A couple of weekends ago I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling very hungover following a night of heavy drinking with an English colleague and his Russian girlfriend. Having tried all morning to get rid of the headache and numb feeling in my body, I decided a brisk hike up the mountain at the back of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk might do the trick.
The mountain’s Russian name is Gornii Vozdukh, which translates to Mountain Air, and is the site of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk’s only ski-slope (there are in fact several on the same mountain). I took a picture of the main slope in the summer and posted it here. Since then it has snowed quite a lot, although not enough for the slope to be open to skiers and snowboarders yet. Anyway, I donned my Zamberlan walking boots, fastened on my gaiters, pulled on the rest of my hiking gear and set off straight up the side of the ski-slope. It was pretty hard work I can tell you, and about halfway the snow was getting too loose and too deep, so instead I walked the rest of the way along the road (which will shortly become impassable to vehicles). After an hour I had made it to the top, planted my Union Flag, shook hands with my sherpa, and claimed this peak for Britain. I share with you here some photos I took on the hike (click on a picture for a bigger version).