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Winter trip on Lake Baikal

                      WINTER TRAVEL TO BAIKAL

Winter Baikal leaves an indelible impression. Exceptional transparency of ice can see the bottom of the shelf near the coast and looking into the black depths of the mysterious lake. The thickness of the thick ice, even imperceptible, and scares its uncertainty. Due to the transparency of the ice scared to go out, although its thickness may exceed the meter. Through the Baikal ice can read newspapers and withdraw, as through a glass, portraits of people. Winter trip to Lake Baikal often associated with extreme conditions: high wind and frost in the open ice - a serious test for the traveler. Hide from the biting cold away from the coast is nowhere, so winter clothes should be as warm and not blowing through the wind.

At the end of winter is a powerful movements of the ice, some ice blocks can exceed the growth of man. The frozen vertical transparent ice attention photographers for its unusual shape and glittering chaotic clutter. Mirror Baikal ice and amazing blue ice blocks on the cleavages affect all visitors. On smooth ice skating and traveling iceboat, the snow-covered lake on skis and on foot.
Coastal cliffs are decorated with many-winter high, sparkling in the sun napleskami ice, ice thickness on the coastal rocks up to several tens of centimeters, and the height of the ice napleskov on the cliffs on the windward side in a strong autumn storms sometimes exceeds napleskovy ice freezes fantastically on the rocks tens of meters. Numerous caves are decorated with lots of large branched icicles and ice columns. These ice sculptures are created anew each winter. Particularly striking napleski ice and juice are found on rocks Ushkaniye Islands headlands Olkhon - Horse Head, Sa-gan-Hushun, Khoboy. Every year, powerful thrusts of ice form exceptionally beautiful hummocks near Cape Rytogo.

Transparent Baikal ice and sparkling hummocks particularly impressive in the spring. After the thaw, and the strong wind, which blows away all the snow and ice is perfectly polished. From late February to early April, most travel takes place on the ice of Lake Baikal. This is an ideal time to travel: the heat can be on the ice in sunny calm weather in light clothing, no gloves, and even briefly to undress shirts. The sky is blue, blue, pure sky and snow-capped mountains of the opposite shore is clearly distinguished up to the last detail, as if they were close. During this period, interesting ice routes along the coast of Northern Baikal - mirror ice and snow-white needle attached to a unique color in winter travel.

In March, one can observe a rare phenomenon, when the powerful movements of the ice water hammer occurs, the individual pieces fly up like a cannon, and fly far away across the frozen lake. Silent balance of hummocks crumbles with rustling revitalized ice. Directly in front of ice are squeezed out from under the ice. All this is accompanied by a continuous roar, like an earthquake, the sound comes from under the feet, scaring its power. Hummocked seam cracks visibly moves, some ice fall and crumble into small pieces. Movements of the ice can be metaphorically compared to the work of a millstone - as if the tightly clenched jaw grinding ice into fine crumbs. It happens that in such moments on the ice water and rapidly act in a short time to cover his 4-5 cm after three or four minutes is usually all the stops, and comes complete silence.

Inlate March, the ice is rough, sediment hardened snow, which allows travel on the bike with studded tires. Ride on smooth ice - employment rather complicated, it is worth a little harder to spin the pedals and the bike is guaranteed slipping sideways. The practice of tourist travel on the ice on cars, snowmobiles, amphibious ship "Hivus-10" air-cushion and dog sledding fairly new to Lake Baikal, such tours were regularly conducted only since 2003, the ice of Lake Baikal can be considerably faster than the summer to reach remote locations on the coast, usually available only with water. For example, to get to the Baikal-Lena Reserve by boat from Listvyanka, we must swim continuously for about two days in winter are all available in five to seven hours drive from Irkutsk.
Usually the ice go out early in the morning to catch the magical moment of sunrise. The first rays of the rising sun fills usually crystal clear ice hummocks mysterious golden radiance. The desire to see this winter's beauty beckons to the ice, away from the padded winter camp on the ice to the unusual hummock, or the ice-covered rocks. The difference between the ice roads - pressurizations dense snow, which, as a springboard, bouncing machine. In addressing the frozen snow-covered cracks and ridges suspension machines are often experienced a severe blows. Only at first sight, seems far away the ice as smooth as a mirror to practice often find that it is impossible to get straight out of the meandering cracks hummocky fields and snow.

The rate of movement depends on the ice, because according to GPS navigators in a car trofireydov the ice was covered 1,537 km, the average train speed - 45,1 km / h, the maximum on the smooth snow-covered ice - 102 km / h.

When automobile travel on the ice must listen to the weather, not to fall into the trap of snow after a snowstorm. Selected after a heavy snowfall with no beaten track for passenger cars sometimes impossible.

In April, begins intensive melting of the ice. Within days, sometimes hours road trail disappears completely, covered with water, and had to go through deep puddles at random, in a cloud of spray, as of hydroplane. It happens that after dinner, the snow on the ice as punch that find even a trace of the morning the car is impossible.

Local residents and fishermen long ago and surely mastered the ice of room for movement on vehicles. Between the towns on the coast, there are ice roads, but where they do not, in most cases you can drive carefully, avoiding hummocks and cracks. But it's better without the absolute necessity not to take risks and do not move out from the winter road, and in places where regular way propa-width and the crack, go with a guide. The winter months - the most difficult time to travel, away from human settlements corners of the coast of Northern Baikal completely deserted, no tourists, no fishermen, only ice and burning / icy wind. To say that in the coming years, vacationers flock to this cold region, it is premature, on the coast of Lake Baikal no warm bases, no roads. Pedestrian crossing from the northern tip of Olkhon Ushkany on the island, for example, would require about 2 days, and it will not be a pleasure trip on skates or skis, and exhausting sport hike through fields of ice hummocks and deep snow pressurizations with a heavy load of winter gear and autonomous power supply.

The peculiarity of the March of hummocks that by the spring sun had already partially descended the snow, icicles defrosted, and piles of clean broken ice become mobile. Going through such a field - that exists torment. Shafts of broken ice and hummocks, sometimes reaching a height meter, and each step is preceded by preliminary shaking and clearing debris from the places where footprints. Going through a difficult hummocks without additional reliance on the poles is very risky. But even the use of sticks fail to protect from falls. Legs always manage to slip and get stuck among ice floes in such absurd positions, that haste can sprain or twist the leg. Failed fall, can be broken poles and hurt his elbow hit the ice. At the 150-meter-long passage through the band hummocks or sometimes it takes more than forty minutes. For the stripe ridges can be seen mirrored ice, which reflects the cliffs, on such a polished ice can move sliding on the soles, as if on skates.


It is tempting to ride in a car with a breeze on smooth and thick Baikal ice, so much so that a fan of the wheels fly fluffy snow. In sunny weather, the frozen lake just irresistible lures to go on the ice and drive up close to the sparkling piled ridges or cliffs, whimsically decorated in the height of the ice and curled napleskovym Storm wind lambs icicles. Numerous road signs in all directions, creating the illusion of security. But we should not deceive ourselves - no matter how safe the ice may seem, his treachery is unpredictable. Even the road marked the pylons, sometimes presented with unpleasant surprises.

Ice rules should not be neglected - they will secure compliance with the trip. The main ones are: the Congress on the ice to ask local residents about the features of the way, do not ride on the ice at night, not drinking alcohol and driving. In the Baikal ice encountered danger becomes a crack, the powerful thrusts and ice scour, dangerous for cars. Who built a road, often unknown, so not every road trail can be trusted. On the ice may remain traces of novices with personal risk, stopped in a dangerous place. Live cracks can be clogged with ice, and not the fact that the ice cap survive another car. Reliability broken consolidated ice in the cracks should be checked with the help of crowbars or scrap.

Baikal freezes annually, and annually on the ice roads are constructed. With the onset of cold weather, with temperatures below -20 ° C, in the first 3-4 days of ice grows by 4-5 cm per day. In late October, freeze shallow bays, 1-14 January - deeper. Usually small sea covered by ice solid in December, the entire Baikal freezes for 15-20 January, although rare warm winter, when these dates are pushed for a month. In terms of the freezing of Lake Baikal from year to year there are large fluctuations. There have been reports of freezing lake in the Gulf of larch, for example, in early February (1899,1932,1952,1959,2004 years.). In the southern part of Baikal is closed by ice 4-4,5 months, in the northern part - 6-6,5 months. At the lake the ice thickness varies from 70 to 113 cm, while the regularities: the more snow, the thinner the ice. It is believed that the ice during freezing zbity Storm Lake, less durable than a homogeneous and monolithic. But even a homogeneous and monolithic ice can suddenly fracture-Torn ice pushed aside, the frost crack very quickly freeze it slightly priporashivaet snow, and there is a dangerous trap for machines with 2-cm of ice on the road with pylons. Therefore, crossing the ice from the mainland to Olkhon open only during daylight hours: from 9 to 18 hours.

Hummocks are typically 1,5-3 meters in height, but some of them may reach 5 meters. The ice thickness of 10-15 cm CM50 hold the weight of a truck to 15 m, thickness 70 cm - weight of the tractor, so in winter on the ice of Lake Baikal pave the winter roads. According to the instructions on the device of ice crossings for the passage of the vehicle total weight Ute ice thickness should be not less than 30 cm, 15 m - 35 cm, 20 m - 40 cm with an average daily temperature of at least 10 ° C. On warm winter ice on the river crossings can be an artificially built up, which allows vehicles to cross up to 5 tons ice about a meter hold the weight of the helicopter at above-zero temperatures for 2-3 days, changing the structure of ice, and its capacity reduced by 20 percent. In the shallow water and along the rocky coast ice melts faster, and scour may occur at any time. hold the weight of a pedestrian, the thickness

Official winter crossings, for example, from the mainland to the island of Olkhon marked frozen in ice pylons and regularly checked for safety of road service.

Every year in the same field there are cracks constable - a kind of expansion joints in the ice cover. They are, as a rule, the shortest distance between adjacent protruding capes. The long gap can reach lengths up to 10-40 km and a width of 4 m, but most of the cracks are wide, from 0.5 to 2.1 m. The appearance of these cracks caused by the linear expansion or contraction of the ice under daily temperature changes, sometimes reaching 20 ~ 30 ° C. It is estimated that when the ambient temperature at the GS linear expansion of ice up to 70 mm per 1 km. Many of these cracks does not freeze all winter, occasionally narrowing or widening. Their appearance is often accompanied by a strong "artillery" crash, often frightening people on the ice. In Irkutsk the annals of "great big breaks the ice, or so-called" cracks "in 1890, reported:" Such a long, wide cracks not remember even the old-old residents. Tears accompany a terrible roar, suggestive of panic on the inhabitants of larch. It seemed that the high mountains surrounding Lake Baikal, were ready to collapse.

The risk of cracks and fissures are wide 0,5-2 m. Many of them do not freeze all winter, occasionally narrowing or widening. No crack, even the most simple, does not intersect with the move. Before each of them must stop and check the status of the ice with picks - special forged sharp peaks with jagged edges, so that she does not stick to the ice. Often there are cracks in thin ice, be punctured easily picks up water. Such narrow crack car jump at speed. The outermost edge of the wheels obbivayutsya picks. Then chunks of ice clogging the gap with water, the machine to disperse departs at 200-500 meters exhibited the gate - a reference to the driver where the car will jump 'and then a rapid acceleration up to 70-80 kilometers per hour - and jump through the crack.

In constable slots danger to vehicles represent propariny arising on ice in the ground breaking underwater thermal springs and gas emissions. Propariny, covered with a layer of snow, almost impossible to detect. Open propariny - polynya can be seen on the ice from a distance only need to watch carefully and be able to distinguish between them. Dangerous when they are hidden thin crust of ice, and after a snowfall specked with snow. If propariny due to release of deep gases, then under the ice, if it is clean and transparent, you can see the gas bubbles. Propariny formed underwater keys or the inflow of warm waters of the tributaries, see more difficult. Therefore, it is better not to leave a designated freewheeling winter road, and, where possible propariny and cracks, move with the conductor, who is familiar with features of ice in the area. Suspicious sites need to carefully inspect and test the thickness of ice picks or other sharp object.

On the ice thickness is also influenced by underwater currents, which reduce its strength. For example, in the Strait of Olkhon gate for this reason do not make the ice crossing. Over the years, the crossing satisfied either Kurkutskogo Gulf or from the mainland after Delta Sarma. The pointer arrow Ice ferry will help in the right place to go on the ice. An official at the crossing Olkhon denote frozen pylons, regularly clearing the grader and check the thickness of the ice. It installed signs: "Allowable lifting machines 5 t", "The distance between vehicles of 200 m", "No Stopping", "The recommended speed of 10 km / h". Most other winter roads laid by fishermen and no warning signs do not. Experienced drivers are more likely to stick to trace in the right direction, and if they go straight, then try to go around the crack and suspected sites, which differ by a gray color and visible from afar. Hundred per cent reliability on ice roads do not occur even with a guide. There are several cases where machines failed to permanent winter houses between Listvyanka and cats. Significantly more cars go under the ice, moving at your own risk. In 2002, an expedition in the summer of MOE conducted a special search for wrecks, and only in the waters of the Lesser Seas registered 15 nepodnyatyh cars. According to local residents at the bottom of the Small Sea is 25 to 50 cars.

In late March, when it begins to warm sun, becomes dangerous to drive up close to the rocks around which the melting of ice is steeper than in the open<

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