17. März 2008

Solo crossing of Syberia by kite and sledge

Start; March 2008

Press release in russian under: www.wind.nnov.ru

In spring 2006 after reading some books about the lake Baikal, I came up with the idea of a snowkite project. 2 years later I am just about to start the probably most spectacular snowkite adventure that has ever taken place.

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As I am very busy in my job it was quite a challenge to spare some time for the planning of the project. A few flights, many meetings and quite some kilometers in the car as well as a lot of testing had taken place since then. The most difficult was the financial part of the project (many thanks to my SPONSORS who make it possible!) and saving some time for training.

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The Lake Baikal or holy sea:

Starting point of the project is the northernmost point of the lake Baikal in Siberia, near Nizhneangarsk.
I will get to this point via helicopter starting from
Irkutsk. The route takes me on a central line 800 km, passing the island Ushkaniy and crossing the deepest and richest lake in the world the lake Baikal, ending in Kultuk.

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Depending on weather conditions and if wind is north easterly I will try to cover these 800 km under 12 days. Of course the goal is primary not time. A rest period of 1 hour after 3 hours of exercising are mandatory under all circumstances. I will repeat this schedule three times per day therefore move forward nine hours per day in order to arrive safely and within the timeframe at the south western end of Baikal Nur, as the lake is called by the local Burjats.

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If wind conditions are either south or west I will have to cross the lake which elongates the route around 25%. And if there is not enough or no wind at all to kite I will have to pull the sledge with my touring skis. Ideally I can use the wind and save power for the most difficult part in the south Siberian mountains.

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South Siberian mountains:

The most difficult part of the trip is after leaving the lake Baikal which takes me through the 180 km valley to the submontane of the Goltsy mountains. The actual snow amount is very good which rather hindering for my purpose as better wind conditions are needed for moving me and my pulka through the snow.

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After the crossing of the valley I will head north and overcome two mountain passes underneath the summit Zadoy (1.500 over sea level) and Dabady (2.100m over sea level). Due to the orientation of the mountains and its steep slope it will be impossible to kite and 120 km will have to be hiked.

By this time I will have approx. 6 kg less body weight but also the sledge will be lighter as petrol and food is used up and should have around 18kg less than at the start. Therefore less power but also less force needed.
After this crossing I will head back north east along the river Kitoy, passing Butukhey until reaching my final destination the small village Oktyabrsky western of
Angarsk.
The duration of the project will be at around 3 weeks if over 70% of the wind conditions are northeastern. If the wind is southwest or if there is none at all it will take about 4 weeks. 5 weeks is the absolute maximum as petrol and food will not last for any longer.

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Navigation:
For navigation a compass, card and sextant will be used.
Out of profound conviction I will not use any GPS, satellite telephone or other electronic equipment. Only one emergency transmitter signal which will be valid within this timeframe on a determined frequency for safety reasons. Should I activate it, I can be located and will be flown out within 10-15 hours.

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The sledge (Pulka):
Width: 90cm; length; 182cm; height 40cm
Material: GFK with double concave and two rails out of PVC
Weight: 17 kg incl. Cover and stacks

The sledge has an inner isolation. If necessary I can sleep in it fully dressed, this is a requirement when the outer circumstances make it impossible to set up my tent or when I loose the tent in a storm. The content of the sledge can be filled into PVC bags and will be fixed on the ice with pickles. The sledge will be pulled with a thorax belt and stacks connected to it.

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Ski:
Ultralight 160cm Atomic touring skis with skins.
The skis are extremely waxed with Swix Waxs
800 km on the ice can make the skis very dull – I will try to avoid this with the Swix Flur products. Carbon Swix touring ski sticks.

Kites & accessories:
JN Semi Freddo in sizes: 12m², 9m² and 6m²
One 54cm bar + spare chickenloop, spare line set as well as sewing and gluing material

Tent & accessories:
Ultralight (1,9 Kg) Hilleberg double wall tent with 220 x 110 cm sleeping place.
Goose down isoluation, air mattress. Pickles for ice and snow.
The only tent stick used for the Hilleberg tent will also be used when sleeping in the sledge.

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Clothes:
Mostly Helly Hansen and Ulvang products.
Some are individual products.
Helly Hansen frostprotection coat with down lining, HH down pants. I will only carry 2 differente clothing sets. Goose down, woll and goretex are the main materials used.

Food:
The biggest part of the carried weight is the food needed for the trip. Different kind of food like dry food, astronaut nutrition, dried fruits, dried meat, fats are essential. Most important is the mixture between sugars, fats and carbohydrates, etc. which can be prepared with the petrol cooker.

Video interview in german kindly supported by BTV under:

BTV Pre Sibirien: http://www.snowkiting.at/stormrider_web/?page_id=138

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Pictures by: www.grab33.com