February - April
This extreme overland expedition takes participants through the vast Siberian wilderness along ice roads and up into Anabar, the most northern district on mainland Yakutia. You will have the chance to meet indigenous Yakut horse herders, Evenki or Dolgan reindeer herders, visit some of the world's biggest open-pit diamond mines, sacred shamanic sites, ancient rock paintings and visit places that have been seen by very few foreigners.
Day 1
Drive 250km from Yakutsk to Khangalasskiy District, partly along dirt track, partly off-road and partly along an ice road on the frozen river surface of the River Lena, Russia's biggest river. On the way we will pass the Lena Pillars, huge fingers of rock up to 220 metres tall sticking up out of the river banks over a distance of forty kilometres, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is also a sacred shamanic site and ancient rock painting of animals on some of the cliffs. We will also pass many isolated log cabin villages where hunters, fishermen, herders and famers live.

In the evening we arrive at the log cabin village of Sinsk. The village is very basic, with no running water or central heating. Every house has a separate traditional bath house. Homes are heated by firewood and have moss tucked between the logs that make up the walls as insulation. Most houses have ice cellars below them, caverns and tunnels hacked into the permafrost where meat and fish can be stored all year round. Many houses have traditional Yakut dung-covered stables called hotton.

Overnight in a local home. Traditional bath house can be used if required.
Day 2
Snowmobile trip to visit horse herders nearby in the woods and on the Lena River islands. Visit several different herds and spend the day observing and taking part in the daily lives of the herders, feeding the horses, herding them, moving them from one pasture area to another, watering them, scraping ice off their coats, collecting ice for water, cutting trees for firewood, and so on.
Day 3
Drive 400km on the frozen surface of the River Lena from Sinsk to Olekminsk. Overnight in hotel.
Day 4
Drive 420km along the frozen surface of the River Lena from Olekminsk to Lensk. Overnight in hotel.
Day 5
Drive 230km from Lensk to Mirniy. City tour. View sunset the open-pit diamond mine, which at 525 metres deep and 1200 metres across is one of the biggest man-made holes in the world. Overnight in hotel.
Day 6
View sunrise over diamond mine. Drive 460km to Aykhal. Overnight in small private hotel or local home.
Day 7
City tour, meetings with locals. Visit the open-pit diamond mine.
Day 8
Drive 80km from Aykhal to Udachniy, crossing the Arctic Circle on the way and stopping to visit a mana tree where locals come to leave offerings.
City tour, visit another one of the world's largest open-caste diamond mines at 630 metres deep. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9
Drive 280km on a rough zimnik that cuts through the dense taiga forest of northern Yakutia until we reach the small village of Olenyok. Overnight in small private hotel or home.
Day 10
Drive another 490km north through completely uninhabited wilderness, mostly driving on the frozen surface of the Anabar River. Eventually arrive in Saskylakh, the capital of Anabar District, the most northern mainland region of Yakutia. Saskylakh, population 2,000 and Yuryung-Khaya, populateon 1,000, are the only two settlements in Anabar District.

By now we are around 700km north of the Arctic Circle and well beyond the tree line. All around is nothing but the vast icy plains of the tundra.

Overnight in local home or small private hotel.
Day 11
Drive the final 150 kilometers north to the end of the ice road in Yuryung-Khaya, the third most northern settlement in Russia after Syndassko and Dikson. There are no Russians here and not even any Yakuts or Evenki. All of the inhabitants belong to the Dolgan ethnic minority and most live by nomadic reindeer herding, mammoth tusk hunting or hunting the 1-million head herd of wild reindeer that migrates through their territory.
Day 12
Day exploring Yuryung-Khaya and the surrounding area. On these two days in Yuryung-Khaya, if so desired, we can do a trip out to an encampment of nomadic Dolgan reindeer herders in the tundra. These nomads build wooden cabins on sledge runners and when they migrate their reindeer teams drag the whole home to a new site.

Be warned, however, that the felt temperature in the Yuryung-Khaya tundra can easily hit -70 Centigrade and you will have to sit on a wooden sledge attached to the back of a snowmobile (as pictured below) for 2 - 5 hours to reach the nomad camp. The cold will not be a problem if you have the right clothing, but nevertheless it is an extremely uncomfortable mode of transport!
Also, as the nearest petrol station is 650km away in Olenyok, prices for trips like this are extremely expensive and the cost (probably around 80,000 rubles for two snowmobiles) may not be worth it for just an overnight trip.
Day 13
Day exploring Yuryung-Khaya and the surrounding area.
Day 14
Drive back to Saskylakh on the ice road and fly out to Yakutsk. Service ends here.
Sinsk village, Yakutia
Horse herder with horses near Sinsk, Yakutia
Sacred site near Olyenek, Yakutia
Udachny - Olenyok winter road, Yakutia
One of Aykhal’s diamond mines, Yakutia
Pausing for a break during a nomadic migration, Anabarskiy District, Yakutia

  • Rental of vehicle with driver, petrol, all driver's food and expenses and the return journey and payment for leaving the car in heated garages every night along the way (without this it will be impossible to start the engine in the mornings).
  • English-speaking guide and all his food and expenses
  • All food and (non-alcoholic) drinks throughout the trip
  • Accommodation in hotels or local homes every night of the trip if using a Land Cruiser, accommodation in the Kamaz if using Kamaz.
  • Rental of snowmobiles in Sinsk and Aykhal
  • City tours plus excursions to diamond mines in Mirniy and Udachniy
  • Flights from Saskylakh to Yakutsk
  • Satellite phone for emergency use
  • Letters of invitation for 30-day single-entry tourist visas

          • Flights into Yakutsk at the beginning of the trip or out of Yakutsk at the end of the trip
          • Accommodation, food, guiding or transport in Yakutsk. This can be added at extra cost if required.
          • Snowmobile hire or nomads trip in Yuryung-Khaya
          • Clothing or equipment
          • Alcoholic drinks
          • Personal expenses
          • Personal travel insurance or medical insurance
          • Personal or work-related satellite phone calls. These can be purchased at 150 rubles per minute if required.
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