On the Road of Trial


Author G.A. Fedoseev (1899-1968)
Publisher: Detgiz, year of publication: 1958

Grigoriy Fedoseev and his guide
Grigoriy Anisimovich Fedoseev and his guide Vasiliy Nikolaevich Mishtenko

... We are ducking down in the manure. Vasiliy Nikolaevich pulls out an ax, cuts an icy mound, and he finds in fact sleds. On one of them is a tent, stove, saw, the rest are empty. Probably, the convoy, not reaching the pass by only two hundred meters, was caught by a blizzard. People managed to cut the straps on the reindeer, and they themselves fled to the taiga, for some reason without taking either a tent or a stove with them, without which, it seems, it is absolutely impossible to survive into this kind of cold. What happened to them further, it's scary to even think...

Еxcerpt №2:

... A muddy curtain of bad weather appears on the horizon... We corral into the tent, huddled around the stove, where a faint light flickers a little, casting a pale glow on the gloomy, alert faces of people... from the north a snowstorm approached. And soon everything was whistling around, spinning in a mad whirlwind. Streaks of snowy dust flowed through the frozen slant; snow drifting ominously.

The tent is arched from the pressure of the wind, the guy wires ring like a string. The stove went out. We ran out of firewood, the cold finds a gap, seeps inside. We are wrapped in warm clothes. It is impossible to fall asleep, but no one feels like talking... what will happen if the wind destroys our tent and we find ourselves face to face with a snowstorm on bare rocks, far from the forest?...

A snowdrift piled up heavily on the tent on the windward side, the wall bent dangerously, and soon the rope in the middle broke, unable to withstand the weight... The hanging snowdrift had already compromised a third of the tent and continued to press down, bending the crossbar. It was at that moment that a new ferocious squall hit, and the canvas wall broke in half. A mountain of snow fell on us.

  • Get dressed and go out! - Lebedev orders. A scuffle begins in the twilight, no one can find their belongings, you hear curses. The wind flaps the torn sides of the tent, throwing fistfuls of snow in our faces.
  • I say, get out! - Lebedev's voice is heard through the howl of the storm.
  • Presnikov, you are holding back everybody detain all.
  • I lost my hat, – he screams back.
  • Cover your head with a bag and get out! - orders Lebedev, wrapping a rope around himself and passing the end to his comrades.

The snowstorm brings down on us all its might. The chill is blinding the eyes, burns the nostrils. Lebedev is ahead, behind him, holding the rope, the others are walking. Moving almost blindly, it is difficult to get to the slope. It becomes easier to walk, because under your feet the descent and snowstorm are somewhat quieter here. We go at random among the small rocks, along hollows with steep slopes. Obviously, we descend down to the ravine, where there must be a forest, which means there will be a fire. We don’t dream about anything else... Only an hour later, the steepness of the descent broke, the scree and the rocks were left behind. Smooth drifted snow under our feet, slippery as ice ... We go down the ravine even lower and notice freshly cut stumps, and then tents are shown. Well done Kirill Rodionovich - how confidently he led us to the camp! And now we are at a great fun bonfire that has given us strength and good spirits. The ropes are untied, there is laughter...

... On the pass we saw snow mounds, like dunes of oblong shape, located in the direction of the wind. And where our tent stood, a frozen mound with an overhanging snow cornice towered ... We did not excavate the mound, it was late, and the snow hardened so much that it could only be cut with axes. We will do it tomorrow ...


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