Posted by: nextbigadventure | February 21, 2016

Gearing up for Lake Baikal, Siberia

I read The Long Walk almost 15 years ago (thanks Ciaran!) Its about a group of prisoners that escape from a Soviet labour camp in the winter of 1942. They walk South out of Siberia, along Lake Baikal, across the Gobi desert and Tibet and over the Himalayas to safety in British India. The book has since became a film (The Way Back) and the accuracy of the account challenged.

Wether true or not, its inspired me over the years to push boundaries further than I may have otherwise. It also put Lake Baikal on my map. A place I’ve wanted to visit ever since. And now – in less than 2 weeks – I will finally do so.

Fitting, maybe, that I will be there towards the end of a Siberian winter. The lake will be frozen over and temperatures can drop below -20 Celsius. Baikal is the deepest lake on earth (over a mile deep.) It lies in Siberia near the city of Irkutsk, just north of the Mongolian border.

The Baikal Ice Marathon is an annual race across the lake, coast to coast, while it is frozen. Another really good reason to be in Siberia in a couple weeks. Running in these conditions will be a first for me. As is often the case, the real challenge is getting to the start line (not between the start and finish lines.)

Working out what gear I need, having never attempted anything like this, is one part of getting to the start. Getting hold of a Russian visa also no easy task. Visa seems sorted now and, with some careful stickman planning, (appropriate?) gear has been accumulated. Certainly more appropriate gear than the Soviet prisoners had, so I should be OK.

Whatever happens there will be a lot for me to learn. I don’t know what I don’t know. Soon I will. And that will be the first step of my next project – to go South – all the way South. But more on that one later. Siberia first.




  1. Estas loco!!!!! Felicidades y mucha suerte 😉

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