Deadliest Journeys – Siberia, the Deadly Thaw

Jul 25, 2023 | Nature, People, Travel, Videos

Every year the men of Kholodnaya, a remote village on the northern shore of Lake Baikal, embark on a difficult and dangerous journey to supply the Evenks – reindeer herdsmen living in isolated high plateaux of Siberia. For six months they have gone without any supplies due to the harsh winter conditions making the roads impassable. Despite this, Dmitri and his team are willing to brave the elements and take on this 65 kilometer journey that will take them 48 hours.

The spring thaw greatly complicates matters, turning much of the road into a swamp. It’s an intense race against time as they battle ruts, swollen rivers and dense forests; often having to use their truck as a makeshift bulldozer to clear paths. As darkness falls with its icy temperatures, even the vehicle’s mechanical parts become blocked with ice while outside wolves lurk nearby.

In the valley below, Lake Baikal has been transformed into a deadly trap for those who depend on it for livelihoods such as fishing. With no safety precautions in place, one wrong move can see a person fall into water at 20 degrees Celsius. To make matters worse for these fishermen like Anatoly who rely entirely on their pension of 200€ each month, come summer when boating is not possible anymore they have no option but turn towards an even riskier form of hunting: that of great Siberian bears or Grizzly Bears.

This is just one example of how difficult life can be in some parts of Siberia which is precisely what makes watching this documentary so captivating – it shows us what we cannot easily experience firsthand and provides us with an eye-opening look into this unique part of the world. So join Dmitry and his team as they take on this incredible journey across lake Baikal risking everything to bring food to those in need and perhaps gain a better understanding about one of Russia’s most inhospitable regions.

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David B