Yakutia Republic - West

west of yakutsk

Yakutia is the largest administrative territory in Russia. Remote, scarcely populated corners of the republic attract adventure-minded travelers to make trips to "the end of the road". The northernmost destination is the village of Yurung-Khaya (Юрюнг-Хая) located at latitude 73 degrees north close to the Arctic Ocean (Laptev Sea).

Anabar Bay, Yuryung-Khaya (72°49') is considerably higher north than the other "ends of the road":
Nordkapp in Norway (70°58');  Prudhoe Bay in the USA (70°19');  Vayda-Guba near Murmansk in Russia (69°56');

Tuktoyaktuk in Canada (69°26');  One degree latitude equals 111 km, one minute latitude equals 1.85 km.


In March 2016 a group of four foreign travelers plus myself drove 4,000 km from Irkutsk to Yurung-Khaya. They were the first foreigners who using standard cars reached Anabar district by zimnik - a seasonal winter road that exists only in cold season when swamps and rivers are solidly frozen. Left to right: Harry Tuomola (Finland), Kolja Spoeri (Monaco, Germany), Michael von Hassel (Germany), Ben Dowson (UK, Indonesia)

The first zimnik runs from the town of Verkhnemarkovo (Верхнемарково) in Irkutsk Oblast to the town of Mirny (Мирный) in Yakutia. 1,100 km through taiga where there are no villages, no gas stations, no hostels, no police, no ambulance service.

Mirny (Мирный) is famous for the gigantic diamond mine. The crater is the 2nd-largest excavated hole in the world and has yielded US$ 17.5 billion worth of diamonds.

From Mirny 510 km to Udachny (Удачный) - another diamond mining town located close to the Arctic Circle.

From Udachny it is 1,050 km of zimnik to the end of the road in the village of Yurung-Khaya (Юрюнг-Хая).  You can get fuel and a place to sleep in Olenek (Оленёк) 300 km from Udachny and in Saskylakh (Саскылах) 910 km from Udachny.

A Siberian sable.

Ben Dowson living in Indonesia failed to control the car on a snow-covered road.

From Olenek to Saskylakh first 50 km run through taiga...

.... then about 550 km by the frozen Anabar River.

saskylakh - саскылах

The northernmost church in Russia.

The hotel in Saskylakh.

The local administration office.

Evgeny Laptev - the Anabar governor (as of 2016) is very helpful to travelers.

An aerial view of the Anabar River. The track in the middle of the river is the winter road to Yurung-Khaya (Юрюнг-Хая).

The last leg of the trip: zimnik Saskylakh - Yurung-Khaya. 160 km. Very few trees. Open tundra.

yuryung-khaya - юрюнг-хая

Harald Buben (Austria) and Kolja Spoeri (Monaco, Germany) .

Any deviation from the main street is fraught with consequences. The snow is loose and deep.

A two-minute video of a dancing Niva approaching the town of Udachny by zimnik from Yurung-Khaya.