Located between the tributaries of the Yenisei and the city of Krasnoyarsk, the huge Stolby reserve is beautiful in itself, but what attracts both locals and tourists in it are huge rocks of an unusual shape. A completely unique culture of free climbing has formed around these rocks, with its own traditions, rules and special language.
The reserve itself, in fact, is a great way to see what the taiga looks like without going into the taiga itself. Both plants and animals here are the same as in the impassable taiga lands, perhaps more well-groomed.
Although, of course, you should not be fooled - in fact, literally a tiny part is open for tourists, about three percent of the total area (47,219 hectares) of the reserve, while a much larger part is deliberately left closed from people in order to preserve the intact unique nature … Only employees of the reserve can enter the closed area.
However, even that tiny piece of the reserve available to the public is quite enough to significantly diversify the life of local residents. Moreover, here, in Krasnoyarsk, such a unique movement was even formed, which was called "stolism". Its essence boils down to the fact that for the last 150 years the so-called "stolists" have been forming their leisure around those famous steels.
In the reserved park, you can often see whole companies going out into nature to relax with a view of the unique rocks. Another large group regularly climbs. Still others make new routes (here they are called climbs) to the tops of the cliffs. All this is done exclusively at an amateur level, but it is quite massive and is done with no less persistence and passion than professional rock climbing.
What distinguishes stolbism the most from professional climbing is the principle of climbing the rocks without belay. "Climb alone and without insurance" - only then the summit is considered conquered. Of the special devices for safety, special rubber slippers are sometimes used, similar to galoshes - thanks to them, the feet do not slip on the surface of the stone. Sometimes special sashes are also used, worn on the body around the belt. Climbing rope is used occasionally.
The most interesting thing is that the movement of Colonism has, over time, turned into a real subculture. Whole companies began to come to the rocks, staying overnight in the taiga for several days. Each such company had its own name (Farmers, Wolves, Berkuts, Ascetics, etc.), its own rules, its own place to spend the night, and even its own diaries, in which climbers left their notes. Some of these companies have been around for several decades, and all this time they keep their diaries.
As in many other subcultures, the stolists have their own code - a language that is understandable only to the stolists themselves: podkamenschiki, "Muzeyanka", "Miners", sly, Toad, laz, galosowing. Previously, the most famous columnists were also known by their nicknames, often without even knowing who the person was in "ordinary life." But now, when the movement has become very popular, only a few have left the nicknames.
The reserve is included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Fund.
For those for whom free climbing without insurance is not an extreme adventure, we can offer to visit the Yellow Mountains in China, where there is a completely insane path, which not everyone will dare to follow - read about this attraction in our article "The road that could be the last."