Despite our recent cold snap here in the Dakotas, here comes a chilling reminder that we, even though it may seem like it, are not the coldest place on the planet. That moniker  belongs to a small town in Russia that lies a hundred or so miles from the Arctic Circle.

Oymyakon averages -58° in the winter months. In fact, one day in February of 1933, the tiny village earned its rightful title as the "Coldest Place on Earth" when the thermometer nearly snapped at -90°!

Travel photographer Amos Chapple traveled more than 10,000 miles to spend a few days in Oymyakon for a shoot he was working on. Here's a few things he learned:

  • Planes can not land in the winter months. No pilot will risk the aircraft - or lives - to land there. It took 2 days to drive 576 miles from Yakutsk, the nearest city.
  • It's completely dark 21 hours a day.
  • Amos nearly froze his thumb solid taking pictures of the town.
  • Because of no indoor plumbing, people still use outhouses. (I'm no longer worried about his thumb).
  • Cars are left running all the time. 24/7.
  • Once the "guts" of the camera froze, he would stop taking pictures for the day.
  • Residents must warm the ground with a bonfire for several days before burying their dead.
  • Their husky's won't start. (I made that one up)

After reading this (and looking at the studio thermometer with an outdoor reading of -7°F) there will be no complaining from me.

Source and photos at Wired.com