Speaking of icy adventures, the Siberian Express team of Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely set off from Vancouver yesterday on their way to Siberia, where they hope to begin their expedition on Monday, March 1st.
You may recall, I wrote about this expedition a month back when Ray and Kevin were deep into their training. They will be making an attempt at a speed record for crossing Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. The lake is frozen this time of the year, making it a perfect opportunity to try to make the 400+ mile journey along its entire length. Despite the fact that they’ll be going in unsupported fashion, pulling their gear behind them on sleds, they still intended to cover roughly 40 miles per day.
The expedition has some larger goals beyond the speed record as well. They hope to raise funds for the Ryan’s Well Foundation and givingwater.org to help complete clean water projects in Africa. They’ll also be connecting with thousands of students across the globe, as part of the impossible2Possible educational outreach programs.
While they’re not heading to the North Pole, this is still a tremendous undertaking in a very harsh climate. The Siberian winters are brutal, and they’ll be completely exposed out on the ice of the lake, which is gigantic in size. Not only does it cover more than 12,200 square miles of area, it actually reaches 5390 feet in depth as well. Those are staggering numbers for any body of water, let alone a freshwater lake.