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'The possession of Siberia's natural wealth has become vital in determining Russia’s position in the world'
W.Bruce Lincoln

Like ancient Arctic warriors on the march, suddenly petrified by a magic spell

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 March 2016

Photographer seeks crowdfunding for trip to this little known natural wonder so remote that almost no pictures exist.

'Right in the middle of the bare tundra were buttes some 10 to 20 metres high, standing in groups and alone, like some warriors on march.' Picture: Alexander Krivoshapkin

The eerie images shown here were taken from a helicopter by biologist and photographer Alexander Krivoshapkin during a trip to count wild reindeer herds around the Ulakhan-Sis mountain range in the north-east of the giant Sakha Republic.

Other examples of these striking granite buttes - known as the Sundrun Pillars - have never been photographed, it is believed. 

Now Moscow photographer and traveller Segey Karpukhin wants to visit the site, so remote that it is around 3,000 kilometres north-east of the republic's capital Yakutsk, itself one of Russia's most secluded locations.

Ulakhan-Sis


Ulakhan-Sis


Ulakhan-Sis


Ulakhan-Sis

The eerie images shown here were taken from a helicopter by biologist and photographer Alexander Krivoshapkin during a trip to count wild reindeer herds around the Ulakhan-Sis mountain range. Pictures: Alexander Krivoshapkin

His aim is to return by land not air with his colleague Alexander Krivoshapkin to properly record these lonely sentinels which guard these expansive landscapes above the Arctic Circle between the Soviet-era GULAG region of Kolyma and the Sundrun River.

'Right in the middle of the bare tundra were buttes some 10 to 20 metres high, standing in groups and alone, like some warriors on march, who were suddenly petrified with malicious intent of a local shaman centuries ago,' said Sergey Karpukhin, describing the 2012 fly-past by Alexander Krivoshapkin.

'Or like the ruins of an ancient city, which was inhabited by a hitherto unknown people. At the time, Alexander could only take some pictures through the porthole. It was not a photographic expedition, but only for aerial counting. And when I saw these these pictures, I was fascinated.

Sergey Karpukhin

Moscow photographer and traveller Segey Karpukhin wants to return to the site with Alexander Krivoshapkin to properly record these lonely sentinels. Picture: Segey Karpukhin

'Ulakhan-Sis is quite elongated and those relict buttes - vividly reminiscent of the idols of Easter Island, but of natural origin - which can be seen in the photos, are common in the eastern part of the range. '

But similar sights are believed to exist in the western part of the this range which stretches some 160 kilometres. 'Locals too cannot tell anything about this landscape, although the western part seems more accessible, as it is closer to the Indigirka River.'

They plan to travel there in April, approaching the rock pillars by snowmobile from far-flung Chersky settlement. The weird shapes are believed to be sculpted by relentless freezing and thawing of the granite and surrounding more eroded Devonian sandstone. 

Ulakhan-Sis


Deers


Map

'Ulakhan-Sis is quite elongated and those relict buttes - vividly reminiscent of the idols of Easter Island, but of natural origin - which can be seen in the photos, are common in the eastern part of the range.' Pictures: Alexander Krivoshapkin, Google Maps

In the local Yakut language, these warrior lookalikes are known as 'kisilyakhi', from the word 'kisi',. meaning man. The journey is likely to involve hundreds of kilometres on the Indigirka River. 

They need to raise some 700,000 roubles for the trip - around $9,700.

The link to the fundraising campaign is: https://planeta.ru/campaigns/karpukhins

Comments (10)

My first thought upon seeing these photos were exactly those of Gemma - that they look like igneous dikes! I saw that so clearly at Shiprock, New Mexico all around the formation called Ship Rock, sacred to the Navajo living in the area. I also saw these in Big Bend National Park in far western Texas.
Jason Adamik, Tijeras (Albuquerque area), New Mexico, USA
19/09/2016 22:23
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These are fantastic; they look very similar to igneous dike formations I've seen in Grand County, CO and near Shiprock in NM.
Gemma T, Wisconsin, USA
23/03/2016 20:56
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This looks like a wall ike the Great Wall of China.Notice the"wall"follows the high ridge line.Whoever built this structure intended to keep someone out of their territory.Just some fresh eyes on the subject,that's all.
John, St.Louis,USA
15/03/2016 07:51
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Russia ... Land of Rishis.
L Garou, usa
13/03/2016 07:24
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These rock residuals remind me of Munpupunyor in the Komi Republic. Very interesting.
Thanks for excellent pictures
.
David Truman, Brisbane, Australia
11/03/2016 07:42
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National Geographic has changed hands, and I do not believe the new ownership would be willing to fund any endeavor that did not advance their personal agenda (of which, you may gather from my tone, I do not approve).
Joanne D, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
11/03/2016 04:50
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These are stunning pictures of a breathtaking landscape. Anywhere else in the world, this would be a mecca for tourism, but seems like even Russians know little about it. Is this true or media exaggeration ? This looks like one of top world sites!!!
Jacques D, Bordeaux
10/03/2016 22:07
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On the one hand, I agree that National Geographic is a potential source of funding. On the other hand, I am not sure how they really treat their "freelance" photographers/journalists or what type of contract arrangements can be made with them. I can understand the self-funding to maintain complete independence approach. I hope it all works out for the trip and safe travels across a magnificant landscape & river.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
10/03/2016 21:14
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if he is that good and interested, why does he not contact National Geographic or the likes. THEY for sure would come up with more than is needed.
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
10/03/2016 11:56
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Stunning, awesome and magnificent photos! Thank you for sharing.
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
09/03/2016 20:47
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