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  #1  
Old 15 Feb 2013
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Road of Bones in Winter

We just finished the Road of Bones in winter. Please find the trip report here:

Roadtrip Russia (5) Road of Bones in Winter at -50° to -62°C - Gentleman Adventurer

For those who followed the previous thread, I have to admit defeat:
it is currently not possible to drive the OLD section from Tomtor to Susuman in winter, without lots of preparation time (which we didn't have as you can see) and expedition gear. There is too much snow in the final Cherskyi mountain range and - contrary to the past, when this OLD road was the only road - it is not maintained in winter.

We talked to two local guides, one member of the police team who rescued the Norwegians (at km 80 aparently, not km 150), and even the governor of Sakha Republic, through private contacts.

Facit: it was a fascinating experience to drive 4.200 km in 3 days and nights.


Thereof 2.000 km constantly below - 50° C.

Our record was - 62° C at the petrol station in Kyubyume (Oymyakon District) where we had to pump petrol with our own hands.

Our car finally reached Magadan ... after a total of 20.000 km ... and 12 hours time difference from London.

P.S.: For the ill-wisher who hoped to see my car (wreck) on the road, I have installed a Gessler Hat (Albrecht Gessler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) at the petrol station in Kyubyume (Oymyakon). I know you will nod - if you've made it there ... ;-)


Last edited by Travelbug; 15 Feb 2013 at 12:12. Reason: Foto zoom
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Old 16 Feb 2013
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Amazing experience ... lots of questions

How cold was it inside the car?

Did you make it to Tomtor then turn back or just went direct to Ust Nera from Kyubeme?

How did you deal with the cold?

Did you keep engine running continuously till Magadan?
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Last edited by colebatch; 18 Feb 2013 at 16:56.
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Old 17 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Amazing experience ... lots of questions

How cold was it inside the car?

Did you make it to Tomtor then turn back or just went direct to Ust Nera from Kyubeme?

How did you deal with the cold?

Did you keep engine running continuously till Magadan?

And now there is someone on the HUBB who has driven to Tomtor in a car in Winter
We kept the car running continuously (including at the gas stations), except for 2-3 hours in Yakutsk, where it was parked in the heated hotel garage. The temperature inside the car was not a problem, although we gave most of the heater warmth to the motor, instead of the passenger cell. Only the feet, especially on the passenger side, tended to get cold, even in the -100° C Baffin boots. Was probably below zero there, add the inner moisture and immobility factor.

We wore our full thermo clothing inside the car, plus down sleeping bags as a seat-cover / wrap-around (a functioning seat-heater would have been very helpful).

It occasionally became a little colder, when the window needed to be opened, in order to smoke a cigar. A price we happily paid

One does adapt to the temperatures. Ust-Nera at -55° C felt colder than Kyubyume at -62° C, for whatever reason (moisture?). At -30° in Magadan sunshine we thought, hey this is getting warm.

In Kyubyume, late after midnight, we did NOT turn towards Tomtor (150 km), as we would have lost our escort friend, we didn't really have the time for a 300km+ detour, and we felt that we already had all we wanted (especially the really deep temperature experience). Driving to Tomtor is not a problem. In fact, one of our guide contacts (Slava. Excellent !) was there with a small tourist group that same day.

What I really regret is not having stopped to take the foto of the Oymyakon Rayon monument (it looked like a big thermometer (?)).

And with more time, I would have liked to explore the abandoned town of Kadykchan, seen the dung cobra snake monument in Yulba, plus looked for the "airplane-stuck-in-the-house" ...

Last small regret, I should have bought the better thermo clothing in Siberia.

Last edited by Travelbug; 19 Feb 2013 at 08:30.
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Old 17 Feb 2013
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Re: Road of Bones in Winter

Wow.. well done guys.
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Old 17 Feb 2013
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Well I'll swallow some of my pride (can't eat it all ) well done. It sounds like a great adventure.
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Old 18 Feb 2013
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Thank you gentlemen !
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Old 18 Feb 2013
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Nice exploring and adventure
I might know how is it with those temperatures?
When riding Polar Butt 2011 I had -32C and with wind factor some -66C and it was cold
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Old 18 Feb 2013
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Travelbug, did you view this before your trip? (from 12 months earlier)

I only discovered/saw it now for the first time, but seems to echo what you guys discovered and what I suspected.

Despite having a full support crew, the snow was too deep east of Tomtor and they had to turn back. What did surprise me was even where they had to turn back, there were still vehicle tracks in the snow going forward.

BBC - World's Most Dangerous Roads - Siberia - Road of Bones
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Old 19 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Travelbug, did you view this before your trip? (from 12 months earlier)

I only discovered/saw it now for the first time, but seems to echo what you guys discovered and what I suspected.

Despite having a full support crew, the snow was too deep east of Tomtor and they had to turn back. What did surprise me was even where they had to turn back, there were still vehicle tracks in the snow going forward.

BBC - World's Most Dangerous Roads - Siberia - Road of Bones
Interesting video, colebatch. I didn't know it. They describe precisely the choice situation between old and new RoB in winter. I agree that the vehicle tracks east of Tomtor are "surprising". Even tempting ! I think that the really high snow starts later, outside Oymyakon Valley, on the other, eastern side of the Chersky Mountains, before Kadykchan. Problem 1 is ploughing through that snow and problem 2 is finding the way, for lack of markers. The much higher snow level behind Chersky Range is clearly visible on the new RoB too.
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Old 19 Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by Capo Sakke View Post
When riding Polar Butt 2011 I had -32C and with wind factor some -66C and it was cold
That must have been really tough. What did you and the local Finnish bikers wear in those conditions ? Are ski-doo overalls sufficiently warm and windproof ?
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Old 19 Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by Travelbug View Post
I agree that the vehicle tracks east of Tomtor are "surprising". Ev
I will try and check with sources, but the ongoing tracks looked so fresh that I wonder if they were made by a truck specifically to help the two guys and the tv crew less than 24 hrs earlier. It seems an unlikely coincidence that there was just one set of tracks in the road. No half snowed in tracks. No windblown tracks. Just one set of very fresh tracks. And that one set of tracks was so fresh as to look like it was made to guide them just a few hrs earlier.

When you learn how much was done by local behind the scenes guys for long way round when they were in the region, ypu get pretty sceptical of the integrity of anything seen on tv.
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Old 26 Feb 2013
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When you learn how much was done by local behind the scenes guys for long way round when they were in the region, ypu get pretty sceptical of the integrity of anything seen on tv.

really, like what?

never believe what I see on TV, seen too much rubbish about things I know about!
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