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Pole of Cold

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The (northern) Pole of Cold is a region in Siberia.


Geographic peculiarities of the vast continental region of Siberia create extraordinarily low temperatures in certain parts of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The coldest temperature ever definitively measured in the Northern Hemisphere was at Verkhoyansk, although there are other claimants to the title in the region. The average January temperature in Oymyakon, for one, is 61 degrees below zero - Centigrade. There is an odd competitiveness among villages in the region for the title of the Northern Hemisphere's coldest place; see the Wikipedia article for details of the controversy.

These conditions have created a weird sort of opportunity for adventure travel. Every year 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, deer-drawn race teams, 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.

Get in[edit]

Usually travellers get in via Yakutsk, the administrative centre of Yakutia (Republic of Sakha) and take a motorcar for a long way to Oymyakon.

By land[edit]

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 find some fragments of "Aircobra" aircraft 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…

  • Poseidon Expeditions. [1]. Offers an expedition trip with visit to Oymyakon and\or Verkhoyansk.
  • Pole of Cold Expedition. [2]. Offers an expedition trip with visit to Oymyakon and\or Verkhoyansk.

Get around[edit]

Oymyakon is a tiny village, so everywhere can be reached on foot within a few minutes.

See[edit][add listing]

In Oymyakon you have the opportunity to experience extremely cold temperature (possibly the coldest one in the season – if you are lucky, for nobody can rule the weather yet).

Do[edit][add listing]

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.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary[edit]

Be aware that your diet in the Pole of Cold will certainly be neither conventional nor full of variety. If you're religiously observant, also be aware that your diet may be severely restricted. Per Jenna Garrett and Amos Chappele of Wired magazine ("WHAT IT'S LIKE LIVING IN THE COLDEST TOWN ON EARTH"), you will have to be extremely careful as to choose what to eat Yakutian culinary staples include non-kosher and non-halal items such as "raw flesh shaved from frozen fish [and the especially-tamei and -haram] ice cubes of horse blood with macaroni". You may even want to bring your own food, as "[c]rops don't grow in the frozen ground" and you're obviously not going to have vegetarian or vegan options. You might even have to watch your water intake, as "[d]rinking water from the Jana River is delivered by tractor in the form of blocks of ice", and you'll be lucky if you can retain any water:

"What happens physically at and below -40 C is that the air can no longer retain any humidity, and any water vapor will instantly sublime and fall down as ice dust. This is the reason for the fog, which is inevitable below -40 wherever there's human activity. This fog consists of ice. This phenomenon will gradually suck out liquid from your body through your lungs, thus making you constantly thirsty and cause coughing. Bronchitis and pneumonia are common among natives and especially children."

You also need to note that "rampant alcoholism [exists], particularly during the holiday months," as this may trouble you particularly if you're observantly Muslim. As for both you and your religiously-observant Jewish counterparts, keep in mind that "[m]ost people use outhouses, because indoor plumbing tends to freeze". This could make the observances of the related hygiene laws (cf. Deuteronomy 23:11-15) difficult since the holes in the outhouse sometimes tend to almost or entirely fill up. This effectively makes kosher and halal dietary restrictions all the more important.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

In Oymyakon you can stay with local hosting families. Staying at local people's houses enables you to see and even feel the life of Russian province.

Get out[edit]

Phototrip to Pole of Cold (Verkhoyansk)Create category

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