Tolbachik Volcano (Kamchatka). Part 3: After the Eruptions | Ants in Pants

Tolbachik Volcano (Kamchatka). Part 3: After the Eruptions

Русская версия Ascending Tolbachik volcano, we saw the consequences of its eruption – the hardened lava fields at its foot. Yet, despite the widespread opinion, a volcano eruption is not just the lava flowing out of the crater. The eruption may be seen and heard hundreds of kilometres beyond the crater, in the most unexpected places and not only in the form of lava.

Just to remind: there are two volcanoes named Tolbachik: Flat (lower one) and Sharp (taller one). The Sharp one may be ascended only by real rock-climbers, it is indeed much taller and obviously sharper, always covered with ice and snow. The Flat Tolbachik is much more compliant when it comes to tourism, yet, it is much more disobedient too. Within the last 100 years it erupted thrice: in 1940, 1976, and recently – in 2012. In 2012, the tourists from all over the world came to see the eruption, walk on top of the hot lava and fry eggs on it. Up to now there are places hot enough to fry eggs at Tolbachik.

Sunset at Tolbachik.

Tolbachik volcanoes are especially beautiful at the sunset. The Sharp one, however, tend to hide in the clouds. You may see this ice mountain behind our camp. Or it is better to say, that we are in front of it, since small people seem to be dust next to this giant.
Camping near Tolbachik

The weather at the volcano foot changes within the seconds: the sun turns into clouds, rain, snow and wind.
Around Tolbachik

under Clouds

The Sharp Tolbachik shows itself after all. When you are in the mountains, you should take pictures of every object the moment you want, without promising to make it on the way back or even after five minutes: the fog may come all of a sudden within a minute, hiding the beautiful picture from you.
Sharp Tolbachik

Some vegetation breaks through the lava sand, the layer of which is over two meters.
Vegetation at Tolbachik


Around Tolbachik


After having breakfast, we put our camp down and started off to see the consequences of Tolbachik eruption well beyond the Tolbachik per se.
Tolbachik eruption

Dead Forest.

The first stop was in the Dead Forest – the taiga forests burn with lava or covered with the volcano ashes and scoria during the 1975 eruption. After the eruption, the Moon research vehicle was tested here, since the landscape and surface became extremely similar to these on the Moon. At the pictures, you may see the tops of the trees, since the trees were covered with several meters of ashes and scoria.
Dead Forest

Around Tolbachik


Some trees are twisted around: these are the consequences of thermal effect.
Dead forest

Meanwhile, in some places the vegetation starts to revive despite seven meters of ashes above the ground!
Scary movie

These are the great decorations for the horror movie.
We heard different versions on why there are the remains of the helicopter there in the middle of the forest. The most widespread story was that it could not fly up because of the volcanic ashes and stayed here forever.

Volcano caves and tunnels.

The next stop is a cave formed by the eruption. You may climb it through for several meters underground.
Lava tunnel

Lava chanel

And get stuck as Winnie-the-Pooh:
Got stuck in tunnel

In case you do not get stuck, you will climb out in the middle of the gorge formed by the eruption too.
Around Tolbachik

There is a plenty of textures and rocks – this is a heaven for geologists.
Around Tolbachik




The next stop is at the mound formed by the eruption. As we have already mentioned above, the volcano does not only erupt from the crater – several hundreds of kilometres from its foot, it may erupt forcing a pile of ground out and forming a mound. The size of such a formation is visible on the pictures, and we climbed the larger mound:
Around Tolbachik

The view from the mound, formed by the volcano, down, at the car we came by:
Amazing Kamchatka

Climbing up:
Climbing to volcano

Tolbachik eruption

On the top

The smaller mound and our new friends 🙂
Tolbachick mound

On the top of the mound, you may still fire up the stick, even though the eruption had happened three years before our visit. Pay attention to the variety of the stone colours around, as it is usually said: the whole Periodic table is there.
Tolbachik minerals

Tolbachick burning land

Around Tolbachik.

This is not just a monument, but a volcanic bomb, one of those flying around during the eruption. It has been installed here to commemorate the volcanologists who came here to study the eruption risking their lives.
Volcano bomb

On our way we also met a hare!
Tolbachik hare

In the end, the Sharp Tolbachik showed up from the clouds again.

If you still do not believe that Kamchatka is a rough land, here comes the picture of Nastya bitten by Kamchatka mosquito:
Kamchatka mosquito

After the three-day trip to and around Tolbachik, we got back to Esso, bought some red fish from the fishermen and had a great fish soup at the place of our travel companion Zhenya. After that soup and grilled fish we did not want to have any fish for quite a while back at home, it cannot even compare to the Kamchatka one. On the next day, we continued touring Kamchatka, yet, from the other side: by horses around Esso.



The trip to Mutnovsky volcano became one of the most unforgettable Kamchatka memories for us. The volcano is still active, but mainly with its fumaroles thar emit steam and gases. The volcano’s activity became useful for the geothermal power plant built nearby. Even though Mutnovsky volcano is only 80 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, it is not so easy to reach it. At first, we planned to get there on foot and by hitchhiking – this was rather naïve during the anomalously cold summer of 2015. Pay your attention: the photos were made in July!

7_DSC_3507 Geothermal Power Plant „MUTNOVSKAYA“ (Kamchatka)
Kamchatka is a unique region, famous for its wildlife. Volcanoes, hot natural springs, bears, ocean, fishing – all this fascinates and attracts tourists. One of our aims was also to visit geothermal power plant “Mutnovskaya”, which operates by volcanic activity. This time, Victor, as a power engineer, will tell how to get the permission for the visit and what you can see there. That geothermal power plant is located in 116 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky…

22_DSC_3885 TOLBACHIK VULCANO (Kamchatka). Part I: How to Get There
Along with Mutnovsky, Kamchatka is a home to 160 volcanoes; 29 of them are active. Recently, in 2012, Tolbachik volcano erupted in Kamchatka, and in 2014 it was still possible to fry eggs on its lava. When we visited Tolbachik in 2015, we did not fry eggs, but it was still possible to set sticks on fire putting them into the ground holes. This is the first part of the story about our trip to Tolbachik – one of the most wonderful landscapes we have ever seen.