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Two Brits to walk 550km across Lake Baikal over 20-22 days

On 24 February 2018 two British amateur adventurers, Ash Routen and Phil Sturgeon, in partnership with Sub Zero and SIGG, will depart for Siberia with the intention of walking across the world’s largest frozen lake – Lake Baikal. The first British team crossed the lake in 2007, but it still remains a significant challenge for cold-environment adventurers.

At 550km / 342 miles long (equivalent distance of London to Gretna Green, or 13 back-to-back marathons) the team’s route will be a significant endurance challenge in the depth of the Siberian winter. Ash and Phil will carry a GPS beacon that will allow followers to track their progress in real time (via www.followmychallenge.com and twitter: @ashrouten).

Ash Routen said: “This will be the most significant and exciting adventure I’ve taken on to date. Whilst relatively fit, Phil and I will have to use all our resilience and determination to complete it. It’s not located in the polar regions; however, Lake Baikal is known for its high wind speed and low temperatures, so we’re extremely grateful for the support of Sub Zero and SIGG to help equip us for these conditions. We can’t wait to get out there, it’s the trip of a lifetime!”

Expedition facts

  • Distance: 550 km or 342 miles
  • Duration: +/- 22 days in remote Siberia
  • Ambient temperature range: zero to -40˚ C
  • Sledge weight: up to 100kg at start of expedition
  • Max depth of lake: 1.6 km or 1.0 mile
  • Thickness of lake ice: 0.4 to 1.5 metres
  • Calories consumed: 6,000 per day
  • Changes of underwear: two

Stuart Theobald, SIGG UK said: “At SIGG we’re always pleased to hear from adventurous people looking for expedition support; none more so than Ash Routen. Walking across Lake Baikal is no mean feat and ,with the extremely low temperatures expected, we immediately realised that these guys were going to really need a hot brew. That’s where our Hot & Cold products excel, so that’s what we felt compelled to provide. As the start of this expedition draws closer we’re getting more excited to hear the epic tales that Ash and Phil will have on their return”.

Expedition patron Geoff Somers MBE said: “The area is remote and challenging, and small independent trips such as this are important to raise the aspirations of young people today, and keep alive a sense of adventure.”

Departing from the southern shores of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka, they will traverse the eastern coast of the lake, before negotiating Olkhon island, and finishing in Severobaikalsk at the top of the lake. From here it’s a two-day train journey back to the city of Irkutsk and their departure point.

Walking for 8-10 hours per day, Ash and Phil will experience temperatures down to
-40˚ and below with wind chill. They will consume nearly 6,000 calories per day to maintain the necessary strength to pull the two sledges each, which will contain up to 100kg of supplies to complete the journey unsupported.

They will walk across large areas of uncovered ice (no snow cover), and will have to negotiate sections of open water, as well as ice rubble up to 10m in height formed by colliding sheets of ice.