Wrapping up Siberia

This was my first trip to Russia so I feel like I ought to have learned a little bit about the country, something besides just spending a bunch of days wandering around the mountains of Siberia.  However, I’m not sure that I know much more about Russia now than before I left.  Our trip was like going to the US and just visiting a couple national parks in Alaska, say Denali and the Wrangell Mountains (it’s a comparison I can justifiably make since I’ve done such a trip :)).  You can see some incredible scenery, maybe some animals, and meet other like-minded trekkers from various parts of the country.  Even the meeting people part was difficult for me since I don’t speak any Russian.

We did pass through a number of cities and towns in Siberia: Gorno Altaysk, Barnaul, Novokuznetsk, Abakan, and last but certainly not least Krasnoyarsk.  Before getting to Krasnoyarsk, I was afraid I’d have to report that I didn’t see a single nice urban area in Siberia.  I felt it was like Indonesia in that regard — a great place to visit for nature, but they sure don’t know how to do cities.  Krasonyarsk wasn’t wonderful, but it was nice enough and gives me some hope for other built up places in Siberia and Russia in general.

Krasnoyarsk’s bridge over the Yenisei River, the 5th longest river in the world, is so exciting that it’s featured on the 10-ruble note.

IMG_20190902_154127 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20190917_131931 by bryandkeith on flickr

This building wouldn’t look out of place in South Beach:

IMG_20190902_153041 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN4258 by bryandkeith on flickr

That second photo, of course, is taken in South Beach.  How often do people compare Siberia with Miami?!

A friend was climbing Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan while Özgür and I were in Siberia.  As we had a couple days in Krasnoyarsk at the end of our trip, she had a couple days in Bishkek at the end of hers.  Her photos of the oversized Soviet-era government buildings in Bishkek looked no different than these buildings in Krasnoyarsk:

IMG_20190902_145545 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20190902_145742 by bryandkeith on flickr

As exciting as Krasnoyarsk was, on our second and last day in the city, I left the urban area behind and took a short bus ride to Stolby, the large nature reserve at the edge of the city.  It’s known for its granite “pillars” (stolby), typically climbed without ropes.  Alex had suggested that I try climbing the First Pillar:

This shows the route I tried up the First Pillar. by bryandkeith on flickr

and the Second Pillar:

I think the crack in the center of this photo is the easiest route up the Second Pillar. by bryandkeith on flickr

They both looked reasonable enough, and I started up the First Pillar only to get scared on a slabby section with my big clunky boots.  I think I would have popped right up with rock shoes, but as it was I decided to back down and certainly was happy when I made it back to the ground uneventfully.

Here’s what those two “pillars” look like from a distance:

Looking across at the First and Second pillars by bryandkeith on flickr

Alex recommended a loop hike, heading back to the city via nice trails through the forest that would lead me to the top of the ski resort where I could conveniently take the ski lift down.

IMG_20190903_094709 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20190903_124349 by bryandkeith on flickr

Well, all good, except that the ski lift wasn’t running.  Maybe it’s open on the weekend.  At the top of the ski area there was, however, this nice looking yurt housing a cafe.

IMG_20190903_135437 by bryandkeith on flickr

Also closed.  🙁

It was a fun outing in Stolby.

IMG_20190903_080621 by bryandkeith on flickr

Finally, the yurt reminds me that while we’re in (Christian?) Russia, we’re also in the middle of Asia, not far from (Buddhist?) Mongolia and (Muslim?) Kazakhstan.  The three religions meet in Siberia as we saw when we first flew into Gorno Altayask:

IMG_20190809_093834 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20190808_122359 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20190808_110806 by bryandkeith on flickr

If you’re not confused yet, well, Ganesh bid us farewell to Russia at the Moscow airport:

IMG_20190807_214350 by bryandkeith on flickr

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3 Responses to Wrapping up Siberia

  1. Sage Cohen says:

    My favorite post of all! Wondering how much hinge are now in Turkey.

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Fun to read as always!

  3. Mom says:

    Makes me smile to read about your “Wrapping Up Siberia”, while you and Ferda are cycling in Korea!
    And thank you for paying attention to your big clunky boots and deciding to get safely down off the First Pillar!!

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