Kiersten Rowland

Adventures, Travel & Photography

The Kamchatka Expedition Part 4 - Deteriorating weather

15 May 2014

Reading time: 5 mins

Here we are onto part 4 of the expedition. Most of the photos are Martin’s, there were difficult times and photos were not on our minds, but obviously Martin was the expedition photographer, it was his job to capture life in camp. I’m sure you will agree he did a great job.

Richard heading off into the amazing scenery
Richard heading off into the amazing scenery

18th April :- Woke up to a frozen tent and no wind! Richard feeling better. After breakfast Martin did some Berghaus shots of Richard, I went along to take photos and learn from an expert. Crazy landscape everything has turned black and white from the ash. Makes Richards bright Berghaus gear look great though. Igor and Elena went back to first camp by snowmobile to pick up some stashed food and fuel as it looks like we will be here longer than planned. Out on the plateau they said it was really windy and mini tornedos were all over the place. Looking up at the volcano you can see the snow being blown off. Richard went for a little ski to test his bindings. I took some pictures of him, then we restrengthened the snow walls (told you it becomes an obsession). One mistake we realised we had made was not leaving much room between the tent and the snow walls to allow for snow falling (I have a paranoia about being buried in the tent after a near miss in Patagonia once).

Richard in his bright Berghaus clothing looking great against the volcanic scenery
Richard in his bright Berghaus clothing looking great against the volcanic scenery
Richard with Martin taking photos of him reflected in his goggles
Richard with Martin taking photos of him reflected in his goggles

Warwick and Martin were out doing more Berghaus shots so I went to visit Julia in her luxury tent (well compared to ours it is much bigger), she platted my hair in an attempt to keep it under control. While we were chatting we heard a strange noise, it sounded like a bird, wow it was a bird, in fact two Ravens had come to visit us, the only wildlife we had seen in what feels like forever. After the initial excitement of seeing something else alive, I begin to wonder what they are doing here, are they messengers of doom? During dinner a Russian turns up! He was part of the group of 12 who had attempted to summit today. Turns out they left the volconologists hut at 4am, got to 4000m but the wind was too strong. He asked if he could join our group but we do not have the food or fuel or tent space to have another person along. He had a warm drink then left to catch his companions. Weather forecast still showing bad weather. We had a game of 20 questions which was hilarious, we had to choose people that all nationalities would know. Richard chose Big Chief Sitting Bull!! Needless to say none of us got that one. During the night the wind became very strong, I used ear plugs to try and dull the noise. One of the worst things about camping in places like this is having to get up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, having to put on extra clothes and boots, but at least my emergency toilet got used.

Richard and Kluchevskoi
Richard and Kluchevskoi
Happy Richard to be well enough to have a little ski
Happy Richard to be well enough to have a little ski

19th April :- Woke up to no wind but it was snowing and only -9C, another going no where day. The Ravens were sat on a rock in camp this morning, I am now convinced they are messengers of doom, you always see Ravens in horror movies, maybe I’ve watched too many horror movies or maybe I’m loosing the plot being out here in this harsh environment. But I’m full of admiration for them they don’t have a tent or sleeping bag to protect them and none of us have any photos of them!! Only had a cup of tea for breakfast I’m just not hungry, it seems all I do at the moment is eat, drink, pee and sleep. It is starting to get tough mentally being confined to four walls of the tent with not much room, constant bad weather and everything being in black and white but at least it’s not raining and has enabled Richard to get better. Summit plan number 3 was made today, if this snow does not get blown away we can go back to plan number 1, the quickest and easiest route up and down Klyuchivskoi. We were planning to redo our snow walls on our tent so we could dig ourselves out if need be, we got cold while in the kitchen tent so ended up back in sleeping bags to warm up and never got round to doing the snow walls. Now let me describe the kitchen for you. It is an area dug out of snow, deep enough so you can stand up. Benches to sit on are cut from the snow as are shelves for storing stuff and even a table has been made. The whole thing is covered with a flysheet from a tent. The news on the weather front is not good. It’s time to dig in and make ourselves safe as possible. Wishing we had re done the snow walls. So cold in this wind and by 9.30pm the tent was frozen.

Elena taking a rest from making blocks of snow to re-enforce the snow wall on the kitchen
Elena taking a rest from making blocks of snow to re-enforce the snow wall on the kitchen
In the kitchen tent having dinner
In the kitchen tent having dinner

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