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Expedition «Pole of Cold» A drive to the Arctic Ocean

This bold off-road expedition finished in Irkutsk on April 1st and took travelers one month to drive nine thousand miles across Siberia, from Lake Baikal to the seaport of Tiksi on the Laptev Sea, and then return. Along the way, they visited some of the coldest locations in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as “poles of cold.” The expedition had an important task to find out what kind of challenges a traveler can encounter on their way to the Arctic Ocean.

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“Our experience proves that it’s possible to travel to the wildest places in a regular SUV,” said leader of the expedition, Bogdan Bulychov. “As a result, we will make up a detailed map for people who want to drive the same path. We will mark dangerous icing, gas stations, places to stay overnight. Many travelers find this path too dangerous and unpredictable, but I’m sure it’s because of the lack of information and positive examples, and we would like to change the situation.”

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To reach their goal, the members of Pole of Cold drove Toyota Land Cruisers over more than nine thousand miles of seasonal roads (winter roads) which were hard to drive, even in a loaded truck. Those roads, re-built from nothing every winter, connect dozens of remote settlements that can otherwise only be reached by airplanes or helicopters in summer. Even when the ice hardens to form a passable route in winter it’s not very safe to drive here, especially in a regular car. There is always a possibility of ending up with a broken vehicle 300 miles from any settlement, which is why locals usually drive SUVs.

The travelers also drove the ice roads of Lake Baikal, the northern rivers Nelgese, Adycha, Lena, Yana, and Omoloy, and at the most northern part of route stepped onto the Laptev Sea ice.

During the trip, members experienced extremely low temperatures, often well below –50°C (–58°F). However, such cold weather is familiar to inhabitants of Yakutia. The cars were not even modified for the harsh climate, but they worked perfectly. The only thing that was needed was an engine blanket.

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Members repeatedly had to spend the night in their cars, because it took up to 4 days to drive from one settlement to another. The expedition visited the city of Mirny, which has one of the world’s largest open-pit diamond mines, and also passed through two Yakut “poles of cold”, Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, where the lowest temperatures were recorded: –67,7 °C (–89,9 °F) and −67,8 °C (–90°F).

The travellers communicated with locals, and took a lot of photos and video which will be used for a documentary about tourism in northern regions of Russia.

 

Want to go on your own bold expedition? Visit RGOEXPO and sign up for the trip of a lifetime. You too can explore the world’s most extreme corners. Click on the banner below:

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