Cuddling with reindeer in Kamchatka

Kamchatka is the peninsula in the far east of Russia, a continuation of the Pacific Ring of fire from Japan over the Kuril Island. It has 29 active volcanos and many more dormant ones. For me it was always a dream destination, the combination of fire and ice irresistible. This year in March and April my dream came true and I travelled to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of Kamchatka. (Change planes in Vladivostok!) It was snowy and cold, around -20 degrees Celsius. After a few days in town I headed north by bus to Esso. We were a group of 9 keen travellers from all over the world brought together by Inertia Network. Our goal was to visit the native Even reindeer herders. The travel on skidoo was thrilling, the nights in the tent at -20 chilling and meeting the reindeer fulfilling. While they were grazing I sat in their midst and was nibbled on by soft fury lips. Further exploration brought us to the food of Ichinsky volcano (3607m). I loved to see the sunset and sunrise on it's snow covered flanks.
After the group departed I spend a few more days in Esso. Together with guide and snowmobile driver Igor I explored the mountains surrounding Esso. I got the ski virgin slopes with soft powder, Igor pulling me up the slope behind his skidoo (a bit like water skiing). One day we got into a snow storm, taking shelter in one of the huts that Igor had helped to build. We both looked white like snowmen.
The last week of my trip I spent in Yelizovo in the South. Stormy, snowy days meant I went cross country skiing along the Avacha river and bathed in hot pools rather than climbing volcanos, but on my last day the weather cleared and together with Slava and Natasha I went to Camel mountain and Avachinsky Pass. The place was amazing, flanked by Avachinsky volcano (2741m) and Koryaksky volcano (3456m).

Ski touring in New Zealand

This year I managed to come back earlier from my adventures in the Artic which meant there was time for some ski tours in New Zealand. To kick it all off and to get back into the swing of ski touring I went with the Queenstown women outdoor network to a ski touring camp at Mt Cook. Pretty dodgy weather meant that we made it to Plateau Hut, but had to stay put for a day while a big storm delivered 50cm of fresh snow. Avalanche risk after that was high and we stayed on flattish ground. That didn't stop me enjoying a fantastic outing on a blue sky day across the Grand Plateau towards Anzac Peaks.

A week later at Labour weekend I was back at Mt Cook, with some friends. This time flying into Kelman Hut for 3 days of ski touring in fantastic weather on Tasman Glacier. The absolute highlight was a trip through the ice formations of Canyon Land, just below Tasman Saddle Hut.

Working in the Arctic

Currently I am working on the ship in the Arctic. I just completed the first of altogether 8 trips around Svalbard and Northeast Greenland. At the most recent trip I saw 6 polar bears in the pack ice North of Svalbard, one mum with 2 cups. Photos were unfortunately spoilt by dense fog. Our ship also made the first circumnavigation of Spitsbergen this season as the Hinlopen Strait is still blocked by thick pack ice. In a few hours I will be leaving for my second trip.

Tramping in Southern Germany

I am currently in Germany on my way to work in the Arctic. Each year I try to build in a mini adventure, an excursion to get to know a new area in my home country. This year I went to Southern Germany, an hours train ride south of Munich . Spitzing See is a little lake in a valley just above the bigger Schliersee. After a course with the German Alpine Club (DAV) I had 2 more days to explore the region. I stayed at Rotwand Haus which is more a luxurious hotel than a hut. Most of my time I spent on top of the mountain with the same name Rotwand (1884m), watching the sunset, moonrise and sunrise. Not much sleep since it is summer in Germany! But it was fantastic and worth the hours on the top. On my last day I climbed a mountain which is called "Schinder" (engl. sweater). And indeed it was, especially the way down through the Schinderkar (engl. corrie). Steep and loose my favourite combination.