/ Kola Peninsula

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ronniemarshall - on 26 Dec 2012
Hi Guys,

Im trying to find some interesting places to go winter mountaineering/climbing and was wondering if anyone has been to any of the mountain ranges on the Kola Peninsula and what the routes are like and if a guidebook is available

Cheers
Ronnie
Dave - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall:

I'm not sure that it's very interesting from that point of view. Never been there, so happy to be wrong, but I have looked at going there and decided against it. Mainly flattish hills and steep sided valleys. Go to Norway ior Greenland instead if you want somewhere Arctic..
JXM - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall: I have only been passing by the Apatity/Kirovsk Area and only in summer and it never occured to me that there would be potential for winter climbing. The Khibiny Range did not look very appealing from a climbing perspective. If I remember correctly (bear in mind that it was 14 years ago) the area was being heavily mined. Also, back in 1998 it was logistically difficult to travel to Kola Peninsula. Not sure how easy it is today. As Dave mentions, I would go to Norway for winter climbing instead or if that is not "interesting" enough there must be many more suitable places further east in Russia. At least logistics would be interesting...
KellyKettle - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave:
> (In reply to ronniemarshall)
>
> Go to Norway ior Greenland instead if you want somewhere Arctic...


In reply to ronniemarshall: If you have a burning desire to go mountaineering in russia, both the Urals and northeastern (think really north and even more east) Siberia both have quite a lot of peaks...

However, the russian interior is actually a very hostile place due to the sheer remoteness and weather; not to mention the logistical issues that stem from a lack of both roads and english speakers and the somewhat chaotic bueraucracy in the wild east.

That said, I think that a, lot got done out there in the soviet era, often on a shoestring; so there should be information available albeit probably in one of the cyrillic languages.

From my ongoing (and constantly stalling) efforts to organise a paddling trip in russia, I can honestly say it would be a hell of a lot easier to go to another country...
Damo on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall:

Not exactly the Kola, but: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chersky_Range

A UK expedition went there in the early 90s but still not many have been in there. Winter would be harsh, maybe no access. There are photos around, some of the peaks are interesting enough, if you like that sort of thing.

I think further north is pretty flat. Further east is Kamchatka, a lot more popular, relatively. The unclimbed 2000m high east face of Kamen is what you want.
JXM - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to ronniemarshall) The unclimbed 2000m high east face of Kamen is what you want.

That would be a serious undertaking! I have been looking down that face from the summit in summer and wondered if it was climbable. I think I have a photo of the face from distance but until I find it the face (which is almost entirely chossy rock in summer) is just visible on this photo http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=102432 (taken from the summit of Kluchevskaya). The East Face is the rocky face to the left of the summit.

Damo on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to JXM:

Yeh, the ridge beside it (SE ridge?) was climbed years ago by Soviets. Pat Morrow wrote up the face as 3000m vert but from GoogleEarth it's not that steep for (quite) that long. It's big though. And yes, by all accounts very chossy. I always figured it would be a Feb-May kind of thing.
cb294 - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall:

The bits I have been to are rather flat, looking more like Finland than Norway.

The mountains of the Sarek national park in Sweden are top of my winter wish list instead.

CB
squicky - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall: It is pretty inhospitable even in summer, access was only by helicopter and the whole place is apparently under at least a metre of snow in winter, though the area around Murmansk might be just about doable because it is the only civilization.
ronniemarshall - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall:
Thanks for all your help guys!! :D this is what I love about ukc

I've spoken to some guides out there, they say there are a few areas out there which could be used for winter climbing/mountaineering it would mainly be mixed/dry tooling so the possibilities are there.

Although looking quite intense the east face of Mount Kamen does sound like a challenge, has anyone got a decent picture of this face?

Thanks in advance
Eric9Points - on 27 Dec 2012
JXM - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Damo: I have had a look at the map and it looks like the steep part is around 2000 m vert, definately not more than 2500 m vert. We had the most hellish 24 hours in my life lugging heavy packs up from the valley to the east at around 1000 m to the pass between Kamen and Kluchevskaya at 3300 m through endless chossy rock and deep slushy snow. We didn't see much on the way up to the pass due to low visibility but I am pretty sure that I have a photo of the face somewhere. Will keep looking if anyone is interested.

Of course one can fly in (which I believe is the norm these days) and reduce the effort required enourmously. We climbed the North ridge (in the centre of the photo I linked to in the previous post) which was fairly easy albeit a bit exposed in places. Prior to Kamen and Kluchevskaya we failed on Bezymianny (sp?) because of poor weather, too much choss and only very limited experience between us.

I agree that the east face would probably best be climbed around Feb-May and I think it is only feasible if you fly in and out due to the short weather windows. It would be a nice route to tick and the views from the summit are sweet.
JXM - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to squicky:
> (In reply to ronniemarshall) It is pretty inhospitable even in summer, access was only by helicopter

We took the train to Murmansk and caught a public bus to Apatity. From here it was a downhill walk to Varzuga at the coast of the White Sea. It looked like there was good access to the hills in the centre of the peninsula because of the mining activity. Haven't done any climbing there though.
ronniemarshall - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to JXM: in you can find that photo mate it would be amazing!! I'm struggling to find a decent picture of the face
squicky - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to JXM: I went to a camp in the middle of the peninsula which had to be resupplied by helicopter and was about 3 hours from Murmansk. There were a couple of fuel depots around, but didn't see any roads!
JXM - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to squicky: My point was that I think that the hills on Kola are relatively easy to access because of the intense mining going on there and the associated infrastructure. I am of course aware that there are areas with no roads on the peninsula. We did not see a road on the 15 days it took us to walk to the White Sea.
yamabushi - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to ronniemarshall:
I sadly came across the below earlier today. Brave lad riding in that part of the world at this time of year.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121228a4.html
squicky - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to JXM: I'm sure you're right. I didn't see much in the way of roads when in the helicopter, but we were probably flying over a different part.

On another note, we were told about the winter caretaker who was dropped off and left for the winter months to look after the camp with his dog and his rifle, surviving in the thick snow on what he managed to shoot. He did make great rabbit skin ushankas.

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