Now, when the window is just above zero, remembering the operational photo session on the Yovsky plateau, when I almost froze two fingers, is at least funny. But even now I am a little jealous of myself, because it will take me a long time to see something just as stunning again. And we got there almost by accident: the Northern Urals, opposing our attempt to lay a piece of the global snowmobile track “North” on its chest, in return provided something amazing.
The first day of our arduous expedition ended with a return to the Serebryansky Kamen tourist center, which a few hours ago had quite kindly said goodbye to us – and, it was thought, for good. However, as they say, something went wrong. Honestly, when I returned, I was sincerely convinced that I would prefer to spend tomorrow in blissful idleness, so hard these 45 (plus 45 more back) kilometers were. But the group’s war council, which met at dinner, decided that the prevailing damn frosty weather allowed short-range radial travel. Having heard the wordy promises of something very impressive, as well as the intriguing words “the highest peak of the region,” I thought that this adventure would definitely not do without me. And we’ll sleep off sometime later.
It turned out that the group had to – neither more nor less – climb Mount Konzhak. But, as you know, it was smooth on paper … It was only about 20 kilometers to the top of the mountain from our base, and in words the planned trip looked like an easy walk compared to the extreme of the first day. Nevertheless, this trip turned out to be very difficult. But now, remembering those adventures, I understand that I would go there again, even knowing what exactly awaits me.
All the efforts spent on the road to Konzhak more than compensated for those beauties that do not even open from the top – from the so-called Yovskoy plateau, from which about 300 meters up to the top of Konzhak. But about the beauties later. Another conclusion that I came to after the expedition is very simple: if you want to confidently ride a snowmobile in unknown places – swing your biceps. Riding a “snowball” through the thicket is not a trivial task, given the amount of snow under the track and skis, and the frequency with which the slopes of the mountain are studded with trees.
It was as if a careless cook had overturned a salt shaker with seeds over Konjak’s saucepan.
Sometimes it seemed that here and on foot you would not suddenly pass, but you have to drag a rather big car through the crevices between the trees … In general, turning around a century-old pine tree in three steps by dragging the snowmobile skis with your own hands is a commonplace situation, take my word for it. It used to be more fun.
For example, when a snowmobile breaks down. It would seem that during the first day of the expedition we could get used to the fact that this sometimes happens to them, especially in such a wild frost. But in such a situation every time is like the first time. Moreover, not only the rider is interested in the speedy restoration of the equipment’s performance, but also everyone who is unlucky enough to be behind. The expedition through the forest goes in a “train”, in the back of each other’s head, and a detour of an unexpectedly sick car is associated with the need to lay a new loop – and this is not possible everywhere. Thus, the concept of mutual assistance acquired a new, unusual sound before our eyes.
But the repair of a Japanese snowmobile with the Ural hammer was already perceived as something completely ordinary: the controllability of a snow car in the forest turned out to be an amazingly significant detail, so the frozen steering rods were dealt with in haste. Nevertheless, despite all the efforts, one snowmobile nevertheless died completely – and waited for the group to return at the approaches to the Yovskoy plateau, on the border of the forest, and returned back in tow.
The horseless ones were thrown to the top in turn, in live machines.
And it was definitely worth all the agony it went through. The views from the Yovka plateau at sunset on a frosty day are one of the most impressive sights that I have seen in my life, and I have seen a lot. On the one hand, this is really worth being proud of – that you happened to see something previously unseen. On the other hand, it is truly a pity that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the Urals are deprived of such a spectacle. After all, in order to enjoy these beauties, you must at least get off the couch. And the efforts that need to be spent for this are for some reason unbearable for the majority of our fellow citizens …
For my part, I am sure that next summer I will repeat the ascent of Konzhak in one way or another (most likely on foot). I would love to see the same places in the warm season. As a maximum, I will rediscover them from an unexpected side. At least, in this way, I will eliminate the danger of frostbite fingers, which now remain with me, by and large, only thanks to Konstantin Kuznetsov, the leader of our expedition. However, for all the other joys of this extreme trip, we should first of all thank him – both for his emotions, and for unprecedented sensations, and for meeting amazing people who are sincerely keen on nature tourism.
Konstantin is generally a lot of different crazy ideas in an amicable way. Why not, for example, climb the famous Dyatlov pass on snowmobiles? Why not, for example, hunt with a camera on the stone idols of the Manpupuner plateau, fanned by pagan legends? Why not, after all, just stand on the shores of the Arctic Ocean? When else happens – life, as you know, is short and our task is to make it as rich as possible. Traveling is one of the easiest and most comprehensive ways to achieve this.
Photo: © Dmitry Elizarov
Video: Dmitry Elizarov, Dmitry Antonenkov, Anna Rybakova
The editors would like to thank the Adventurers’ Club and personally Konstantin Kuznetsov for the indescribable emotions and invaluable experience