The Group Journal

January 23

Now we are sitting in the room 531, or rather of course do not sit, but rather frantically shoving into backpacks any oatmeal, cans, canned meat. Zavchoz1 stands and makes sure everything is included. Where are my felt boots? Y.K.2 can we play mandolin on the train? Of course! We forgot the salt! 3kg. Igor! Where are you? Where is Doroshenko? Why did he takes 20 packs? Give me 15 kopecks. Spring balance, spring balance. Where is spring balance? Can’t fit it. Damn. Who has the knife? Yura drove it to the station. Slave Khalizov has arrived. Hallo, Hallo! Luda is counting the money. The room is an artistic mess. And here we are on the train. We sang all the songs that we know, learned new ones, everyone goes to sleep at 33. I wonder what awaits us in this trip? What will be new? The boys solemnly swore not to smoke the entire trip. I wonder how much they have will power, if they can get by without cigarettes? Everyone is sleeping and Ural taiga is spread in all directions.

-Zoya Kolmogorova


  1. head of the provision distribution
  2. Yuri Krivonischenko
  3. am

January 24

We arrived in Serov. We traveled with a group of Blinov. They have…things for hunting and other accessories. At the station we were met with “hospitality.” They didn’t allow us into the building. The policeman stares at us suspiciously. There is no crime or violation, as under communism. Yuri Krivonischenko started to sing a song and a cop grabbed him and took him away. Sergeant explained that the rules of Section 3 prohibited all activity that would disturb the peace of passengers. It is perhaps the only train station where the songs are forbidden. Finally everything is settled with the law. Going to Ivdel from Serov at 6:30pm. We were welcomed warmly in school near the railway station. Zavchos, who is also a janitor, heated water for us, gave us everything she could to help us during our track. We are free all day. I wanted to go to the city, visit nature museum or take a trip to a factory, but too much time is taken by distribution of equipment and training. 12:00pm In the interval between 1st and 2nd shifts in school we organized a meeting with the students. Small room is cramped with all the kids that are curious. Zolotarev: “Kids, now we’ll tell you…Tourism is, makes it possible to…” Everyone is sitting, quiet, worried. Z. Kolmogorova: Tra-ta-ta. What’s your name? Where were you before? And she went on and on. There was no end of questions toward Zina. We had to explain every detail to the kids, from torches to setting up tents. We spent 2 hours lecturing and kids did not want to let us go. They sang songs to each other. At the station we saw the whole school. In the end, when we were leaving, the kids yelled and cried, asking Zina to remain with them. They promised to listen to her and study well. On a train station some young alcoholic accused us of stealing his wallet from a pocket. For the second time the police is on the scene. Debate-talk about love thanks to provocation by Z. Kolmogorova. Songs, revision, Dubinina under the seat, garlic bread without water and we arrived in Ivdel around 12am. Large waiting room. Total freedom of action. Took turns all night to keep stuff safe. Bus to Vizhai leaves early in the morning.

-Yuri Yudin

January 26

We slept in so-called hotel. Two people per bed. Sasha K.1 and Krivoy2 slept on the floor between beds. Woke up at 9am. Everyone slept well despite the fact we did not completely close the small window and room got a bit cold. Outside temperature is -17C. We did not boil in the morning, wood is moist, in the evening it took us 6 hours to boil water. Went to lunch in the dining room. Had some goulash and tea. When they served tea Igor Dyatlov spoke with a smile: “If the tea is cold, then go out and drink it on the street, it will be hot.” The original though. Agreed to go to 41 by car. We left only at 13:10. Froze while riding on top of GAZ-63. While traveling sang songs, discussed various topics, including love, friendship, and problems of cure for cancer. 41st settlement they met us friendly, gave us a private room in the hostel. Talked with the local workers. I remembered particularly the red-bearded man. The Beard as his friends call him. Ognev, old friend, described by Lyuba Dubanina in her private diary. Cooked lunch, then ate and now resting. Half of the group is watching movie, another is sitting on backpacks doing their things. Rustik3 is playing his mandolin, while talking with Nicky4, and I am going to deal with adjusting the equipment.


  1. Alexander Kolevatov

       2.Yuri Krivonischenko

  1. Rustem Slobodin
  2. Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolles

January 26

I can’t. Although I tried.

-Nick Thibault

January 27,

The weather is good, the wind is blowing in the back. Guys agreed with the locals and horse with drive us to Second Severny settlement. From 41st settlement it will be about 24 km. We helped grandfather Slava to unload hay from a carriage and waited for the horse (she went to get more hay and wood). We waited until 4:00. Boys started rewriting some song. One guy sang beautifully. We heard a number of illegal prison songs1. Ognev told Igor how to find the house in which we can spend the night. We bought four loaves of bread and went there at 4:00. Soft warm bread. Ate 2 pieces. Horse is slow. What a pleasure to go without backpacks. We covered 8 km in 2 hours2. It gets darker. All the delay due to a horse. Yuri Yudin is riding with us. He suddenly fell ill and he can’t continue with the track. He wants to gather a few local minerals for the University and return. Second Severny is an abandoned village of geologists with total of 2025 houses. Only one is suitable for living. In complete darkness we found a village and the house. We started a fire. Several people pierced their hands with old nails. Everything is good. Then the horse came. We were talking and throwing jokes till 3 o’clock in the morning.


  1. Article 58 – counter revolutionary crimes
  2. along the River Ushma

January 28,

We were awakened by Yurka Kri1 and Sasha Kolevatov2. Weather is perfect. It is only -8C outside. After breakfast, some of the guys headed by Yuri Yudin, our well-known geologist, went to look for local minerals. They didn’t find anything except pyrite and quartz veins in the rock. Spend some time with skiis, fixed and adjusted the mounting. Yuri Yudin now goes back home. It is a pity, of course, that he leaves us. Especially for me and Zina, but nothing can be done about it.

-Luda Dubanina

  1. Yuri Krivonischnko
  2. Alexander Kolevatov

January 28,

We got up the river Lozva. We take turns to head the group for about 10 minutes. Depth of snow cover is significantly less than last year. Often we have to stop and scrape the wet, melting snow from skis. Yurka Kri1 is behind and makes sketches of the route. We pass few cliffs on the right bank of Lozva river. Overall the terrain becomes flatter. We stop at 5:30pm. Today we spend our first night in the tent. The guys are busy with the stove. With some things completed and others not, we sit for a dinner. After dinner we sit around the campfire and sing beautiful songs. Zina even tries to learn how to play mandolin under guidance of our musician Rustik2. Then again and again we resume our discussions, mostly about love. Someone comes up with an idea that we need a special notebook for ideas that we might come up with. Once we are done we are making our way inside the tent. Nobody wants to sleep by the stove and we agree that Yurka Kri will sleep there. Yuri moves to the second compartment with terrible cursing and accusation that we betrayed him. We can’t fall asleep for awhile and arguing about something.

  1. Yuri Krivonishenko
  2. Rustem Slobodin

January 29,

Second day of our trip. We made our way from Lozvy river to river Auspii. We walked along a Mansi1 trail. The weather is -13C. The wind is weak. We often find ice on the Lozvy river. That is it.

-Nick Thibault

  1. native Siberian tribe in the Urals

January 30,

Diary is written on the cold on the go. Today is a third cold night on the shore of Auspii river. The stove does a great job. Some (Thibault and Krivonischenko) think we need to construct steam heat in the tent. The curtains hung in the tent are quite justified. We get up at 8:30am. After breakfast we walk along the Auspii river, but again these ice dams do not allow us to move forward. Let’s go to the shore of the sledge-deer trail. In the middle of the road the discovered marking left by the Mansi. Mansi, Mansi, Mansi. This word is repeated more often in our conversations. Mansi are people of the north. Very interesting and unique people that inhabit the North Polar Urals, close to the Tyumen region. They have a written language and leave characteristic signs on forest trees.

January 30,

Weather: temperature in the morning is between -17C and -13C during the day and -26C at night. The wind is strong, south-west and snow begins to fall. The clouds are thick. The temperature characteristic of the Northern Urals. Mansi signs tell about animals they saw, resting stops and other things. It is particularly interesting to solve its meaning for the tourists as well as historians. Deer trail is over. The forest gradually thins out and gets shorter. Lots of dwarf birches and pines. It is impossible to walk on the river. It is not frozen. We have to look for solid ground. Day wore on and we started to look for a place bivouac1. That’s the stop for the night. Strong west wing. It knocks the snows off the cedar and pine trees, creating the impression of falling snow. As always we start a fire and put a tent on the spruce branches. We are warmed by the fire and go to sleep.

  1. also known as a ‘cache’ or ‘labaz’, where they would store the supplies they wouldn’t be carrying on the hardest part of the hike . They would reclaim the equipment on the way back down.

January 31,

Today the weather is a bit worse than the wind, snow because the sky is perfectly clear. Came out relatively early (around 10am). Took the same beaten Mansi trail. So far we walked along the Mansi trail, which was passed by a deer hunter not long ago. We met his resting stop yesterday, apparently. Today was surprisingly good accommodations for the tent, air is warm and dry, despite the low temperature of -18C to -24C. The walking is especially hard today. Visibility is very low. We walk for 1.52 km per hour. We are forced to find new methods of clearing the path for skis. The first member leaves his bag on the ground and walked forward, then he returns, rests for 10-15 minutes with the group. Thus we have a non-stop paving of the trail. It is especially hard for the second to move down the new trail with full gear on the back. We gradually leave the Auspii valley, the rise is continuous, but quite smooth. We spend a night at the forest boundary. Wind is western, warm, penetrating. Snow-free spaces. We can’t leave any of our provision to ease the ascent to the mountains. About 4pm. We must choose the place for the tent. Wind, some snow. Snow cover is 1.22 meters thick. Tired and exhausted we started to prepare the platform for the tent. Firewood is not enough. We didn’t dig a hole for a fire. Too tired for that. We had supper right in the tent. It is hard to imagine such a comfort somewhere on the ridge, with a piercing wind, hundreds of kilometers away from human settlements.

-Igor Dyatlov

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