The Pole of Cold Connecting the Oceans
One of the brightest projects of the Russian Geographical Society in 2016 was the expedition "The pole of cold connecting the oceans". Its purpose was to pass from the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean following the internal waterways, across the territory of the Khabarovsk Kray and Yakutia. All participants were members of the Yakutia branch of the Russian Geographical Society. Yuri Vorobyov, chairman of the executive council of the society headed the expedition.
Materials collected during the expedition were used to make a documentary film with the working title of "From Pacific to Arctic".
In his interview to the Russian Geographical Society, Y. L. Vorobyov spoke about the expedition in detail.
Route: no roads, the rivers only
- The length of the route that we have planned is 2,800 kilometers. The expedition will begin in July and will last a month. The participants are experienced: rescuers, scientists, doctors. 12 people. All the participants have the experience of water voyages of the 2–5 categories of complexity. Most of the route we will cover by boat; where we cannot sail, we will have to drag the boats.
The complexity of the route depends on the season. Some places in big water are estimated as 5 category of complexity, but in the summer they are quite easy to pass.
The expedition starts in the city of Okhotsk: we’ll sail up the Okhota River that starts from the so-called bifurcation on a watershed located at an altitude of 1,500 meters above the sea level.
River bifurcation occurs when a river flowing in a single stream separates into two or more separate streams which continue downstream. These streams do not connect further on and flow into various river systems.
This bifurcation is located near Oymyakon, known as the Pole of Cold. That is why, by the way, our expedition is called "The pole of cold connecting the oceans". In July, I hope, there will be no great cold, because it's still summer... First we’ll go to the west, and then the route will turn north-west.
There are several poles of cold on Earth. In the southern hemisphere, the Pole of Cold is currently located in Antarctica, at the Russian Antarctic station Vostok in the depths of the continent. In 1983 there was registered a temperature of -89.2 degrees Celsius. This is the lowest naturally occurring temperature ever recorded on Earth. In the northern hemisphere, there are two places in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). These are Verkhoyansk and Oymyako. In 1938 in Oymyakon a temperature of -77,8 degrees Celsius was registered. Provided that the station "Vostok" is located at an altitude of 3,488 m above the sea level, according to the given temperature values, Oymyakon claims to be the absolute pole of cold.
There will be several settlements on our way. First of all, it's Oymyakon himself. Then the route crosses the famous Kolyma highway (Yakutsk – Magadan). Of course, there are settlements there. But there are great distances between them.
Among other interesting places we will come across the ancient village of Russkoye Ustie, where there remains a community of ancient settlers. Dwellers of this village still speak with a dialect, dating back to the language of Novgorod of the XVI century.
We will spend a night in tents - there are no hotels in those places. Well, or in our boats, depending on where the night falls. Wild animals on the route of our expedition, of course, could be found, including such large ones as bears and tigers. However, they almost never attack humans. If we see them, we'll just be happy.
Task: a new way for cargo and tourists
- The idea of expedition was suggested by colleagues from the all-Russian Union of Rescuers. If all goes well, we might make a geographical discovery. The fact is that they usually go from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean by sea, around Chukotka and Kamchatka. No one has ever covered this route across the continent. At least, in our times. And we are going not only to pass, but also to describe this route from the scientific and geographical point of view. The idea of the expedition was supported by a grant from the Russian Geographical Society.
The task of the expedition is to prove that there is an inner waterway between the Pacific and the Arctic oceans. At least, this is an interesting tourist route, which I am sure will become popular in the future. And maybe we will be able to open a new and promising transport highway.