Yakutsk – Labynkyr – Okhotsk Journey

Yakutsk - Oymyakon - Tomtor - Lake Labynkyr - Okhotsk Summer Trekking Expedition. With Reindeer Herders.

Yakutsk – Oymyakon – Tomtor – Lake Labynkyr – Arka – Okhotsk Summer Trekking Expedition. From Yakutia to Khabarovsk Krai! With Siberian Reindeer Herders!

Together with herders from the village of Arka, Khabarovsk Krai we’re planning to embark a big overland expedition from Yakutsk to Okhotsk with trekking between the legendary Lake Labynkyr and its home.

Duration: 25 days.
Dates: 12 July 2017 – 05 August 2017
Expedition Status: guaranteed irrespective of the quantity of invited travelers.
Group size: 1-3 international travelers + 3 Even guides + 1 herder with his own reindeer caravan.
Note: Summer trekking expedition happens once a year. Starts and finishes in Yakutsk, Russia.

Difficulty level: high physical exercise.
Recommended for people, who are physically fit, psychologically healthy, and endurance strong.
Friendly, open-minded trekkers are welcome.

Arka & Forest People

The village of Arka, final destination, is the place Even guides live in. It’s unique. In the Soviet Union time, the settlement was supported pretty well. It was like a big administrative center for reindeer herders’ communities. From here, authorities used to send helicopters with all provision to remote herders’ mountain camps. And here herders received their salaries.

When the USSR collapsed in the 90s, Arka lost support and constant income. It was totally forgotten. Herders were forced to rely on reindeer only, and they stayed in the forest to survive and live their usual life. They are true forest people. Actually, they consider them “forest people.”

Okhotsk Evens lived in the area of expedition for centuries. The first mention of their tribes was noted in the early 17th century. They helped a Russian exploring expedition to make it from Yakutsk to Okhotsk. From 1650 to 1845, they kept possible for traders to deliver goods from Okhotsk sea port to Yakutsk. That route received the name of Yakutsk – Okhotsk Path (Trakt). By the way, it was the major way Yakutsk got provisions that time.

Currently, all that area’s trails are needed by nobody, apart from locals.

When herders need wild onions, which they don’t have in the surroundings of Okhota, Koukhtui and Ulbya rivers, they nomad to Lake Labynkyr. When they wish to eat different types of fishes, they go to great lake to catch huge pikes. In the wintertime, when they need a new portion of basic food, it’s “easier” for them to traverse through snowy mountains, frozen rivers and cold mist to Oymyakon district than to Arka. Just because it’s closer.

Can you imagine what tough life they have? To us, it’s tough, and whatever they do on daily basis, we can call as “real expedition.” To them, it’s routine. They don’t know the other way of life but their ancestors’ only.

You know what? They still rely on their own reindeer. Offered trekking expedition might become a new way to support herders in Okhotsk area.

We travelled that route on reindeer sledges with them in the wintertime. And we fell in love with them.

Random Expedition Photos:

Even herder, of Arka, works with his reindeer on the glacier in mountains

Photo credits: herders & residents of Arka town.

Route & Map:

Expedition Route: Yakutsk – Tomtor / Oymyakon – Lake Labynkyr – Lake Vodorazdelnoe – the Ulbeya River – the Kuhktui River – Reindeer Herders’ Summer Base – the Okhota River – Herders’ Settlement of Arka – Okhotsk – Yakutsk.
Total distance: ~1500 km.
Trekking/rafting distance: ~440 km.

Itinerary

Day of Arrival – Arrival in Yakutsk. Transfer to hotel. 11:00 – Meeting up with guides. Orientation. 14:00 – 19:00 – Yakutsk City Tour (sightseeings, visit to Mammoth Museum, the Atlasovs’ Etho Complex, the Kingdom of Permafrost ice tunnel complex). Overnight at hotel.
Day 1 / 12 Jul 2017 – Breakfast at hotel. Driving Yakutsk to Khandyga, 420 km. With expedition team by an off-road minivan. Crossing the rivers Lena, Aldan. Lunch & dinner at roadside cafes en route. Accommodation at a private apartment-based hotel in Khandyga.
Day 2 / 13 Jul 2017 – Breakfast. Driving Khandyga to Tomtor. Early lunch & early dinner at roadside cafes en route. Crossing the Kyubyume River. Arrival in Tomtor in the evening. Late dinner at family’s. Accommodation in a guesthouse.
Day 3 / 14 Jul 2017 – Breakfast. Day road trip to Oymyakon, 40 km. By an off-road vehicle. Lunch (packed) & dinner at family’s. Accommodation in a guesthouse in Tomtor.
Day 4 / 15 Jul 2017 – Transfer Tomtor to Lake Labynkyr, 90 km. Along the Kuydusun River. By all-terrain Soviet-type military vehicle GAZ 71. Arrival to hunters’ cabin in the northern part of Lake Labynkyr. Dinner. Overnight in a wooden cabin / tent.
Day 5 / 16 Jul 2017 – Spare time at Lake Labynkyr. Fishing, hiking. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Overnight in a wooden cabin / tent.
Day 6 / 17 Jul 2017 – Trekking to the southern part of Lake Labynkyr, 17 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 7 / 18 Jul 2017 – Huge pike fishing at Lake Labynkyr. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 8-9 / 19-20 Jul 2017 – Trekking from Labynkyr to Lake Vodorazdelnoe along the Labynkyr River, 50 km. Meeting up herders from the summer base with work reindeer (to carry cargo) at Vodorazdelnoe. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 10 / 21 Jul 2017 – Stay at Lake Vodorazdelnoe. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 11 / 22 Jul 2017 – Trekking through the mountain pass to the Ulbya River, 20 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 12 / 23 Jul 2017 – Trekking to the Koukhtui River, 15 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 13 / 24 Jul 2017 – Trekking to reindeer herders’ summer base on a bank of the Koukhtui River, 17 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 14 / 25 Jul 2017 – Stay at herders’ base. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 15 / 26 Jul 2017 – Stay at herders’ base. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 16 / 27 Jul 2017 – Trekking with reindeer from the base to the Okhota River. The start of rafting on the Okhota River to the mouth of Dolnaya. Day distance is 30 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 17 / 28 Jul 2017 – Rafting on the Okhota River to the place of Lake Nek, 36 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 18 / 29 Jul 2017 – Rafting on the Okhota River to the mouth of the Delka-Okhotskaya River, 36 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 19 / 30 Jul 2017 – Rafting on the Okhota River to the place of Lake Uega, where a meteo station and sauna are located. Day distance is 35 km. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 20 / 31 Jul 2017 – Lake Uega. Fishing. Sauna. Camping meals. Overnight in a tent.
Day 21-22 / 01-02 Aug 2017 – Rafting on the Okhota River to herders’ village of Arka. Arrival in the evening. Dinner. Sauna. Overnight in a private wooden house.
Day 23 / 03 Aug 2017 – Free day in Arka. Excursion across the settlement. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Overnight in a private wooden house.
Day 24 / 04 Aug 2017 – Free day in Arka. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Overnight in a private wooden house.
Day 25 / 05 Aug 2017 – Breakfast. Transfer to the town of Okhotsk at the Sea of Okhotsk (photo session). Transfer to Okhotsk Airport. Flight to Yakutsk. Arrival to Yakutsk. Transfer to hotel. Accommodation at hotel.
Day of Departure – Breakfast (take away). Transfer to hotel. Flight from Yakutsk.

Expedition cost:

Rates for 12 Jul 2017 – 05 Aug 2017

Participation cost = 540 000 RUB per person.

Rates for a private expedition in July 2018

For a group of 3 people = 680 000 RUB per person.
For a group of 2 people = 980 000 RUB per person.
Individual = 1 875 000 RUB.

Includes:

– visa invitations;
– all transfers from/to airport in Yakutsk according to the itinerary;
– accommodation in Yakutsk with breakfast according to the itinerary;
– transport rental in Yakutsk on days mentioned in the itinerary;
– English-speaking interpreter in Yakutsk;
– English-speaking interpreter during the expedition (if an international team consists of two or more members);
– 3 herders’ service during the expedition (each of them would have a rifle);
– transport rental for drive en route Yakutsk – Tomtor – Oymyakon – Tomtor;
– accommodation in Tomtor (2 nights);
– all terrain vehicle (military type) to reach from Tomtor to Lake Labynkyr;
– camping & fishing accessories;
– work reindeer and their owner to carry cargo through mountain passes from Lake Vodorazdelnoe to the Okhota River;
– accommodation at reindeer herders’ summer base;
– robber boats & safety jackets for rafting mountain rivers in Khabarovsk Krai;
– sauna en route, where it is possible;
– meals at roadside cafes en route Yakutsk to Tomtor, home meals at family’s in Tomtor and Arka, meals at herders’ summer base, camping meals during trekking/rafting;
– accommodation in a private wooden house in Arka;
– transfer from Arka to Okhotsk Airport with a stop in Okhotsk;
– air tickets Okhotsk to Yakutsk.

Does NOT include:

– flight to Yakutsk before the start of the tour;
– flight from Yakutsk after the end of the tour;
– personal medical/travel insurances;
– personal clothes & gears;
– tips and gratitudes.

Booking & Pre-payment Conditions

– Participation in the expedition is booked, when 35% is pre-paid as deposit.
– Balance payment is due not later than 60 days before the start of the tour.
– Expedition cost is set up in Russian Rubles. Paid amount in USD/EUR/GBP/CYN should be equal to the amount indicated in Russian Rubles.
– Payment is accepted by a bank transfer.
– If a group of required size is not gathered, we optimize the list of provided services and make your participation possible. Though expedition participants are always welcome to fill the gap in expedition budget.

BOOK YOUR EXPEDITION PARTICIPATION

By phone:

+7 (4112) 25-99-30 (work),
+7 (924) 765-99-30 (mobile).

Via email:

contact@visityakutia.com.

We tend to reply immediately or in the course of a day. If we don’t get back to you as quick as you wish, please, don’t worry. We could be busy with urgent requests or current travellers. Don’t hesitate to remind us.

DISCLAIMER: Above published photos are taken during a regular summer trek arranged by Even herders for Arka elementary school teachers.

Embark the expedition of your lifetime from Yakutsk to the Sea of Okhotsk! Be friend with Siberian reindeer herders!