What Is Vymorozka? Is Russia's Grueling Arctic Shipyard Maintenance in Siberian Winter the Toughest Job of the World?

Despite facing temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 F) workers diligently maintain hulking vessels during the bitter Siberian winter.

Have you ever imagined how would working outdoors in -50° Celsius feel like? There is a corner in world where people are actually working in this freezing temperature.

In Russia's Far East, a drone captures the relentless efforts of workers in subzero temperatures at a snow-covered shipyard, where the process of 'vymorozka,' or 'freezing out,' is underway. Despite facing temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 F), these workers diligently maintain hulking vessels during the bitter Siberian winter.


Braving the Odds

Located in Yakutsk on the banks of the Lena River, Siberia's economic hub in summer months, the shipyard harbors vessels undergoing maintenance during winter. The locals in Yakutia, Russia's largest republic by landmass, consider 'vymorozka' as one of the world's toughest jobs.

Yet, workers like 48-year-old Mikhail Klus see it differently. Klus, taking a break from cutting through ice with a chainsaw, explains, "You dress the right way and that's it. When you come (to a heated building) and get undressed, it's like a sauna, steam rises from you."

While the job demands stamina, strength, and extreme precision, it also requires workers to maintain focus to avoid cutting too quickly and breaking through to the water below. This meticulous work is crucial, as any mistake can lead to submerging the carved-out section and rendering the efforts futile.

Despite the challenges, some workers like 22-year-old Artyom Kovalec acknowledge the toll the cold takes on their emotions.

"Sometimes, when you freeze, you feel negative emotions from it," says Kovalec, clad in multiple layers of coats with a pickaxe in his mittened hands. "You feel it's too cold to work, you want to go home, to eat and relax, so you have to get a grip on yourself."

Despite the harsh conditions, these workers press on, embodying resilience and dedication amidst the Siberian winter's unforgiving cold.