In the harsh Russian Far East, the workers of Yakutia brave freezing temperatures to perform a grueling task known as ‘vymorozka,’ or ‘freezing out.’ This demanding and time-consuming work can take weeks, with temperatures dropping as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 F). The ships in need of repair are docked in the harbor of Yakutsk on the banks of the Lena River, which is the economic lifeblood of Siberia during summer months.
Despite being named one of the hardest jobs in the world by locals, workers like 48-year-old Mikhail Klus see it differently. Dressing appropriately and adjusting to extreme conditions make the job bearable, he says. He even compares it to being in a sauna when you take off your cold weather gear and enter a heated building.
Performing ‘vymorozka’ requires precision and skill. Workers must be cautious not to cut through the ice too quickly and risk sinking into the water below. Twenty-two-year-old Artyom Kovalec admits that extreme cold can sometimes lead to negative emotions and a desire to go home, eat, and relax. However, he emphasizes the importance of pushing through and maintaining composure for this physically demanding task.