Pole of Cold
There are several places in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Siberia, Russia pretending to the status of the Pole of Cold of the Northern hemisphere. These are Verkhoyansk (located at 67°33′N 133°23′E) and Oymyakon (located at 63°15′N 143°9′E). In December of 1868 and then in February of 1869 I. A. Khudyakov made the discovery of the Northern Pole of Cold by measuring a record temperature of −63.2 °C in Verkhoyansk. Later, on January 15, 1885 the new world record was registered there by S. F. Kovalik −67.8 °C. It is still the record for the northern hemisphere. This measurement was published in the Annals of the General Physical Observatory. On February 6, 1933, an absolute minimum of −67.7 °C was registered in Oymyakon, which is still 0.1 degree warmer than the Verkhoyansk record. This gives Verkhoyansk the right to be the true Northern Pole of Cold. A temperature of −71 °C is said to have been measured in Oimyakon, however in reality it was obtained by extrapolation method rather than measured directly, and is not valid as a world record. However, the conventional practice is to round the measurement to the nearest degree Celsius. In this convention, the two places share the world record of −68 °C. On the other hand, it is not correct to compare the data measured in different years with different equipment and different uncertainties. A more correct procedure is to compare average temperatures over large periods of time. On the average, the temperature at Oymyakon appeared to be lower than at Verkhoyansk during 70 years of simultaneous observations. At present days the average January temperature in Oymyakon is 61 degree below zero and in the coldest days you can expect even 68 degree below zero. Every year the international tourism festival “Pole of Cold” is held. Since 2001 the Annual Pole of Cold Festival takes place there. The exhibition of the national clothes, applied art and the national food of the people of the North, deers-drawn teams’ race, ice fishing and other activities are held within the festival. The major event of the Festival is the auto tour Yakutsk-Oymyakon, 1270km (789mi) of snowy trails including 403km (250mi) of regularity rally. Although this event is an extreme sport it also includes sightseeing, visiting museums, ethnographic complexes and historic places. Santa Claus from Lapland and Father Frost from Veliky Ustyug are the regular visitors of the festival.
Usually travellers get in Yakutsk, the administrative centre of Yakutia (Pepublic of Sakha)and take a motorcar for a long way to Oymyakon.
The best season for a trip to the Pole of Cold is from the beginning of December to April.
During the trip participants use automotive carriers and take local flights. One of the roads to travel along to Oymyakon was built by GULAG prisoners during the Stalin times. Along the road there are carved bridges, barracks, and other remains of former GULAGs. There is a possibility to run against some fragments of “Aircobra” aircrafts crashed during World War II. During the long road it is possible to view magnificent local nature: great mountains, fast rivers and waterfalls, and vast reindeer pastures…
In Oymyakon you have the opportunity to experience extremely cold temperature (possibly the coldest one in the season – in case we are lucky, for nobody can rule the weather yet…).
Here you'll have a lot of things to do: learning of meteorological observations, sub-ice fishing, attending folklore concert and the Ceremony of the Pole of Cold Certificate Award.
In Oymyakon you can stay with local hosting families. Staying at local people’s houses enables us to see and even feel the life of Russian province.