My Trango Tower Story: between bears and volcanoes in Kamchatka with Sasha Gerasimov

La Sportiva #MyTrangoTower adventures goes on with the interesting story of Sasha Gerasimov, Russian instagrammer and photographer. During this summer, he spent two months travelling across the “Far-Far-East” of his Country, bringing us and his brand new Trango Tower in Kamchatka

Russia is a very huge and insanely beautiful country, but today we will talk about a very remote and inaccessible region located at 7000 km from Moscow, which is just a huge distance, even for Russia. With this Trango Tower Story, I will tell about this interesting peninsula in the very Far East, not far from China and Japan: Kamchatka.
Sitting on the plane bringing me home I can look at the majestic Koryak volcano, but is not possible from there to really see how beautiful and huge it is. It's insane to think that just a few days ago I stood on its top, with a crazy wind blowing and a light layer of snow crunching under our crampons.
These months in Kamchatka were amazing and something inside me will always remains here, in this Country of volcanoes, bears and Ocean. Hundreds of kilometers were traversed on foot along volcanic fields and arctic tundra, visiting so many new places, and when I left my main thought was still “there are so many other things to see in this place”. I’ll come to visit it again, I promise, but it’ll be another story…

Kamchatka is a wonderful and so different place than any other I’ve ever seen before that it's hard to put down in words. I think it represents the big dream of every kid: a country of volcanoes and bears, in their natural habitat. Kamchatka is that place where everybody that come ones want to come back again and again, and sometimes it's difficult even to myself to explain what is pulling me here every time, but here it's all so easy. Everything is honest and true, here there is no yesterday and there is no tomorrow, it seems like there is only an instant that dies away somewhere in the depths. Here you can do everything, from mountaineering to kayaking passing through the sea, it all depends on what you fancy and, of course, our main resource – the time.

The best period to visit Kamchatka is summer, the weather here is pretty good all season, just take into account that the temperatures start to get warmer a little later and most likely until the end of June you could find lot of snow. It is important to consider that the weather can change very quickly, so the forecasts work for a day or two at most. Another super important thing is to choose your activities in advance and arrange the most suitable equipment, which is different for each summer month.
What people want to see on Kamchatka is certainly volcanoes. Someone chooses Kluchevskaya Hill and Stone, but if we want to consider affordable options for an outdoor enthusiast (and not a proper alpinist), the area within Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is certainly the best choice. There are many active and extinct volcanoes, as the group Koryaksky, Avachinsky, Vilyuchinsky, Gorely and Mutnovsky. Each base camp can be reached by an off-road car, but for the climb itself a special climbing equipment is necessary (ice axes, rope, borax) especially during the first part of summer. Other than that, a water proof membrane kit, puff, gloves, storm tent and a downy sleeping bag are indispensable as well for any other basic activity. About the shoes personally, I chose two La Sportiva mountaineering styles, as the new Trango Tower for trekking and approach, and Nepal Evo for the most demanding climbs.

For a trained person, the ascent to Avachinsky and Vilyuchinsky volcanoes can take up to 4 hours and a vertical gain about 1800 meters. Ascent to the Koryak volcano, instead, is best done with an overnight stay at 2000 m, because it's quite hard to go up and down in only one day. In the absence of proper experience, it is better not to go to the latter, in order to avoid problems occurring, and for this reason is always better to be accompanied by expert guides. In case of perfect weather conditions, all these volcanoes can be visited in 10-12 days, but of course is always necessary to understand the essence of your trip from the very beginning. The options are a myriad, so the best thing to do is planning your experience starting from your fancies and -most important thing – from your own tasks.
This type of tourism is practically not developed in Kamchatka, aspect which represents a problem on one side, and one of the most fascinating things about this Land on the other, and something that can make your experience even more adventurous, is the logistic…  Since you can usually move only on seriously equipped cars, truth be told, moving across the Country should be very hard sometimes, reason why at the very first visit is highly recommended to contact competent guides and organizers that will think over and set up for you all the logistics and make your life easier.

Another great and easier trip you can choose for you “Far-Far-East” adventure is the trekking of Tolbachik volcanic fields and its surrounding area. The places here are simply unreal, and it really seems to live on another planet. The atmosphere in the dead forest and on the lava flow is the theme of a separate balad. A second place that I would single out is the horseshoe-shaped valley of the Nalychevo River, which is surrounded by 5 volcanoes. Volcanic fields smoothly flow into the arctic tundra and back, giving life to a unique and wonderful place. Here, you can breathe and relax from the city's bustle, and for the 8-10 days required by the trekking you wouldn’t find at all tourist groups (at least, you could find some bears and few livestock). If you visit Kamchatka is necessary to understand that you’re in the middle of purest nature and you must follow its elementary rules of behavior and there will be no problems. Bears do not eat anyone, but they will not give themselves up for jokes, so it's necessary to have a set of protection consisting of a flasher and a rocket launcher, and is highly recommended not to leave food i nthe tents. In my last trip to these marvelous places, I’ve met more bears than people, and all of them always behaved quite polite and well, all you have to do is just accept the rules of the game and respect their lifes.

For similar trekking, where there are no demanding ascents, you can use a light tent and functional equipment, because you have to carry everything by yourself and every gram counts. Talking about food, in August and September you can find a lot of berries and mushrooms, so the menu can be diversified, but this is not to be considered as your only meal and it's necessary to have the proper food supplies for each day.
Last but not least, you have to know that also in Kamchatka you can ride a surf, no matter how wild it sounds. Pacific water is cold, maybe the coldest I’ve ever tried, but it doesn’t matter. You can find some camps on the shore, great fellows and very competent guys, ready to help you in your first sessions. I don’t think that this experience will turn you in a pro surfer, but it worth. You can also go out on a boat, fly a paraglider and so on. Activities for every taste can be found, the main thing is to understand the end in itself.

The Gear:
For hiking and trekking between the Artic tundra and the Volcanic fields of Kamchatka, I chose to bring with me the La Sportiva Trango Tower. I always loved the style and the technical features of the Trango series, light and precise for very different terrains and conditions. Tanks to its Gore-Tex membrane, you will stay safe from water, which is one of the most important thing to consider if you could never know of weather change.

About the Author: Instagrammer and photographer form Russia, Gerasimov Sasha, travels the world keep on searching for new inspiration and places to discover. Follow his adventure on his Instagram account: gerasimov_sasha


Stay Tuned! #MyTrangoStory goes on with three other incredible adventures... discover more on the dedicated landing page!

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