How does the Road of Bones (Kolyma Highway) look like in winter?

September 22, 2010

A winter photo of the Road of Bones, Kolyma Highway, in Siberia, Russia. By Bolot Bochkarev

I hear this question very often. Frankly saying, it was that show, that forced me to upload winter photographs of the Road of Bones (officially known as the Kolyma Highway) built by GULAG work camp inmates in the time of Stalin.

Well, if anyone is interested in the winter Road of Bones condition. Here we go. Further, please, find 45 pictures taken the last winter by me.

The following winter photographs were taken in the Verkhoyansky Range between KyubyumeTeplyj Klyuch (Khandyga) on the way back during my friends’ Journey to the Pole of Cold. Check the map:

Map: Road of Bones, Kolyma Highway, between Khandyga - Kyubyume
More maps of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) at

The Road of Bones is the part of the federal Kolyma highway that connects Yakutsk and Magadan. In pretty good condition. It is maintained by road services all the year around. Even in extreme cold weather – when the outdoor temperature varies between -40C and -55C – drivers might see road service workers on the road. It was fascinating to see them cleaning the road with spades in the middle of nowhere.

I wrote many posts about the RoB and all of them are tagged as Road of Bones and Kolyma Highway. The video of our driving is available in the post Video: Driving the Road of Bones (Kolyma Highway) in winter.

The depicted stretch Teplyj Klyuch – Kyubyume (~250 km) is not inhabited. Mentioned settlements have gas stations, but between them there is none of such. In the last summer, as far as I know, there were a temporary fuel station and even a road cafe at the place called Razvilka right in the midth. Usually it doesn’t work in winter.

A road sign on the Kolyma Highway. By Bolot Bochkarev.

By the way, in Stalin’s time Kyubyume (in one of below pix) was used as a GULAG, than as a base of road constructors. Currently, it looks like a lost village. Teplyj Klyuch is almost abandoned. The most of its two-stored wooden buildings is empty.

Khandyga – Kyubyume (a fuel station) = 322 km
Teplyj Klyuch (start of mountain road) – Kyubyume = 250 km
Teplyj Klyuch – Razvilka = 93 km

On our way back we made the part Khandyga – Kyubyume for 5 hours. We did one long stop that lasted 20 minutes only.

Road peculiarities in winter
– icy and slippery;
– very narrow on many parts, especially at high points;
– traffic is not intensive, one truck per one-two hours.

*Click thumbnails to enlarge photographs.

See more winter photographs of the Road of Bones (M56, Kolyma Highway) in my other posts:

Road of Bones (M56, Kolyma Highway) Video:

One more Road of Bones video. This time it shows how we drove on it.

Did you like this post? Please, share the images of the Road of Bones with your friends.

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