Klyuchevskaya Sopka - Kamchatka
Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4688 meters, 56.0N, 160.5E, also written Kliuchevskoi, Kluchevskaya Sopka, Kliuchevskaya Sopka, Klyuchevskoi Volcano etc) is the highest volcano on Kamchatka Peninsula and also the highest active volcano in Eurasia. It is situated on the right bank of Kamchatka river, 380 km to the north-east of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski. During the 19-20th centuries the volcano erupted 50 times. Peaks of activity were noted in 1944, 1955, 1978-1980, 1987. This cone-shaped mountain is also a rare and important "scientific laboratory", where volcanologists study different processes taking place inside of the Earth. In 1935 the Russian Academy of Sciences founded a special volcano research centre at the foot of Klyuchevskaya Sopka Volcano.The northern group of volcanoes, where this scientific centre is situated, forms an active part of the Kuril & Kamchatka volcanic belt. Apart from Klyuchevskaya Sopka, this belt comprises another 11 volcanoes. They are: Blizhnyaya Ploskaya (Nearby Flat) - 4030m, Dalnaya Ploskaya (Distant Flat) -3930m, Bolshaya (Big) Zimina - 3081m, Malaya (Small) Zimina - 2284m, Bolshaya Udina - 2933m, Malaya Udina - 1974m, Srednaya (Middle)- 3020m, Ploskii (Flat) Tolbachik - 3085m, Ostry (Sharp) Tolbachik - 3682m.
Klyuchevskaya Sopka attracts climbers from all over the world due to its magnificent conical shape, volcanic activity and challenging slopes. The route to the top is classified as 2A (French PD or UIAA I/II). The ascent takes about 8-9 hours. It is essential to be well acclimatised, familiar with the use of crampons and ice axes and in good physical shape.
The top of the mountain is covered with snow all year round. The summit contains a round crater that always emits smoke and vapours - a sure reminder of the activity beneath the crust. Fresh ash falls on the south side of the caldera and can be seen as a dirty smudge on fresh snow. There are about 10 minor glaciers, and also the rather large Ermann glacier that stretches down the northern slope with a total surface area of about 15 square kms. On the eastern side of Klyuchevskaya Sopka there is a cave by one of the small glaciers. The total length of all explored passages is about 60 meters, the main one is 2x2 meters large and 35 meters long, and following the line of the uphill slope. The entrance to the cave is located at about 3200 metres altitude.