Tag Archives: volcanism

Our trek up Mount Rinjani – pt. 2.

Hi folks!

Here we are with the second (and final) installment of my tales-and-pics from our titanically toilsome trek up Mount Rinjani.

I left you last time with us getting ready to descend down (600m – vertically) to a base camp. The plan was to take in some hot springs, and then to climb the opposite wall of the caldera. But no – we couldn’t, or at least wouldn’t. We were here to enjoy ourselves at a steady pace, not half-kill ourselves with over-exertion. So we quickly changed our plans: our three-day trek would become a four-day one. And that was sooo the right decision…

So we had an “easy” descent down to the lake that features the hot springs, and on the shore of which is the base camp. But… easy? You’d think most any descent in the world might be easy but… that sure doesn’t apply to Rinjani (or Table Mountain above cape Town, South Africa!). Again – it was more rubble on the double, often with us having to engage “all-wheel drive” down the steeper stretches. There were steps in places, but these had been fairly mangled from previous earthquakes. There were handrails and ropes for some sections to keep hold of to stay upright, which sure helped, but, still – handrails and ropes and 4×4? Where was our easy stroll downward?!!

It was so difficult and unpleasant – and hot and sticky – that none (0) of us took any photos. We were too busy grappling between rocks and hard places to think of extracting our cameras out of our backpacks.

But all things must come to pass – including bad things. We finally make it down to our camp with our tents already set up by our porters. And locals in nearby tents were selling… beer! Hurray!

Read on…

Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani: my toughest volcano-climb yet – pt. 1.

Hi folks!

Though, as you know, I love my volcanoes, I’ve only investigated Indonesian ones just the once – at New Year 2018: my second further from the center experience (the first came two years earlier – New Year 2016: Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); the third – New Year 2019: Ecuador). Yet Indonesia boasts more volcanoes active since the year 1800 (and since 1950) than anywhere else in the world. Clearly I had some Indonesian-volcanism catch-up too do…

But it’s not just the great many volcanoes in Indonesia that are the attraction. There are also plenty of business prospects there (which we’re actively pursuing) + a great many historical objects + a great many beautiful natural must-sees: not just catch-up needed, but ASAP-catch-up at that!…

And that ASAP catch-up came in the form of a trek up to the top of the active volcano Mount Rinjani.

First – brief backgrounder:

  • Mount Rinjani is situated on the small Indonesian island of Lombok.
  • It’s one of the most beautiful and meditative-contemplative (for the viewer) volcanoes I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes – including from its highest peak:

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk

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Putorana and Mauritius – could there be a connection, or is it a trap?!

Question: what does the monumentally massive Putorana Plateau have in common with… the Indian Ocean? Rather – some of the islands located in it ->

Yes – for example, Mauritius (been) and Réunion. Well, I have a theory – a hypothesis – about how they may be connected to Putorana…

Under Réunion (a French colony department), there currently happens to be situated a hotspot – a small area under the (Indian) lithospheric (tectonic) plate where the underground magma for some reason comes real close to the surface of the plate. When the hotspot punched through the plate, Réunion came into being (this is millions of years ago, of course). And that’s how plenty of other islands and archipelagos and atolls in the Indian Ocean were created, including Mauritius and Maldives. The plate slowly moved (for millions of years) over the hotspot, and every dozen million years or so – another punch-through and another new island!

Ok. That’s the islands covered. Now for some land-based volcanism to continue the theme…

Read on…

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Putorana’s significant geological history – as little-known about as the plateau’s monumental beauty.

The Putorana Plateau is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world, that’s for sure. That is… in good weather (just like Kamchatka and the Kurils). I keep writing that – “in good weather” – all the time of late. I should abbreviate it: GW. So yes – in GW, the landscapes here are simply mind-blowing:

Read on…

Monumental, brutal; in places – simply splendid. That’s Putorana folks!…

Norilsk business and places of interest: done. But up here in the Far North, there’s actually another place of interest to the adventurous (and well-heeled) tourist, albeit 300 kilometers to the east, and only accessible by helicopter (told you!), and that is the Putorana Plateau.

Briefly, the Putorana Plateau is simply… a magnificently marvelous mountainous area! It’s not quite Kamchatka, of course, but it still gets a full five Ks as per my (KKKKKaspersky Tourism Awesomeness Categorization System) classification. Oh yes: top marks (there is no KKKKKK). Just to remind: 5K = unique, monumental and complex. Not bad for a region you might think is only good for extreme cold and nickel and copper extraction )…

5K it is, but that doesn’t immunize it from downsides…

Downside one: the weather. It’s practically never good around here. Very much reminiscent of Kamchatka or the Kurils.

Read on…

Contactless – very convenient, but not when it’s Ushishir volcano!

Of course, we weren’t expecting clear, sunny skies all day – every day – on our Kurils-2022 expedition. We weren’t even expecting the light showers that fall in places like the Côte d’Azur or Costa Brava that get swiftly shooed away by warm winds. This is the Kurils, baby – why a cyclone can kick in and shroud the islands in fog for days. But we were hoping for at least a little sun – like what we had back in 2019

In particular, we were hoping for sun on our Ushishir day(s). Here’s why:

And from the other side… ->

Read on…

Krenitsyn volcano is the world’s most-beautiful spot. So, did we get up it – or not?!

If asked where the most beautiful, magical, goose-bumping, entrancing, OMGing place is on the planet is, what would be your answer?

I guess there’d be as many answers to the question as there are stars in the sky, and none would be wrong – for beauty is always in the eye of the beholder…

Some might answer – the Grand Canyon; others – the view down Madrid’s Gran Via; yet others – the reflections in a puddle in their garden! Some prefer man-made things, others natural. I like both, but my favorite of all happens to be natural. And this is it:

…At least – in good weather.

Yes folks, this is the one – the ultimate, the very best of all the best must-see places on the planet, including all my Top-100 places. It is the King of the VolcanoesKrenitsyn volcano, on the volcanic island of Onekotan – one of the Kurils:

And when I say it’s the most beautiful place on the planet, I reckon it could very well be yours too – if you were ever to behold it. For “I’ve been around”, as it were. I’ve been globetrotting for the last quarter-century visiting a great many places on business while also getting to see what those places have on offer in terms of their sights of interest and beauty. I’ve also been on a great many vacations to some of the more unusually beautiful places on the planet. So, to come top of my list – trying not to blow my own trumpet as much as I can – really should stand for something. I hope so, anyway!…

Read on…

Wake Me Up, Before You Ebeko!

And then it was time to go… to Ebeko!…

Our expedition left the mainland and down to the northern Kurils. First up – the island of Paramushir and its active volcano Ebeko.

The name Ebeko comes from the native Ainu language for “kindling the flame”, and it appears to have been kindling and erupting and volcanizing ever since it first appeared, some 2400 years ago, for practically all the land here is of volcanic origin (with very few exceptions), which goes for most all the other Kurils too.

Ebeko is a magnificently monumental volcano. It’s massive, wide-branching, and mind-numbingly awesome to behold. Here’s its peak, on one of its quieter days ->

Read on…

Koshelev volcano – we made the peak, but ridge-walking – no.

One fine (shock, horror!) August morning in Southern Kamchatka last year, we awoke at the foot of the wonderful Koshelev volcano (shocking awesomeness). Then we heard the nearby – aluminum laden – streams a-trickling (shocking, but true). Yes, there was so much shock to our collective systems we did all nearly faint, but we pulled through, fully conscious – just…).

Read on…

Beauty-360˚: the top-10 volcanic-caldera-ring tracks in the world.

Walking around – full circle – the upper ridges of volcanic craters and calderas is a splendid idea. Unique views in all directions, aka – beauty-360˚! I’ve already gone into this topic in a research-post entitled: 12 reasons why volcanoes are way better than mere mountains. From there, I quote:

“Mountains are good in that, once you’ve climbed to the top of one and look around, you get a massive dose of ‘oh my gorgeous!’ But with volcanoes you get a mega-massive dose of the same, plus often there’s a bonus: looking inward – not out – you get the fantastically pretty volcanic craters to feast your eyes on.

It’s only sat on the rim of a volcanic crater you realize how tiny and insignificant man and all his civilization is. I’m sure astronauts get this feeling too, but they’re up in space. On Earth: a volcanic crater is the place to be. All our labors and plans and worries and frets – how meaningless they all become when compared with the magnitude and magnificence of nature.”

And that’s just how it is. Multicolored shadings, the colossal grandiosity of the constructions, the exquisiteness of the shapes, plus the antidote to human delusions of grandeur. The ‘kings of nature’? You realize Homo sapiens are no such thing when you find yourself on the rim of the caldera of an active stratovolcano! For it’s not just a big lump of inert mountain: a volcano is alive – brimming with volatile underground chemistry!

So, you get it: volcanoes are better ). But what can you do to get more of the magical experience that is volcano-gazing – as in: prolong that experience? Easy (actually… hardly:) – you trek around the full circumference of a volcano’s caldera/crater – up on its upper ridge. Oh yes…

As you’ll know, or will be able to guess – I’ve done quite a few caldera rim-walks. But I wonder how many? Let’s tot them up. Maybe someone will want to follow in my footsteps (recommended) or try to beat my total (recommended:)…

I. Ksudach (Kamchatka). Full (detailed) trekking-tourist guide – here.

Read on…