Yakutsk: The coldest place on Earth

What life is like in the coldest place on Earth

Photo: Getty Images

The city of Yakutsk holds an uncomfortable record: it’s the coldest inhabited city in the world. Here’s what everyday life looks like at minus 44.9 degrees 

In this frosty weather we all wish we could be transported to a sunny place like a tropical island, but the British winter, with an average of about minus three degrees, is still relatively cosy and warm. At least, that’s what the 269,000 inhabitants of the Russian city of Yakutsk would think. The average temperature in the Siberian town in the coldest month of January is minus 44.9 degrees.

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It’s no wonder, as Yakutsk lies just below the Arctic Circle. In this chilly community, the mercury can drop to temperatures of minus 64 degrees Celsius.

You’d have to doff your wooly hat to the brave inhabitants who spend their lives in this inhospitable place. Likewise, respect is due to photographer Amos Chapple who dared to take a trip to the icy outpost to capture life there with his camera.


© Facebook/Amoschapple

The New Zealander also travelled the 575 miles to the distant village of Oymyakon to digitally document the people who live in this region. The residents of these places often let their cars run 24 hours a day so the engines don’t freeze. They also use outdoor toilets, as pipes in their homes tend to ice up.

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Chapple’s work in Siberia was far from easy as most of the people wanted to get off the streets and reach the next warm spot as soon as possible. He also had to come up with a few tricks to protect his equipment. To prevent his camera from freezing, he carried it close to his body and only pulled it out from beneath his jacket for photos. When shooting, Amos also had to hold his breath, otherwise the steam would ruin the pictures. But the results from this snowy setting are spectacular.


© Facebook/Amoschapple

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Here are some survival tips for extreme outdoor trips this winter:

1. Use the onion principle: Several thin layers insulate against the cold better than a few thick ones. You can also easily change out of them if you get too warm 

2. Protect the head and extremities: Don’t forget the knitted hat and gloves. And you can use layered clothing on your fingers too. Top off your skinny gloves with mittens. When temperatures really plummet, make sure you pack a face guard

3. Stand tough: Don’t sit all day in the cosy heated living room. You should venture outside in the snow to get used to the cold. Even briefly walking barefoot will improve the circulation. 

4. The right food: Hot spices such as chili and ginger also stimulate circulation. Hot ginger tea provides the perfect warming tonic for your next trek

5. Avoid hunger and thirst: Drink and eat regularly to maintain calorie levels and keep your hydration constant. Avoid drinking alcohol even if you feel warmer afterwards as it dehydrates the body

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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