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As temperatures sink to -60C in Yakutia, heroic Chinese tourists take a swim!

By The Siberian Times reporter
15 January 2018

Amazing scenes as Russia’s iciest region of Yakutia plunges to near record lows, and even the thermometer in the world’s coldest village breaks down.

Chinese tourists decided to take a dip in temperatures believed to be below -60C.  Picture: YakutiaMedia

Never mind how cold it gets, life goes on as normal at the outdoor fish market in Yakutsk, but even locals in this vast territory were surprised when Chinese tourists decided to take a dip in temperatures believed to be below -60C.

In recent days the temperature almost as low as it gets in Siberia, with Oymyakon - the coldest village in the world - recording an official low of -59C.

Natural mascara


In the city of Yakutsk, temperatures in recent days nudged -50C  Picture and video: Anastasia Gruzdeva

A new electronic thermometer in the village - in Yakutia region, also known as Sasha Republic - showed it to be colder, at  -62C.

But then it broke - because it was too cold!

Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C at their properties, in touching distance of -67.7C, the coldest-ever officially recorded for a permanently inhabited settlement anywhere in the world, and the frostiest in the Northern hemisphere. 

Minus 62 in Oymyakon


Minus 65 in Oymyakon

A new electronic thermometer in Oymyakon showed it to be colder, at  -62C. Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C at their properties. Pictures: @sivtseva9452, Ykt.ru

This didn’t stop some visiting Chinese tourists stripping off and tourists taking swim, as this remarkable video shows.

These heroic cold warriors won admiration from locals. 

As Yakutian journalist journalist Elena Pototskaya said: 'Today at the Pole of Cold in  Oymyakon - in 65-degree frost - Chinese tourists swim in ice-free spring Yeyemu.

'Today at the Pole of Cold in  Oymyakon - in 65-degree frost - Chinese tourists swim in ice-free spring Yeyemu.'  Video: Elena Pototskaya

'This does not freeze even in severe frosts in Oymyakon. Horror! Us locals, are afraid to go out in such a cold. And here ... the tourists are swimming …!'

Officially, Oymyakon hit -67.7C (-89.9F) in February 1933, and another settlement in the region, Verkhoyansk, claims a reading of -68C in 1885. The latter is not officially recognised. 

In the city of Yakutsk, temperatures in recent days nudged -50C - but as this video shows, the fish market remained open and doing good business. 

Cold in Yakutsk


Cold in Yakutsk


Cold in Yakutsk


Cold days in Yakutsk. Pictures: @m_troeva, @volshebniy_misha, @alfi__ya, foto_by_oleg7

Resident Vladimir Danilov takes you on a tour of the market showing some of the excellent local fish you can buy.

'It's  minus 48 degrees outside maybe... I came to buy stroganina,' he said.

'This is our fish. Here is the treasure... the broad whitefish to make stroganina - for 850 roubles.' ($15)

Stroganina is a popular dish of the indigenous people of Siberia - raw, thein, long-sliced frozen fish.

'While filming the trading rows my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?' 

'Here is the 'tsarina' - nelma. No price, maybe they’re shy to show, as it is too expensive, about 1,000 roubles I think. ($17.70). Very expensive. From this side you can see fish, for every taste.' 

He admitted: 'The local time is 17.00. While filming the trading rows my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?' 

Elsewhere in Oymyakon cameraman Semyon Vinokurov commented while filming: 'Today we have the temperature -56C at 1 pm. In the morning it was -60C. 

Fish market


Fish market


Fish market

Fish market in Yakutsk. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

'Now we’re brushing the snow off our Yakut horses. For us this is normal. It's strange that journalists call and ask how you live here. I answer, you come and see for yourself that we live an ordinary life.' 

Elsewhere the was ballet on ice in minus 41C as a Siberian pirouettes in the cold winter. Photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina in Yakutsk to show her moves in true Snow White conditions. 

Semyon Vinokurov shows that even at minus 60 Oymyakon lives a normal life. 

'I really did take pictures of the ballerina outside in minus 41, it is not Photoshopped,' he said. 'It was my idea, actually it is my project, to photograph ballerinas on the city streets. 

'Previous pictures were taken in the warm season, and this one is so far my only winter image. I got much criticism with people are saying that the girl must be  cold or  will have some other issues with her health.'

But, he said, it didn't take long and he had a warm coat and valenki - felt boots - for her to put on immediately afterwards. 

Ballerina


Ballerina

Photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina in Yakutsk to show her moves in true Snow White conditions. Picture: Petr Chugunov, CrimeYakutia

Yet as well as triumph over the cold, there was tragedy too. 

A horse breeder and four friends went to check his animals near the Kenkeme River. The car stalled and they set out on foot. 

They had to carry one man who had a bad back and could not walk. The group were not properly dressed for the harsh weather and two tragically froze to death before the others were rescued.

Russia’s iciest region of Yakutia plunges to near record lows. Pictures: Semen Sivtsev, @khakhsaat_djulus, @moonanemone, @ion_ionsky

Oymyakon


Semyon Sivtsev


Khakhsaat Djulus


Cold in Yakutia


Cold in Yakutia


Cold in Yakutia

Comments (52)

Can someone pls send me to this place? I would love to see this with my own eyes you can reach me on 233242356107. We have high humidity and temperature around 30 deg C. always
David, Ghana
18/01/2018 05:07
0
1
We think that 50 degrees F is cold down here. Yowser!
Scott Tudehope, Etiwanda, California
18/01/2018 04:11
0
0
Great pictures, thanks.
Scott, Owen Sound / Canada
18/01/2018 02:15
0
0
"Open gangnam style.."
Sandyforever, Calcutta
18/01/2018 01:07
1
0
cool
jack sparrow, california
18/01/2018 00:36
1
1
Reply to previous comment about the water - in the video, it is a warm spring under ice. Interesting article here: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0512_040512_tvoymyakon.html At the end of the first page / beginning of page 2, is explorer Nick Middleton's description of the water experience.
Thomas Burnett, Seattle, USA
18/01/2018 00:05
1
1
-60 ? how come water in the lake is no where close to being frozen ? is it a hotspring ?
Sheesh, Corona
17/01/2018 22:28
6
3
I wouldn`t survive under those temperatures. My God!
guelli macauley, Brazil
17/01/2018 21:59
3
0
What makes them heroes? Was it a fundraiser?
Isaac, United States
17/01/2018 21:42
2
0
These cities (Oymyakon and Verkhoiansk) are hundreds kilometers close to the artic..How is the ice doing there ? Melting :-)
DIDIER, France
17/01/2018 21:00
0
4
Beautiful photos!! Makes me want to visit!!
Lynn, Michigan, USA
17/01/2018 20:54
4
2
IF it is -62C, why isnt the water the chinese are splashing on themselves frozen?????
Sam, Detroit/USA
17/01/2018 20:50
3
1
I like cold much better than hot weather...but not this cold though. My ideal temperature is between 40F to 65F.
john, usa
17/01/2018 20:38
1
2
Thank you for proving to the world that climate change is nothing more than a whimsical fable!
Randy Johnson, Northville, Michigan USA
17/01/2018 19:37
10
57
Beautiful images. Where I live and have lived as a child snow is rare, or at least it was until this year, and I'm always astounded by the beauty of cold weather.
Heidi, Atlanta, GA USA
17/01/2018 19:27
3
1

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