Mount Vsevidof is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, and its summit, at 7,051 feet, is the highest point on Umnak Island. In good weather, when the clouds part, which is not often, you can see its symmetrical cone that towers beautifully over the surrounding area. Swift, rushing rivers flow down from the mountains; the valleys have majestic bends of waterways, moss-covered estuaries, deep canyons, and marshes adorned with downy flowers. To walk on the island, you need to be prepared to wade across a large number of rivers. Soil erosion is so rapid that bridges could never be built. Photo by Viktor Posnov.
Alaska’s Aleutian Islands are an archipelago of 14 large islands and 55 smaller ones with 40 active volcanoes in the northern Pacific Ocean. The islands are located between Alaska’s mainland and the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, making up the dividing line between the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and occupying an area of 6,821 square miles, similar to the combined area of the Hawaiian Islands. The Aleutians’ population is very small, about 5,200 people—and getting there is not an easy task.
With a friend, I spent a month backpacking across untouched and unexplored routes, facing the most unpredictable weather on the planet, to document the harsh beauty and remoteness of the landscape. We crossed dozens of rivers, discovered new waterfalls, found unknown and unnamed geysers, camped on the sides of active volcanoes, blazed paths through untrod passes, fought with the winds, and scaled glaciers. Few people make the journey to Umnak Island, but for those who do, another world awaits. Beyond these images, check out my video footage on YouTube, and additional photos on my website.