Tolbachik Volcano (Kamchatka). Part 2: Ascending the Crater
Русская версия The next morning after the 10-hour trip to the foot of Tolbachik volcano we had its conquering planned. However, man proposes, but mountain disposes…
We started from our camp at about 9 AM. Our guide Ruslan said that there was no need to start earlier, as we would anyway manage within 6 hours. It was foggy from the very morning, so we did not object. Driving a bit from the camp, we stepped on the path.
The road was boring at the beginning, but then the path went along the lava. Our fast tempo did not allow us to take photos, and we were lagged behind the group. After a couple of kilometers we started to cross the lava.
This is the 2012 eruption clinker. On the internet, one may find may movies about the eruption and Tolbachik itself, which we recommend to watch. As the eruption was relatively safe, it evoked crowds of tourists. They were making photos on the hot lava avalanche and cooking on the burning lava. Rescuers installed the signs prohibiting this, but who reads the signs?
One has to be careful even walking on the lava which cooled down. It is similar to glass and may break any moment. It is recommended to have gloves with you not to cut oneself in case lava collapses under your feet.
Two previously unknown minerals were found at the place of eruption, these are probably all sorts of chemical elements here.
Lava takes really odd forms, in some places looking like guts!
This was the indescribable beauty, but the weather was becoming worse and worse. Rain, snow and then thick fog started. We kept moving to the crater, as we thought.
However, we got lost in the fog and made a stupid circle. The higher it was, the stronger the fog and wet snow became. We were going round and looking for a path in vain. Nothing could be seen even 20 meters far. As we have already written, a volcano is not an ideal mountain with a crater in the middle and a path leading there. Getting lost and dying here without knowing the way is quite easy, and even easier in the fog. On the whole, it is not recommended to be in the mountains during the fog: any landmarks are invisible and this is very dangerous.
Meanwhile, the fog comes down to the mountains within a moment: for several times we watched how small drops of water spring up and nothing can be seen around in a minute. We heard that even experienced guides may get lost, without talking about Ruslan for whom this route was not permanent. We would not have seen the crater too. After all, we rambled around in vain and went home.
This is the crater which we never reached, a picture from the Internet to show what we missed. Honestly, after other things we saw in Kamchatka – Mutnovsky volcano, Tolbachik surroundings, Esso, and even Petropavlosk – we are not too sad.
We stopped to warm and dry ourselves at the hot plot of lava. The heat is coming out from inside the earth!
A brief video to understand more about what the trip was like:
We collected lava for the souvenirs and went back home. Some decided to go on foot to the camp. They got the wrong directions and got lost, but luckily found. At the end, we returned home sad and disappointed.
Luckily Ruslan agreed with the nearby heated tent that they would let us in to dry our clothes: all the “waterproof” coats were wet. The neighbors from this tent, by the way, had ascended the volcano at 6AM, and now helped us in all possible ways, including treating to some tea. The night was very cold, and our sleeping bags were very light; it became warmer only when we decided to sleep in one sleeping bag covering with the other on the top. The next morning we woke up earlier, looking forward to the trip to the dead forest, caves, and scenic knolls. This time the weather was in our favor!
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