Two experienced adventurers have set off on what promises to be an epic journey through one of the coldest and most remote corners of the globe. Earlier in the week, Ray Zahab from Canada and Stefano Gregoretti of Italy began a 500 km (310 mile), month-long expedition to cross the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east. The plan is to go completely unsupported, traversing the peninsula at its widest point on foot.
Dubbed the Trans Kamchatka Expedition, Zahab and Gregoretti are traveling in true Arctic fashion, pulling 45kg (100 pound) sleds behind them as they go. By polar standard, that’s not particularly heavy as the duo hopes to move fast and light over the next few weeks. That plan includes keeping their supplies, including food and fuel, to a minimum. To that end, they’ve brought a wood burning stove to cook their meals, knowing full well they’ll be able to collect plenty of kindling while en route.
Both Zahab and Gregoretti have plenty of expeditor experience to their names. Zahab has crossed numerous deserts on foot and has traversed Baffin Island in Canada’s remote north on more than one occasion. His Italian partner is an endurance athlete and trail runner who has competed in some top events, and has spent plenty of time in cold environments himself. In the past, he and Zahab have completed a 1000 km (620 mille) journey across the Canadian Arctic, and more recently they ran 1850 km (1149 miles) across the Namib Desert.
Dubbed the “Land of Fire and Ice”, Kamchatka is a mountainous region that is dominated by more than 160 volcanos. During the winter, it is also extremely cold there, with temperatures routinely hitting -40ºC/F. Much of the peninsula remains rugged, untamed, and largely unexplored, with few settlements and only a relatively small human population. Despite this however, the region is home to six UNESCO World Heritage sites and a surprisingly large number of brown bears.
The two men expect the expedition to take roughly 25-30 days to complete. You can follow along with their progress on the Trans Kamchatka website.
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