He also writes the poetry, composes music, and writes a blog under the pseudonym of Almazov. He is native inhabitant of Almaty;he isborn and raised here and has lived here all his 36 years. Well, not all of them, most of them he was wandering (in the good sense of the word) around the world. In Almaty he has home,family, but it is not easy to catch him here. But I managed, just before his leaving for a new great trip to Papua New Guinea.
- Andrey, why Papua New Guinea?
- Because I have not been there yet, and I have quite ambitious plans. I want to be the first Kazakhstani citizen who will conquerseven the greatest peaks and seven the highest volcanoes in the world. Now these plans are already at the stage of implementation. The program "7 peaks " is well-known, and has quite a lot participants, including in Kazakhstani citizens. It includes ascend seven highest peaks of the seven continents:
1. Everest (Chomolungma), 8848 m, Asia;
2. Aconcagua, 6962 m, South America;
3. McKinley (Denali), 6194 m, North America;
4. Kilimanjaro, 5895 m, Africa;
5. Elbrus, 5642m, Europe;
6. Vinson peak, 4897 m, Antarctica;
7. Carstens Pyramid (Puncak Jaya), 4884 m, Australia and Oceania.
"7 Volcanoes" is relatively new program. The principle is the same - it is necessary to ascend the seven highest volcanoes of the planet, the most famous, the most iconic, located on seven different continents:
1. Ojos del Salado (6893m) - the highest volcano of South America;
2. Kilimanjaro (5895m) in Africa;
3. Orizaba (5700m) in North America;
4. Demavent (5671m) in Asia;
5. Elbrus 5642m) in Europe;
6. Sidley (4181m) in Antarctica;
7. Giluve (4368 m) in Australia and Oceania.
I have already four of the seven volcanos in my asset -Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Ojos del Salado and Orizaba. For the program "7 peaks" I ascended twice on Aconcagua in Argentina, was on McKinley in Alaska. Kilimanjaro and Elbrus are duplicated in programs "7 Volcanoes" and "7 peaks". , I am going to conquer the Carstens Pyramid peak and Volcano Giluve in Papua New Guinea.
- By the way, I know that you are the first of Kazakhstani climbed who ascended the highest volcano in the world - Ojos del Salado in Chile...
- Yes, and I am proud that I raised our Kazakhstan flag at the top of it. My ascents are also a perfect exampleto young people that hobby can bring profit and glory.
I am native Almaty inhabitant. Lived in micro district, "hanging out on the streets" in the semi-criminal environment,typical for the bedroom community of the city back then. And the mountains literally pulled me out. Accidentally I met some guys from TsSKA mountaineering class. I have gone to the mountainsalready, but I did not have enough training for serious ascents. When I was 20 years old, I got to the TsSKA mountaineering class, where I studied for quite some time, and even was in the Kazakhstan national team. There I gained mountaineering experience, found friends, established business relationships. And there I got a taste of commerce: it turns out that you can do what you like, go somewhere and make money at the same time.
- Andrey, ticklish financial issue: such expeditions are very expensive events; and first it is necessary to know how to find money...
- I am mountain guide, and many of my trips are happeningat the expense of my customers, which I accompany in expeditions to different countries. But the remaining items of the program are very expensive, and not every traveler can afford them. Fortunately, education in tourism scope helped me a lot in a search for funds. For example, this trip to Southeast Asia to the island of Papua New Guinea is organized thanks to the sponsorship of the Eurasian Bank. A big thank you for that! And the most expensive part of my program is, of course, Antarctica. Round trip costs 56 thousand dollars. It is very far away, it is very exotic and it is still inaccessible. But who wants, will get. I will look for sponsors.
- You have visited 30 countries. What your family think about your long absence?
- In one of my trips I met my beloved wife, and brought her to Almaty from Moscow. Of course, my frequent absences saddenher. Although, she understands that my work and participation in this project are work for the future. And my mother has long reconciled. From childhood, I am always on the road; I was leaving on my own and for long.
- What are your plans?
- My priority is the programs "7 Volcanoes" and "7 Peaks". And then I will have quite famous, or shall we say, a unique name for Kazakhstan. I hope it will help me in the implementation of other plans. I have been working as mountain guide since 2003 and I understand that I do not get younger. And health is one day here and next day goneat such a risky job. Therefore I am trying to gain as much as possible experience in the travel and dream to open my own travel company, which would do something like I am doing now. Anyway, I am not going to sit and do nothing.
I have many opportunities for self-realization. And probably it is not necessary to climb on the top or go to the jungle to Papuans. But if you want to be famous, it is necessary to pull yourself out of a quiet, cozy swamp,wherepeople can sit the whole life. Of course, if it is good and comfortable there, you can continue to sit there. But those who want to change their lives and reach beyond the cloudspeaks should make considerable efforts.
P.S. On October, 18, AndreyGundarevascended onCarstensz Pyramid (4884 m), the highest peak of Australia and Oceania. Peak is located in the Indonesian part of the island of Papua New Guinea. It is also called peak Puncak Jaya, which means in Indonesian “Victory Peak”.