Krasnoyarsk Stolby Nature Reserve is situated on the southern bank of the Yenisei River, bordering the city of Krasnoyarsk, in Russia. The foremost attraction of the park is its towering stone pillars that have peculiar curved forms and reach up to 100 meters in height. These rocks are mostly of sedimentary and volcanic origin, aged from the Cambrian period, almost over 600 million years ago, to the Carbon period.
They were shaped when molten magma penetrated the surface from a depth of 500 to 1500 meters into a layer of peneplain where it formed a system of cracks that spread naturally across the whole layer. Selective weathering along those cracks led to the formation of mattress-like prismatic detachments, which caused unique shapes on the rock outcrops.
The place was discovered in 1624 by Russian kozaks – the explorers of Siberia, who built a small fortress at the influx of the Kacha River into the Yenisei. They wondered at the enormous intricately shaped stony blocks rising amid a thick forest and gave them the biblical name “Stolpy”, abridged later to the widespread “Stolby”, plural for “stolb” which means “pillar” in Russian.
Since then the name came into use for these and any similar rocky features in Siberia and the Russian Far East and was accepted as a geological term. Stolby is also a major rock climbing site. A lot of local climbers deliberately do not use any belaying equipment, an ability the Krasnoyarsk rock climbers have mastered over the years. They call their exciting sport stolbism, famous elsewhere as solo climbing.