Wrap up season 13/14 part 2 of 3: Returning to Kamchatka, Russia

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Exploring, Filming, Kamchatka, Russia

We went back to Kamchatka. With we, I mean the same crew as I went with last April, with some newcomers. Come to think about it, I haven’t posted anything from that trip either on this blog. Jeez.

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The “infront-of-the-camera”-crew: From top; Tom Erik Heimen, basejumper, PC Fosse, freeskier, me and Espen Fadnes, basejumper and freeride skier.

Anyway, both trips to Kamchatka, Russia was done to get footage to a project called «Rastløs», an upcoming TV- series about extreme sport athletes, and the first season will air on Norwegian TV this fall. Exciting! Kamchatka is a peninsula in East Russia, located straight north from Japan. So it’s far east; some call it Siberia, some Russia.

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Can you spot Petropavlosk? The flighttime from Moscow to Petropavlosk is app. 5 hours; the longest domestic flight there is!

The peninsula was closed until 1991, being a military base. Secrets, secrets, something like that. So, the thing with Kamchatka is that it feels like travelling back in time. Not many speaks english, the buildings looks sad and tired, no garbagepolicy, and people are minding their own business.

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Our street, seen from my bedroom early in the morning.

And if you, in theory, can take your car or whatever vehicle you prefer to wherever, you do that. Drive on the beach, drive in the wilderness, the river, the mountains. If it’s possible, there’s no rules that tells you it’s not allowed. It’s wild Russia. But Kamchatka is also wild in the most beautiful way you can imagine. The people, once you get eye contact and try to communicate, do the best they can to help you out, to get to know you, or invite you in for a cup of tea. And to drink to your health. Nastarovjie.

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Mingling with locals on a day off.

The nature. The mountains, the wildlife, the scenery. The volcanoes and rich fishing rivers. The bears. And the amount of snow Kamchatka receives during winter is insane. Enough to say I’ve grown very much in love with Kamchatka.

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Koryasky volcano (3456m.) seen in the background.

Both times going over there we lived at this nice house which belongs to Martha Madsen, originally from Alaska, who runs her own tourists business, while her husband Yuri is out in the wild for several months at a time measuring temperature, snowpack and climate. If you have problem, Martha will fix it. An essential assessment for our stay. Me being an animal person, I loved returning to her two golden retrievers  Karat and Leila, and the cat Mischa.

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Being in Kamchatka for the second time, with the same crew, made us better prepared. It can be hard to communicate with the Russian helipilot, or find good enough maps, or explaining guides what type of terrain we’re looking for and so on. We had help from a russian guide, Igor, who’s a really nice guy. One day, sitting in the MI8, he ate all my chocolate. Or no he didn’t, he just handed it out to everyone, so there was nothing left when it came back to me. Yes, the MI8! Ha! That’s a wonderful chopper.

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It’s a blurry pictures, but it gives you an idea of the size of this thing! The one sitting opposite me is Igor, ready to grab my chocolate.

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Yeah, just make sure to take a selfie with an MI8 above your head.

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Scouting from the chopper. An amazing day. Best conditions of my life!

Spring came earlier to the part in Kamcthaka were we stayed. Yelistov, not far from the main city with the airport, Petropavlosk. Because of that, we decided to travel further North a couple of days, a 10 hour drive on bumpy roads. We hired a charming bus without absorbers, but with a driver who only laughed and smiled the whole stay. It was a nice experience to get deeper into the Kamchatka terrain, living in a vintage cottage. Sharing a room with Espen and Tom Erik.

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A cheer for a good day! Here the whole crew is gathered. Martin “Dansken” Hahn, Joachim Hoege, Espen, Gunnar Holstein, PC, Tom Erik, Petter Bolstad, Benjamin Holstein, Igor and the busdriver.

As we were a mixed group of athletes, there was a lot of different things that was supposed to catch the camera in only three weeks. Tom Erik and Espen, base jumping, me skiing and PC Fosse doing his thing. I’m so glad we headed North. It’ gave me one of the nicest days ever with skis on, even though it turned out to be only one run. But I did my thing, and the filmcrew was just as pleased as I were.

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From my GoPro, dancing on snow.

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Speed is your friend; getting ready to launch.

Being inside the chopper while Espen and Tom Erik let go of the safe ground inside, spin out in the open and disappear was pretty intense to watch. They waived at us from the grassy ground when the chopper landed. Felt good to give them a high- five and a hug after.

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Espen holding on to Tom Erik, seconds before they let go.

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Safe and sound!

Did I mention the bears? Yes. There’s something between 10 000 – 14 000 brown bears in Kamchatka. Male Kamchatkan brown bears can become up to 700 kg, and are among the largest bears in the world. And this by eating salmon and berries! It was, to say the least, exciting to snowmobile and go touring in an area where we spotted dens and tracks.

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Hiking in the fog made every big rock look like a possible brown bear.

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Insane! This was a big one, and the tracks were pretty fresh.

Thinking of exploring Kamchatka? This is where I recommend you to start! I bet you no one makes you feel more at home than Martha and her dogs!

 

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