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Domů English version Soutěž Info na cestu Skanzen komunismu Ruská pohostinnost Etnofest Galerie Trek kolem Klučevské Další sopky Třetí světová Závěr


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Since we have better things to do than to sit at the computer, we aren’t going to translate the whole Kamchatka website from Czech to English. A lot of information on Kamchatka can be found elsewhere. However, we would like to offer the travelers the best of it all, something you definitely won’t be able to find anywhere except on our website:  

Trek around Klyuchevskaja


Length: under 200km

Time needed: 8-9 days

Level: medium-hard

 This trek might be one of the top ten treks in the world, as far as its full-on surreal volcanic scenery and remoteness goes. It winds under some of the most exciting volcanoes in Kamchatka, notably around the foot of the highest active volcano of Europe and Asia, Mt. Klyuchevskaja (you’ll find that this beauty has different heights on different maps, she’s simply so beautiful everybody falls in love with her and messes it up). For those who enjoy the bird’s eye view, there are also several luring opportunities for ascending the volcanoes, including Klyuchevskaja. You will see incredible lava caves and you are guaranteed to see bears throughout the trek (we saw 9 of them) as well as drunk Russian soldiers by the end of it. This is the first description of this trek ever to be published on the web and since we want to share it with other trekkers, adventurers and nature-lovers, we have translated it into English to make it available for everyone. It comes with a detailed day-by-day description of the route, including the key GPS waypoints. For various reasons, this trek can be rather difficult and, therefore, should not be underestimated.  


In theory, there are two towns that offer access to the Klyuchi volcanoes area: Kozyrevsk and Klyuchi (unless you want to use a helicopter). However, in practice, it really is just Kozyrevsk. Klyuchi is a military base and you need permits to enter not only the town itself but also the military area of Klyuchevskaja in the north. Permits are a matter that is not clearly specified, but it will not entail a small amount of money or time and it often includes some sort of harassment by army and militia members. As far as we are aware, all travelers who tried to enter this volcanic region from Klyuchi were interrogated for several hours and then sent back to Petropavlovsk. The idea is to use Kozyrevsk as an entry point and walk south to north, entering the military area from the south, where the presence of soldiers is non-existent. When you finally make it to Klyuchi, all they can do is to kick you out and put you on a bus back to Petropavlovsk, which is the only thing you want to do anyway!  


As far as equipment for this trek is concerned, be prepared for everything. Maybe you will be lucky and only have to worry about having a sufficient supply of sunscreen, in case you will have a beautiful spell of sunny days just like we did in August 2002. However, the weather statistics for this region aren’t going to give you much hope for that. It rains a lot here, and when it rains, its hell. The deep eroded canyons you encounter around Klyuchevskaja are filled with brown raging streams full of stones and boulders. Fording them or negotiating the steep slippery slopes of gorges full of stones of all sizes isn’t fun unless you are Indiana Jones crossed with James Bond with a flying gene of Superman. It can snow anytime, even in summer and strong winds can change a beautiful day into an apocalyptic desert storm. If you want to climb volcanoes, consider bringing a helmet, crampons and ice-axe, depending on the volcano and the snow cover.

A wide range of volcanic terrains makes the whole trip magical, but also extremely difficult in places. Those who don’t swear will swear and those who swear will invent a new vocabulary of taboo words. Be sure to have all leather hiking boots, trekking poles and gaiters. GPS is a necessity, reliable and detailed maps of the area are not available. Running water can be found even in dry weather, although it might not be crystal clear. You are in bear country, follow the safety rules. And last but not least, be prepared for mosquitoes! 


Leave Petropavlovsk on the early morning bus to Kozyrevsk, it’s necessary to book in advance. In Kozyrevsk, N56°03’42,3“ E159°52’15,2“, buy your last basic food supplies, you won’t encounter any other civilized places like it until you reach Klyuchi. Hire a truck to Leningradskaja baza. Several locals do it, so there are more opportunities, some cheaper and some more expensive. It’s a 50km trip and as a general rule, the more people traveling the less you will pay. We got 18 people together, so we paid $13 each. You will travel for several hours through a taiga full of forest berries and mosquitoes up to the lava field of Tolbachik, where an abandoned scientific base, Leningradskaja baza 55°44’20,3“ 160°16’47,8“, is situated. The surrounding moon-like environment is the result of the 1975 Tolbachik eruption. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Russians tested their moon vehicles, such as Lunochod, here. If you get here early enough and the visibility is good, check out the snow-covered Tolbachik to the north. You can stay in these log cabins and feel almost like you’re at home – wood stove, food and the good company of big hearted Russian hikers will not make you want to start your trek in a hurry. It’s nice to just wander around the base for a start, however, note that it’s easy to get lost here in foggy weather. 

Day1, 40km>

A day trip to the lava caves and wrecked helicopter in the south. Leave your gear at the base, pack headlights, food and water for a day. A hell of a long day. Walk S along the black and red lava fields covered with volcanic sand and ashes, adore the isolated beauty of the flowers. Helicopter remnants -  55°39’32,6“ 160°14’39,7“ are to be found in the dead forest. Walk further, and descend amongst the first bushes and trees. Watch out for bears. Enjoy the forest berries. Towards  the end of the lava field, there are 3 caves: 55°37’07,5“ 160°10’22,3“, the 2nd one 110 meters away: 55°37’04,6“ 160°10‘21,6“ (two sub-caves inside, one small glacier lake), the 3rd 55°37’04,3“ 160°10’24,0“ is a good source of fresh water. Although these aren’t lime caves, notice the karst features that occur here – 25 year old baby stalactites are really cute. Return the same way. 

Day2, about 15km>

If you have good weather, you can climb Tolbachik. We had bad weather so we decided to start our trek straightaway. The detailed description of the climb can be obtained from experienced Russian hikers at the base. (Lake in the crater of Tolb.55°49,2239‘ 160°22,6691‘, the actual peak Ostrij Tolbachik (3672m) 55°49,9190‘ 160°19,8973‘).

The trek around Klyuchevskaja starts at Len.baza. Don’t be surprised if you don’t meet anybody from now on, except for bears. Walk E to a hunting cabin Tolud, about 15km away 55°45,0250‘ 160°25,4680‘ (note we are changing the GPS format here, sorry for the inconvenience). Once at the cabin, watch out for mosquitoes and bears; especially while getting water from the nearby river. If you are lucky, you may be able to see Kronockaja sopka (3521m) in the S. 

Day3, about 25km>

Descend to the river bed, it’s only a short walk to the big confluence of two large dry rivers 55°44,7250‘ 160°25,8540‘.  Next, hike NE along the stony and bouldery riverbed, later along the top of the river bank, pick mushrooms and blueberries for dinner, walk slightly to the left of the not so prominent grassy Tolud saddle 55°47,5975‘ 160°29,6578‘.

Tolbachik is in the W and as you will move north, there will be Boljshaja Udina (2920m), and then Ovalnaja Zimina on your right, and that’s where you will camp 55°53,0220‘ 160°31,5710‘ If the visibility is good, you will see Tolbachik from the other side and Bezymjanyj, Kamen and Klyuchevskaja in the N. There is a stream with pure water here. Above the camp, there is a rock formation where you can store your food overnight. 

Day4, 15-20km>

Short ascent to Tolbachik saddle: 55°53, 4360‘160°31, 1740‘. Breath-taking panoramic view meets Lord of the Rings landscape, only this is better. It is a short, but steep descent to a grassy lava field; you can climb Jupiter on the left, then NNE along the basalt formations on the right. Take a short turn E when you get to a flat plateau to Bezymjanyj saddle 55°55,6880‘ 160°33,1640‘ with a geodesic sign featuring a sickle and hammer. Watch the marmots, but do not feed them. Circumnavigate the slopes of the hills under Bezymjanyj until you reach a small cabin used by helicopter tour operators. You can either camp here or walk to our campsite 55°56,6920‘ 160°37,8200‘, it is a little bit depressing, with no grass, moss or lichen, but it gives you a view of all 3 volcanoes and provides a good starting point for the Bezymjanzyj ascent. Water source to the N. Note that there is also a possibility of a Bez. ascent from the side of the cabin, but we cannot provide the details of that. 


Bezymjanyj volcano (2869m) day trip: start early as visibility is usually the best in the morning. Pack your stuff and climb to the starting point: 55°57,725‘160°37,739‘(This could actually be a campsite, too, but there doesn’t seem to be much water around). From here, climb up. Sounds easy doesn’t it, but depending on the current weather and volcanic conditions, this could be the last trip you will ever take. Be careful and check the volcano’s activity before you set off for this trip. You will have a crumbling ridge on your right and a smoking volcano ahead on your left. What looks like a volcano now didn’t exist until a few years ago when the original mountain blew its top off (the remnant of the mountain is the eroded mountain side on your right) and a new, somewhat lower, but still active baby monster grew in the center. You should wear a helmet as you will be exposed to falling rocks and flying projectiles from both sides, an eroded mountain side from the right and sizzling volcanic rock shooting from the rim of the hot crater, some 1500m above you. The rock falling situation is so serious that you shouldn’t even climb Bezymjanyj unless there is good visibility and you can handle the situation. After about an hour, you’ll be above the danger zone, heat your feet with hot air puffing through the cracks of the stones and walk across two snowfields ahead. After that, climb the crater, crampons might be worth considering. You will have to stay under the crater rim as the volcano might be spewing a lot of smoke that can abruptly change directions with the wind. Therefore, this is our highest point: 55°58,259‘ 160°35,699‘ (The actual summit of the new crater, if you can get to it, should be 55°58,2597‘ 160°35,6989‘). Great views of impressive S face of Kamen (4579m). Descend the same way. If you survive, say thanks to your Guardian Angel. There are nasty gorges on the way to our camp, 55°58,420‘160°38,120‘.  It seems to be easier to walk more towards the E and camp on the flat plateau under the glacier. There’s also cleaner water there. 

Day6, under 20km>

The visibility tends to be the best in the morning – apart from new views of our volcanoes, a mountain range with the most prominent mountain Shish (2340m) can be seen to the SE. Climb down along the ridge to the plateau under the glacier. This is where you would turn, providing you are planning to ascend Klyuchevskaja. The first part of the climb goes along the right side of the glacier, the first camp is 56°01,3010‘ 160°38,4200‘, the second is situated in the saddle between Kam. and Kl. 56°02,0790‘ 160°36,6200‘. From here, make a return trip to the summit and back. (56°03,3130‘ 160°38,5220‘). We have been given these waypoints from our Russian friends although we didn’t climb Kl. to confirm them, but we believe they are accurate. In spite of the unusual snow cover in 2002, our friends completed the climb with no crampons, ice-picks or any other high-tech outdoor equipment and they sledded down on plastic bags, but not everybody can do that! Back to our trek, in the next 2 days, we will walk around Kl. itself. It’s vital not to walk close around the mountain, as there is an innumerable amount of canyons that are extremely difficult to negotiate, especially in bad weather. The further away you walk from the volcano, the less common and friendlier the canyons/gorges tend to be. Therefore, walk E, down along the river Suchaja Chapica. Notice the huge boulders on the sides of the eroded canyon that can fall anytime. Walk as far as 55°57,159‘ 160°44,306‘, where you will turn N. Fording the river might not be fun in bad weather, it gets wilder as you walk along it – it’s better to stay on the N bank of it. You should also get water here, as there might not be any opportunity later, especially in dry weather. Although there are some gorges on the way, it’s generally a pleasant walk for the rest of the day. Walk towards the mini crater Udachina  55°59,048‘ 160°46,874‘ (1064m), where you will camp. Finally, there is life here: grass, flowers, blueberries (and bears). There is no water in the campsite, but its well worth it: the crater above the campsite has some incredible erotic shapes! (and other vistas). 


It has already been mentioned that there are less canyons/gorges further from the volcano: walk more towards the NE than N. There will still be some bastards on the way, so be prepared. There is an abandoned volcanologists’ cabin, not worth visiting, we mention it solely as a good orientation point 56°01,006‘ 160°48,223‘. Be careful, Tiranus crater 56°03,7229‘ 160°48,2785‘, produced a seemingly innocent but killer lava field that can be recommended only to a masochist: avoid it altogether and walk W of the crater. The next stage will have higher grass and occasional stlanik, but it’s nothing in comparison to the canyons. While the first part of the whole trek was mostly at the altitude of 1000-1500m, we are slowly starting to descend, although it’s hardly noticeable. In dry weather, be sure to get water when you find some. We got really dehydrated that day until a bear showed us where water was! A camp at  Ochki crater 56°06,639‘ 160°49,925  is truly pleasant, although water from the nearby waterfall looks more like oil. Kl. is even more beautiful and there is even some high quality firewood here! 

Day8,over 40km>

There is a working volcanologist station to the NW of the Ochki crater. From here, you can get a ride in the bed of the truck, which goes between the station and Klyuchi about twice a week. We decided to walk since we would have had to wait for 2 days. Since the remaining part leads along the truck track, it’s possible to make it to Klyuchi in a day. However, it’s still almost 40km and mosquitoes and volcanic sand-dust in the second half of the day will drive you insane and leave you as a completely exhausted as a brain-dead mummy. Follow the track, do NOT feel tempted to walk straight N, however shorter it might seem to be by looking at the map. You will see Shiveluch (3307m) in the N as you approach Klyuchi. There will be locals collecting berries and mushrooms in he last leg of the day and you may try to hitch a lift, but don’t count on it since it’s probably a major offence to pick up a spy. Civilization will welcome you with a dumping site and ruined wooden houses. You will stop at the 24hrs shop Podorozhnik, where you will eat and drink everything until you burst. There will be a lot of locals, mostly girls, wanting to make friends and almost definitely some tough officers, seeking some hard currency. Don’t worry about them. Tell them your Russian friends with a guide are just a couple of hours behind and catch the first morning bus (it’s about 15mins from Podoroznik to the bus station).


Domů English version Soutěž Info na cestu Skanzen komunismu Ruská pohostinnost Etnofest Galerie Trek kolem Klučevské Další sopky Třetí světová Závěr