Tragedy on Klyuchevskaya: Weather Halts Rescue Helicopters, Six Still Stranded

A sixth victim has died on 4,754m Klyuchevskaya Sopka, likely the one who was unconscious yesterday after his fall.

Meanwhile, bad weather continues to prevent rescuers from reaching the six survivors. Yesterday, overcast skies kept two helicopters with doctors and rescuers from reaching either location, at 3,300m and 4,000m, where the survivors had hunkered down. Today, strong winds foiled two attempts. They will try again tomorrow.

Rescue helicopters have made three attempts since yesterday. Photo: KTK RU


According to local sources, the Russian team of 12 included 10 clients — eight men and two women — plus two male guides. We now know that the group started its ascent on Tuesday, from the Pass of Volcanologists, on the southern slope of the mountain.

Bad weather and strong winds prevented the rescue helicopters from landing. Survivors remain at 3,300 and 4,000m. Photo: TASS


Eventually, three people (one guide and two clients) remained in the high camp at 3,300m, while the other nine continued toward the summit. The accident occurred Saturday morning at 4,158m.  One of the participants fell on a steep section. Then two more fell. Almost immediately after this incident, a second group also fell too. In total, six perished.

One guide broke his leg

The guide who was with the would-be summiters broke his leg and can’t move. The second guide, in the camp at 3,300m, made his way to the fallen climbers. He saw that four had died instantly. Two others were unconscious and died later.

A cloud cap on Klyuchevkaya Sopka. Photo: Ivan Dementievskiy


The six victims are between 28 and 38 years old and include one of the two women in the group. Reportedly, two of the six survivors are now in a hunter’s refuge at 3,300m  and the other four are in a tent at 4,000m, awaiting rescuers.

Klyuchevskaya volcano, in 2021. Photo: Roman Abildaev


The Prosecutor’s Office of Kamchatka has started an investigation into the multiple fatalities, according to local sources.

One of the most recent eruptions of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, in 2016. Photo: Sergey Makurin


Dangers on Klyuchevskaya

To climb Klyuchevskaya Sopka requires good fitness and some experience in mountaineering. According to Volcanoesland, “During the ascent, it is important to take into account the danger of rockfall and the intense hydrogen sulfide gas near the summit.

A list of the fatalities and survivors has been released:

1. Ivan Alabugin, b. 1992. Guide. Alive at 4,000m

2. Andrey Mishchenko, b. 1981. Guide. Alive at 4,000m

3. Pavel Semenichev, b. 1984. Died

4. Solovyov Maxim, b. 1988. Died

5. Ekaterina Kosyuk, b. 1994. Died

6. Andrey Gutor, b. 1987. Died

7. Alexander Zhilovachik, b. 1991. Died

8. Evgeny Sorokin, b. 1984. Died

9. Anastasia Usacheva, b. 1987. Alive at 3,300m

10. Igor Mikhailovsky, b. 1976. Alive at 4,000m

11. Andrey Kipriyanov, b. 1996. Alive at 4,000.

12. Roman Averin, b. 1979. Alive at 3,300m

We will update as more details become available and will try, in particular, to clear up the mystery of these apparently multiple falls.

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.