.

Evgeny Androssov, our guide, is an outdoorsman from Moscow who works as a guide in Kamchatka and other interesting places in Russia.

Evgeny Androssov, our guide, is an outdoorsman from Moscow who works as a guide in Kamchatka and other interesting places in Russia.

That day, we trekked for 18 km along the Tolbachik massif. We walked through some beautiful old lava fields with bizarre formations. The contrast between black soil and green vegetation was very striking.

That day, we trekked for 18 km along the Tolbachik massif. We walked through some beautiful old lava fields with bizarre formations. The contrast between black soil and green vegetation was very striking.

Old lava fields and towers.

Old lava fields and towers.

Volcanic bombs from ancient eruptions The black soil seems to be very fertile for various kinds of moss.

Volcanic bombs from ancient eruptions The black soil seems to be very fertile for various kinds of moss.

The water made these deep channels and caverns in the soft volcanic rock. There is a narrow slot canyon that one can walk trough during the dry periods.

The water made these deep channels and caverns in the soft volcanic rock. There is a narrow slot canyon that one can walk trough during the dry periods.

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Bizarre and high lava formations. This one was at least 20m high!

Bizarre and high lava formations. This one was at least 20m high!

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Rain and drizzle were our companions (photo by Evgeny Androssov). Good rain gear is essential.

Rain and drizzle were our companions (photo by Evgeny Androssov). Good rain gear is essential.

On our way to the base of the Bezimienny Volcano, we had to cross a small pass. We were carrying 50-60lb packs so any “up” was hard work.

On our way to the base of the Bezimienny Volcano, we had to cross a small pass. We were carrying 50-60lb packs so any “up” was hard work.

Old Soviet geo marker on top of the small pass that we had to cross.

Old Soviet geo marker on top of the small pass that we had to cross.

In some areas snow lingers all year round. The summers are very short here and it can snow at any time of the year. Walking on these snow fields was tricky as sometimes there was a hidden channel of melt water. It was easy to punch right through and fall into the wet crevice.

In some areas snow lingers all year round. The summers are very short here and it can snow at any time of the year. Walking on these snow fields was tricky as sometimes there was a hidden channel of melt water. It was easy to punch right through and fall into the wet crevice.

The weather did not look good, and we were supposed to be going up a volcano the next day!

The weather did not look good, and we were supposed to be going up a volcano the next day!

Apparently there are volcanoes behind this cloud!

Apparently there are volcanoes behind this cloud!

Zimina Volcano is ahead. Often, the peaks were obscured by low clouds.

Zimina Volcano is ahead. Often, the peaks were obscured by low clouds.

The Volcano Zimina 3,081m seen from the basecamp of Bezimienny during the evening.

The Volcano Zimina 3,081m seen from the basecamp of Bezimienny during the evening.

Bezimienny Volcano exploded violently in 1956. It was very unexpected as the volcano was considered dormant. The explosion was extremely violent and the ash cloud circled the planet twice. After that event, the Soviet volcanologists started to study the caldera. This hut belongs to the volcanology institute of the Russia Academy of Science. It is no longer in use and provides shelter for hikers and trekkers and serves as a basecamp for the Bezimienny Volcano.

Bezimienny Volcano exploded violently in 1956. It was very unexpected as the volcano was considered dormant. The explosion was extremely violent and the ash cloud circled the planet twice. After that event, the Soviet volcanologists started to study the caldera. This hut belongs to the volcanology institute of the Russia Academy of Science. It is no longer in use and provides shelter for hikers and trekkers and serves as a basecamp for the Bezimienny Volcano.

Miraculously the weather cleared and we decided to ascend the Volcano Bezimienny 2,882m. It is active and the smoke is rising from the caldera. The ascent is quite steep in places and walking on sand and loose small rocks can be challenging.

Miraculously the weather cleared and we decided to ascend the Volcano Bezimienny 2,882m. It is active and the smoke is rising from the caldera. The ascent is quite steep in places and walking on sand and loose small rocks can be challenging.

Shiveluch Volcano 80km away!

Shiveluch Volcano 80km away!

The fantastic views extending over the park. From let to right: Volcan Ostry Zimina 2,743m, Volcano Ovalny Zimina 3,081m, Volcano Udina 2,921m, Volcano Plotsky Tolbachik 3,085m and Volcano Ostry Tolbachik 3,672m.

The fantastic views extending over the park. From let to right: Volcan Ostry Zimina 2,743m, Volcano Ovalny Zimina 3,081m, Volcano Udina 2,921m, Volcano Plotsky Tolbachik 3,085m and Volcano Ostry Tolbachik 3,672m.

Ostra Zimina 2,743m and Ovalna Zimina 3,081m. In the distance, Udina 2,921m.

Ostra Zimina 2,743m and Ovalna Zimina 3,081m. In the distance, Udina 2,921m.

The Zimina Volcanoes

The Zimina Volcanoes

Ovalnaya Zimina 3,081m

Ovalnaya Zimina 3,081m

Ostry Tolbachik 3,672m

Ostry Tolbachik 3,672m

The edge of the active crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. The lava dome, 100m higher was steaming and seemed unstable to climb. Not worth the risk for another 100m of elevation gain. We had the drone to provide us with a peak into the crater, thanks to Evgeny who carried it in a separate pack!

The edge of the active crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. The lava dome, 100m higher was steaming and seemed unstable to climb. Not worth the risk for another 100m of elevation gain. We had the drone to provide us with a peak into the crater, thanks to Evgeny who carried it in a separate pack!

The view from the edge of the crater. The final 200m is steep and loose. We were very lucky to have such clear day!

The view from the edge of the crater. The final 200m is steep and loose. We were very lucky to have such clear day!

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The height of the crater.

The height of the crater.

Evgeny and I from the drone (photo by Evgeny Androssov).

Evgeny and I from the drone (photo by Evgeny Androssov).

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Evgeny’s drone - max height has been reached but the volcanoes tower above!

Evgeny’s drone - max height has been reached but the volcanoes tower above!

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. The Volcano Kamen 4,580m and active Kluchewskaya 4,750m, they are very impressive! Between these two volcanoes, there is a pass at an elevation of 3,000m from where an ascend can be made.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. The Volcano Kamen 4,580m and active Kluchewskaya 4,750m, they are very impressive! Between these two volcanoes, there is a pass at an elevation of 3,000m from where an ascend can be made.

The rim of the crater, this is as high as we could go without descending into the crater itself.

The rim of the crater, this is as high as we could go without descending into the crater itself.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. This is the crater of the lava dome of the Bezimienny Volcano. It would be a tricky ascent given numerous active vents and ash.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. This is the crater of the lava dome of the Bezimienny Volcano. It would be a tricky ascent given numerous active vents and ash.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. Active crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. We could smell the smoke from the crater as we were hiking up the mountain.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. Active crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. We could smell the smoke from the crater as we were hiking up the mountain.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. The crater of the Bezimienny Volcano.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov. The crater of the Bezimienny Volcano.

View over the park and half of our trekking route. We basically circled the Tolbachik Volcano on the right.

View over the park and half of our trekking route. We basically circled the Tolbachik Volcano on the right.

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The active lava dome of the Bezimienny Volcano. The sulfur fumaroles were very active and smoke would come out with varied intensity.

The active lava dome of the Bezimienny Volcano. The sulfur fumaroles were very active and smoke would come out with varied intensity.

The outer shell of the volcanic dome of the Bezimienny Volcano.

The outer shell of the volcanic dome of the Bezimienny Volcano.

old volcanic craters seen from the top of Bezimienny.

old volcanic craters seen from the top of Bezimienny.

The Tolbachik Volcano. We were going to climb the Plotsky Tolbachik but decided not to due to inclement weather.

The Tolbachik Volcano. We were going to climb the Plotsky Tolbachik but decided not to due to inclement weather.

Evgeny is dwarfed by the walls of the crater

Evgeny is dwarfed by the walls of the crater

Evgeny inside the crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. The ground and the rocks were quite hot. There were a lot of fumaroles on the bottom of the crater.

Evgeny inside the crater of the Bezimienny Volcano. The ground and the rocks were quite hot. There were a lot of fumaroles on the bottom of the crater.

Interesting colors in the lower section of the Bezimienny Volcano.

Interesting colors in the lower section of the Bezimienny Volcano.

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Bezimienny and Kamen seen from the campsite called The field of Mars (Marsove Pole).

Bezimienny and Kamen seen from the campsite called The field of Mars (Marsove Pole).

The view of the volcanic ash cloud from the crater of Bezimienny at sunrise.

The view of the volcanic ash cloud from the crater of Bezimienny at sunrise.

The campsite at the Marsove Pole. I think that this spot is the most beautiful of all the campsites in the park.

The campsite at the Marsove Pole. I think that this spot is the most beautiful of all the campsites in the park.

The park has these shelters at each campsite to provide an escape from the rain for cooking and warming up by the fire.

The park has these shelters at each campsite to provide an escape from the rain for cooking and warming up by the fire.

The Field of Mars and the high volcanoes of the Kluchewskaya Cluster.

The Field of Mars and the high volcanoes of the Kluchewskaya Cluster.

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Ascending the Tolbachik Pass.

Ascending the Tolbachik Pass.

Tolbachik Pass with Kamen and Bezimienny behind.

Tolbachik Pass with Kamen and Bezimienny behind.

The Tolbachik Pass is an excellent view point from which all the major volcanos of the park can be seen.

The Tolbachik Pass is an excellent view point from which all the major volcanos of the park can be seen.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov.

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov.

The view of Tolbachik Volcano from the pass.

The view of Tolbachik Volcano from the pass.

Early morning on the Tolbachik Pass. We were lucky again to have such nice weather. This changed later that day and remained rainy and overcast for the rest of our stay int he park.

Early morning on the Tolbachik Pass. We were lucky again to have such nice weather. This changed later that day and remained rainy and overcast for the rest of our stay int he park.

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Udina Volcano. That day we hiked to its base some 15km away. The large open space had no water! We were looking for streams all day and could only find water from the snow melt at the base of the Udina Volcano. Apparently all water flows underground in the old lava channels. The porous volcanic rock is conducive to existence of underground rivers.

Udina Volcano. That day we hiked to its base some 15km away. The large open space had no water! We were looking for streams all day and could only find water from the snow melt at the base of the Udina Volcano. Apparently all water flows underground in the old lava channels. The porous volcanic rock is conducive to existence of underground rivers.

As we go further away from the large volcanoes, we could see them better in their full majesty.

As we go further away from the large volcanoes, we could see them better in their full majesty.

Hiking down from the Tolbachik Pass.

Hiking down from the Tolbachik Pass.

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Fellow trekkers camping at the base of the Zimina Volcano.

Fellow trekkers camping at the base of the Zimina Volcano.

Kanen Volcano and the active Kluchewskaya.

Kanen Volcano and the active Kluchewskaya.

Volcano Bezimienny that we hiked up to looks so small in front of the 4,500+ giants! The Bezimienny Volcano is very similar in its nature to Mt. St. Hellen’s in Washington State. Both had very similar explosive eruptions and both have large lava domes forming inside their craters. Volcanologists study the behavior of Bezimienny to predict the explosions in Mt. St. Hellen’s.

Volcano Bezimienny that we hiked up to looks so small in front of the 4,500+ giants! The Bezimienny Volcano is very similar in its nature to Mt. St. Hellen’s in Washington State. Both had very similar explosive eruptions and both have large lava domes forming inside their craters. Volcanologists study the behavior of Bezimienny to predict the explosions in Mt. St. Hellen’s.

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A dwarf species of rhododendron flower during the short summer.

A dwarf species of rhododendron flower during the short summer.

The base of the Zimina Volcano.

The base of the Zimina Volcano.

Another hut built by Soviet volcanologists. Old Soviet books from the hut are used as fire starter. The hut provides extremely rustic shelter from the wind and rain.

Another hut built by Soviet volcanologists. Old Soviet books from the hut are used as fire starter. The hut provides extremely rustic shelter from the wind and rain.

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These ground squirrels were everywhere and were unafraid of people. They were very plump!

These ground squirrels were everywhere and were unafraid of people. They were very plump!

Distant Sredinny Range on of the two main ranges of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is rugged and remote with no road access.

Distant Sredinny Range on of the two main ranges of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is rugged and remote with no road access.

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On the opposite side of the Tolbachik Volcano from where we started, there are extensive fresh lava fields. They were formed during the 2012-2013 eruptions. The Tolbachik Volcano is the only volcano outside Hawaii that erupts through fissures removed from the main crater.

On the opposite side of the Tolbachik Volcano from where we started, there are extensive fresh lava fields. They were formed during the 2012-2013 eruptions. The Tolbachik Volcano is the only volcano outside Hawaii that erupts through fissures removed from the main crater.

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The Zimina Volcano and the black soil of the Tolbachik lava fields.

The Zimina Volcano and the black soil of the Tolbachik lava fields.

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The basecamp of the Tolbachik Volcano is 100km away fromt he main road. It is accesible via old logging track and many people come to climb the volcano. It is a desolate place without vegetation and covered in volcanic dust and old lava. The wind here was so strong that it damaged two of our tents (one completely). The basecamp is also home to the Inspector - the Park warden.

The basecamp of the Tolbachik Volcano is 100km away fromt he main road. It is accesible via old logging track and many people come to climb the volcano. It is a desolate place without vegetation and covered in volcanic dust and old lava. The wind here was so strong that it damaged two of our tents (one completely). The basecamp is also home to the Inspector - the Park warden.

The Inspectos’s hut. One can obtain maps and commemorative pins. The inspector also collects the fees for the use of kitchen facilities by large groups.

The Inspectos’s hut. One can obtain maps and commemorative pins. The inspector also collects the fees for the use of kitchen facilities by large groups.

Our camp before the wind storm.

Our camp before the wind storm.

My tent taking a beating during the wind and rain storm. The lava rocks provided solid anchors and it was impossible to peg the tent in the volcanic sand.

My tent taking a beating during the wind and rain storm. The lava rocks provided solid anchors and it was impossible to peg the tent in the volcanic sand.

We spent the day exploring the extensive lava fields and old volcanic craters. It was all very fascinating! The cooled lava made wonderful formations. Some looked like coiled rope or roots of trees. We walked through lava caves and lava tubes. Many areas are still active and the ground temperature is in excess of 100C!.

We spent the day exploring the extensive lava fields and old volcanic craters. It was all very fascinating! The cooled lava made wonderful formations. Some looked like coiled rope or roots of trees. We walked through lava caves and lava tubes. Many areas are still active and the ground temperature is in excess of 100C!.

The edge of the lava flow.

The edge of the lava flow.

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Fresh lava field. We were often walking on top of lava channels. I was concerned to break through. The lava is very sharp and hard and could cut through like a knife. It is also very easy to walk on as the surface is brittle and provides excellent footing. The lava is black on top by has numerous shades of red and browns underneath. It form beautiful shapes like glass art. If placed in an art gallery, I am sure many people would not be able to guess what it was.

Fresh lava field. We were often walking on top of lava channels. I was concerned to break through. The lava is very sharp and hard and could cut through like a knife. It is also very easy to walk on as the surface is brittle and provides excellent footing. The lava is black on top by has numerous shades of red and browns underneath. It form beautiful shapes like glass art. If placed in an art gallery, I am sure many people would not be able to guess what it was.

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When the color of lava was yellowish, it usually indicated a hot and active area.

When the color of lava was yellowish, it usually indicated a hot and active area.

The ground was hot enough to warm up and dry our wet gloves.

The ground was hot enough to warm up and dry our wet gloves.

Incredible lava formations.

Incredible lava formations.

The distant hills are the active volcanic craters that were the epicenter of the most recent eruption.

The distant hills are the active volcanic craters that were the epicenter of the most recent eruption.

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Exploring lave caves - huge caverns that held liquid magma during the 2012 eruption.

Exploring lave caves - huge caverns that held liquid magma during the 2012 eruption.

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Evgeny marching to the top of the lava crater.

Evgeny marching to the top of the lava crater.

The pumice rock is very light but walking uphill on it can be hard as it slides from under the feet.

The pumice rock is very light but walking uphill on it can be hard as it slides from under the feet.

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Fresh volcanic crater. It is still hot!

Fresh volcanic crater. It is still hot!

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Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov

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Many craters of the recent Tolbachik eruption.

Many craters of the recent Tolbachik eruption.

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Our final day of trekking. We walked through a volcanic desert. It truly felt as if we were on another planet. It was very desolate.

Our final day of trekking. We walked through a volcanic desert. It truly felt as if we were on another planet. It was very desolate.

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Just ash and volcanic sand

Just ash and volcanic sand

Massive volcanic bombs. Some of them were size of a small car!

Massive volcanic bombs. Some of them were size of a small car!

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We were waiting for Sergei and I hiked up to the top of a volcanic cone nearby. From the top, the desolate landscape spreads out as far as the eye can see.

We were waiting for Sergei and I hiked up to the top of a volcanic cone nearby. From the top, the desolate landscape spreads out as far as the eye can see.

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Another volcanic lava flow from an old crater. This lava flow dates back to 1950s. It is old for us but very recent in geological terms.

Another volcanic lava flow from an old crater. This lava flow dates back to 1950s. It is old for us but very recent in geological terms.

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A lava bomb

A lava bomb

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Our final stop in the park was int he Dead Forest. The forest was killed by the volcanic eruption leaving only charred tree trunks. The life is returning though and the forest is regrowing.

Our final stop in the park was int he Dead Forest. The forest was killed by the volcanic eruption leaving only charred tree trunks. The life is returning though and the forest is regrowing.

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A wreck of the Soviet helicopter belonging to the Russian Academy of Science that crashed here in the 1970s.

A wreck of the Soviet helicopter belonging to the Russian Academy of Science that crashed here in the 1970s.

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Sergiey, a true Kamchatka man. He met us after the 10 day hike with beer, home baked salmon, samogon and other goodies! He know a lot about Kamchatka, the science of the landscape, the history and the people of the region. He can also drive through some pretty remote and obscure tracks that are almost fully overgrown by tajga.

Sergiey, a true Kamchatka man. He met us after the 10 day hike with beer, home baked salmon, samogon and other goodies! He know a lot about Kamchatka, the science of the landscape, the history and the people of the region. He can also drive through some pretty remote and obscure tracks that are almost fully overgrown by tajga.

A wall of lava advancing through the tajga. The lava is higher than the trees!

A wall of lava advancing through the tajga. The lava is higher than the trees!

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Massive lava field

Massive lava field

Massive lava field dwarfing the forest.

Massive lava field dwarfing the forest.

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Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov of the massive lava field

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov of the massive lava field

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov - notice our car in the bottom centre

Drone photo by Evgeny Androssov - notice our car in the bottom centre

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Canadian Rockies

This where I live and spend a lot of time enjoying the stunning nature. I am blessed to be able to have all of this beauty within an easy drive from my home. After visiting many mountain areas of the world, I feel that Western Canada is one of the most beautiful and wild mountain environments left on Earth. The following pages contain more detailed account of each individual area of the Canadian Rockies. The photos on each page are a summary of many trips and are updated quite regularly as I continue exploring my backyard. Click on each link to go to the specific page:

Kluane National Park - Yukon

Jasper National Park - Tonquin Valley

Jasper National Park - Mr Brazeau and Maligne Lake

Jasper National Park - Columbia Icefield area

Banff National Park - Wapta Icefield and Bow Lake

Banff National Park - Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

Kananaskis Country

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park BC

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Mt. Athabasca summit

Mt. Athabasca summit

Mt. Robson

Mt. Robson

Valley of 10 peaks

Valley of 10 peaks

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Mt. Lady McDonald and Canmore

Mt. Lady McDonald and Canmore

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Rundle

Ha Ling, Canmore

Ha Ling, Canmore

Mt. Nestor

Mt. Nestor

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

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The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

Cirque Peak

Cirque Peak

Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

View from Huber Victoria Col

View from Huber Victoria Col

Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

The summit of Mt. Victoria

The summit of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Victoria summit ridge

Mt. Victoria summit ridge

Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria

Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria

Lake Oesa

Lake Oesa

The summit of the Tower of Babel

The summit of the Tower of Babel

Consolation Lakes

Consolation Lakes

The Valley of 10 Peaks

The Valley of 10 Peaks

Sentinel Pass

Sentinel Pass

Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria

Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

The summit of Mt. Joffre

The summit of Mt. Joffre

Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

Wapita Icefield

Wapita Icefield

The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Rundle

En route to Mt. Woolley

En route to Mt. Woolley

The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder

The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

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Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance

Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance

Mt. Little Alberta

Mt. Little Alberta

Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

View to the north from Nigel Peak

View to the north from Nigel Peak

Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme

Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme

Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

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At the Abbot Pass

At the Abbot Pass

The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada

The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada

Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy

Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Lefroy

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Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy

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The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy

The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy

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Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

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Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

Ha Lin Peak in winter

Ha Lin Peak in winter

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Mt. Temple summit in early winter

Mt. Temple summit in early winter

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Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

En route to the Abbot Hut

En route to the Abbot Hut

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The Grand Brazeau 

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Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

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Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

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Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake

Peyto Glacier

Peyto Glacier

Mt. Lougheed

Mt. Lougheed

Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector

Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector

On the summit of Storm Mountain

On the summit of Storm Mountain

Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara

Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

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Mt. Edith Cavell

Mt. Edith Cavell

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Mt. Edith Cavell summit ridge. The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

Mt. Edith Cavell summit ridge. The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake

Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake

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