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Backcountry ski in Balyksa, Siberia, January 2021

Backcountry in Balyksa. Balyksa is a small village located in southern part of Kuznetsk Alatau mountains between Kemerovo region and Khakassia republic. Balyksa means Fish river from local language. Balyksa river goes into Tom river, and then goes to Ob.
We hit the road in the morning leaving Abakan city. It is a steppe part of Southern Siberia. Abakan lies in Minusinsk hollow. This area is famous by growing fuits like apricots or watermelons. Summer is very hot, but winters can be deadly cold. There were almost no snow what was unusual for me. Temperature was about -25 celsius. After Askiz village road turned westward into the mountains of Kuznetsk Alatau. Snow appeared and this area reminds me Altai mountains. Surroundings are just gorgeous with coniferous trees around. Finally we arrived to Balyksa village. Weather was cold and windy when we started to carry all stuff to campsite. Finally everything was done and we got time to relax before dinner
Temperature changed drastically in late evening. I felt cold and had to put firewoods constantly. Lately we knew it was -36 celsius that night. Fuel briquettes were really helpful giving enough warm at night.
When I looked temperature in the morning it showed -32 celsius. That what we call real siberian winter. Anyway, we decided to hike a bit into the valley. Unfortunately we could not go far because ski skins started to fall off. Into the forest I saw white hares abd heard sound of woodpecker. Interesting that animals are active in these conditions. We returned back to campsite and spent time chopping firewoods.
I was surprised hearing talk outside in the morning. We found out there were skiers who traveled over Kuznetsk Alatau this week. Hikers told us that they have finished ski tour 100km length. I think it is hard to carry all stuff with -30 celsius. We returned to our camp and started to manage our tent. Snow melted underneath tent floor, and we moved all things away, dug snow under tent and set up tent again.




In the middle of the night noise appeared outside of the tent. I looked into the window and saw red fox exploring our campsite. She tried to steal huge ski bag, but we scared her away. Luckily there were no more loss that night. Morning was quite warm, with only -20 celsius. We decided to go up and then ski down. Weather was perfect and we climbed few hundreds meters in the valley. We did lunch on plateau and skied down easily.

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