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Flying with the wind and climbing ice poles

By 0 and 0 and 0
23 April 2019


The next morning I had to figure out how to get out of my sleeping bag and how to collapse it into a small unit of storage that can fit into a backpack. 

I struggled, 100-litre backpack seemed too small, the sleeping bag seemed too big and my fingers seemed useless. 

To my delight, one of the guys in our group, Anton, volunteered to drag my sledge for me that day. 

I was still feeling unwell but as the day unfolded I started to enjoy the trip more and more. 

Wind in the back helped a lot but it also meant we couldn’t have longer breaks to rest.

The thing is when you skate you don’t really care about the air temperature but as soon as you stop, your body starts cooling down and you either need to move or to wear an extra layer of clothing: a polar or fleece under your jacket or a down jacket over the jacket you skate in.

Our group stopping for lunch. Pictures: Olga Gertcyk, Olena Kozachok / The Siberian Times

After having a lunch in a wind-proof little bay, we continued skating. 

The wind got so strong that it was literally pushing us forward without any visible effort. 

Imagine yourself standing still and nearly flying 3 minutes later. 

It probably was the only day when I ended up ahead of the group many times: there was no sledge to anchor me or to hit me in my legs and make me fall. 

Though, I fell quite a few times anyway: on my forehead, bottom, knees and elbows. 

Think I still have a Baikal-shaped bruise on my back.

Barely edited photos of Baikal ice. Pictures: Olga Gertcyk / The Siberian Times

Learning to navigate in such wind, I remembered about mountain skiing, that I had only watched on TV before, and started moving in zigzags to be able to drop the speed. 

The group’s leader had a GPRS-navigator that indicated we skated for 40 kilometres that day!

Well, that was before it was time to get on the shore for the night. The bay we needed was across a massive ice debris field.

One of the worst ice debris fields we had to cross throughout the trip. Picture: Olena Kozachok / The Siberian Times

And when I say debris I mean ice poles and chunks of ice standing as high as 1 metre. 

You can’t just walk around them, you have to climb, and that is excruciating. 

Don’t forget about the backpacks, sledges, skiing sticks and skates that you have to carry. 

I consider myself lucky, I didn’t have to carry firewood.

Our camping site. Pictures: Olga Gertcyk, Olena Kozachok / The Siberian Times

Comments (1)

Eamonn, Australia
29/04/2019 16:11

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