In our week long drive between Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk we had planned a few stops to break up the long drive. Besides Tomsk we stopped for one day at the Stolby National Reserve next to the city Krasnoyarsk.
The reserve is famous for its huge stone mountains – stolby’s – , peaking through the roof of the forest. The citizens of Krasnoyarsk found these stolby’s so special, they made the whole area into a reserve, over 90 years ago. The Stolby’s themselves are renowned amongst rock climbers. In Krasnoyarsk they’re called Stolby-ists.
The stolby’s are reached two different entrances: accessible by foot or cablecar. We deceided to camp near the entrance. From there it’s a 6 kilometer – 200 meter incline – walk towards the the first stolby. Luckily we could drive the first 2 kilometers and park & camp next to the creek. Since the park is so close to the city, and the city itself is on the Trans-Siberian Express, we expected the park to be completely full of tourists, but we found only locals.
You won’t see any of the stolby’s, until you’re right in from of the first one. And it’s HUGE, over 80 meters high! Is is possible to by a map at the entrance, but our iPhone guided us over the walking trails as well. We opted for a big loop, passing several bigger and smaller stolbys. They all have different names, ranging from simply Stolby 1, 2, 3, 4 to Granddad, Elephant, Lion’s Gate and Feathers.
Online we’ve found that a few tourists had climbed a Stolby. That was our plan for the day. So after visiting a couple, we we’re looking for a Stolby to climb. On Stolby number 4 we heard a few people, and after looking around we found an easy way up. What a view we had over the forest! Stolby number 2 looked amazing and we saw some people climbing number 1 as well.
So we headed for number 1, but it looked rather difficult. Luckily we met an older man at the bottom, who offered to help us going up. Well, we needed his help ALOT. Sometimes is felt kinda sketchy, but we saw lots of locals – even young teens – going up. Often we had to use both of our hands and feet just to get some grip on the rocks. Mind you; we were climbing a big slippery rock, 80 meters high, without any ropes. After some 20 minutes – felt more than one hour! – we reached the top. And what a view, spectacular!