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  #1  
Old 12 Jan 2011
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Earlist start for 2011 in Magadan?

Hi,
I'm planning on shipping to Magadan to ride the road of bones (new if solo, old if I can find someone else to ride along). Any ideas what the earliest I could start riding to not encounter too much water/ice/cold?

I've done some climate research for weather, but not too sure about the snow melt.
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Old 12 Jan 2011
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Aug-Sept is the answer but you should check out the Godfather of this area, Walter Colebatch of Sibirsky Extreme he has some excellent ride reports.
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  #3  
Old 12 Jan 2011
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Sibirsky Extreme

Walter's site is here: Sibirsky Extreme

Best of luck with the trip.
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  #4  
Old 12 Jan 2011
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July/sept the absolute earliest? I dont mind a bit of cold weather but just don't want to encounter ice in the daytime.
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  #5  
Old 15 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveg View Post
Hi,
I'm planning on shipping to Magadan to ride the road of bones (new if solo, old if I can find someone else to ride along).
Count me in! Ok, maybe not... but that would be sweet!

Hey, you just got your bike after 3 months of "shipping." So eager to ship it again?
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  #6  
Old 15 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by Dr. Benny View Post
Count me in! Ok, maybe not... but that would be sweet!

Hey, you just got your bike after 3 months of "shipping." So eager to ship it again?
What else will you have to do when you finish your mexico moto movie???
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  #7  
Old 15 Jan 2011
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For water/ice/mud problems much depends on the route you chose. The graded federal road should not have standing water and has bridges across all rivers.

If you don't mind low temperatures, you could probably leave Magadan as early as May when it only gets -ve temperatures (C) at night.

If you want to use all the old summer roads you should leave it until July - ideally a little later.

On SibirskyExtreme we did the RoB from Yakutsk and Magadan in mid July 2009. The entire RoB from Yakutsk, using some summer routes, took us 3.5 days. A few short patches of mud and a couple of very small, shallow streams, but no real problems - other than mosquitos and my many flat tyres.

You can look up past weather records for temperature, rain etc for various months and years through here CLIMATE Magadan - Historical May 2009 - Weather
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  #8  
Old 15 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
For water/ice/mud problems much depends on the route you chose. The graded federal road should not have standing water and has bridges across all rivers.

On SibirskyExtreme we did the RoB from Yakutsk and Magadan in mid July 2009. The entire RoB from Yakutsk, using some summer routes, took us 3.5 days. A few short patches of mud and a couple of very small, shallow streams, but no real problems - other than mosquitos and my many flat tyres.
Cheers Tony, I know the road conditions can vary significantly but it might be helpful (at least to me) if you could differentiate the summer roads and the graded federal roads and where they fit into the grand scheme of the M56 Kolyma highway network/Road of Bones. These are some of my fave pictures of the Kolyma region from your adventure BTW! Simply breathtaking. Are these all what you would consider summer roads?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch

















Cheers

xXx
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Old 15 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
it might be helpful (at least to me) if you could differentiate the summer roads and the graded federal roads and where they fit into the grand scheme of the M56 Kolyma highway network/Road of Bones.
At the risk of repeating some of which might be already known -

There is no Road of Bones!

This was the term given in Stalin's time to the entire network of roads in the Kolyma area built by Gulag prisoners. The name came from the human cost, said to be one life per metre of road. It is also said the bodies were buried into the road itself.
The term RoB is only used in the west, by the likes of HU and ADV travellers. Russians these days dont recognise the term and look at you quite blankly - but they do understand the Kolyma Highway.
Google 'Kolyma' for more of the history of the region.

The Kolyma Highway is the M56 - a road maintained by the Federal Government i.e. central government of the Russian Federation, hence the term Federal Road.
Being a Federal Road means it has proper bridges, drainage run-offs and is regularly graded and repaired to be passable at all times. It does not mean a sealed surface - as the photos show.

Other roads in the area are the responsibility of local communities and are maintained on a very hap-hazard basis - if at all.
These are called Summer roads because they are passable (if you are lucky) in summer.
Winter roads are tracks or roads that are only passable when the ground or water beneath is frozen solid.

The M56 Kolyma Highway follows the route from Yakutsk, Khandigar, Kubeme(almost), Ust-Nera, Susuman, Orotukan , Palatka to Magadan. In Cyrillic (for those without my Altas!) Якуск, Хандыга, Кюбеме, Усть-Нера, Сусуман, Оротукан, Палатка, Магадан.

Photos 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 were all on the Federal Road.

The old bridge in 3 has been replaced by a concrete one from where the photo was taken.

The bridge in 4 is at Kubeme, a half mile off the federal road, on the old summer road where Colebatch worked hard doing double duty last summer! That summer road (before the bridge collapsed and communities then ceased living along it) went due east from Kubeme, rejoining the federal road at Kadhikchan (Кадыкчан).

Photos 8 and 9 were on the western parts of another summer road by-passing Susuman/Ogotukan to the south, through Ust-Om (Уст-Омчуг) and rejoining the federal road at Palatka where it is tarmac/concrete for the cruise down to Magadan - and celebration s!

Although I took the first one on Colebatch's camera, I must say they are all great photos of quite spectacular scenery (in my view only beaten by the north Baikal area on the BAM) - they make me want to go again!

Maybe I will!
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Old 15 Jan 2011
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Awesome Tony, thanks. Are collapsed bridges that have been replaced with new ones still there? They have an eery beauty to them and are like an historical artefact or memorial. Would be a real shame to destroy them...
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Old 15 Jan 2011
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Are collapsed bridges that have been replaced with new ones still there?
Yes.

If a bridge collapses it is just left there in pieces.
What purpose is there in picking up the pieces? Trees/timber are not exactly in short supply if someone wants to build another!

When wooden bridges are replaced by concrete ones on Fereral Roads the road is usually realigned for the new bridge - leaving the old wooden bridge alongside to its own fate. As in photo 3.
Ecologically, it's probably the most natural thing to do too.

On the Kolyma we ignored some of the new bridges and rode over the old wooden ones. They provided more interesting photos/videos (if we kept the new one out of picture!), and occasionally a shorter route.

On the BAM it was a different story. We were just grateful if anything was left that might assist us getting across. At one river, the bridge had collapsed and the main section was missing. Looking for possible fording places we found the missing section some distance downstream where it had floated and wedged between the riverbanks. We pushed the bikes over the 'raft'.
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Old 23 Jan 2011
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My advice is pretty similar to Tonys.

I would probably not recommend the M56 Kolyma Highway (all season roads) before early to mid June. You will have a lot of snow melt still at that time and you are more likely to have washed away sections and serious water crossings in June. That means the main route can have challenging sections then, and the Old Summer Road at that time is in the "You must be kidding" ("I think no") category.

I would wait at least until mid July to tackle the Old Summer Road. Best time will be the month of August ... with 2 weeks either side of that in the "tough / risky / challenging but possible" category.

By mid September its frozen with sub zero temperatures possible during the day, let alone the night.
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Last edited by colebatch; 27 Jan 2011 at 15:47.
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  #13  
Old 23 Jan 2011
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Sounds like I'll get there for beginning of August. I'm totally rearranging my trip to make it happen by shipping to Europe from SE Asia -- plus, I hope to find other people riding it.

Anyone know of other riders who want to take the old summer road this August
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Old 26 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by daveg View Post
Sounds like I'll get there for beginning of August. I'm totally rearranging my trip to make it happen by shipping to Europe from SE Asia -- plus, I hope to find other people riding it.

Anyone know of other riders who want to take the old summer road this August
There are a few riders going in the direction of Yakutsk to Magadan this year ...

Search for RTWDoug, SRace7, and a Motoreiter ... all are on the HUBB.

As far as I know, none are planning the Old Summer Road, but most of those chaps have arms that could probably be twisted if there were others planning that route.

EdteamSLR is another HUBBer who I believe IS planning the Old Summer Road this summer.

So thats 4 good contacts for you
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  #15  
Old 27 Jan 2011
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10-4 Colebatch: djadams and I are heading that way for sure. Not long now.
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