Lake Baikal 2020: Season Wrap-up

Lake Baikal crossings have ended for the year. All expeditions attempted a full-length, solo and unsupported traverse of the world’s largest lake by volume.

Oli France: All smiles after his 16-day crossing. Photo: Oli France


Oli France (GBR) and Roland Banas (France) both completed their crossings today, ending the 2020 season. France ended up covering 657km from Kultuk to Nizhneangarsk in 16 days. Banas, who started on the same day as France, did the distance in 15 days and 5 hours. Both men, who crossed paths on the lake, suffered from bruised feet and soft snow that slowed their pace in sections.

Roland Banas enjoys some bare ice. Photo: Roland Banas


Earlier, Michael Stevenson (GBR) broke the speed record of 11 days, 15 hours and 28 minutes, set in 2019 by Scott Gilmour, his teammate on previous group crossings of the lake. He completed the crossing in 11 days 14 hours and 11 minutes. His journey wasn’t without complications: On the third day, his stove flared up and melted part of his tent. As with everyone this year, he had to slog through some powder snow, requiring more effort than expected in the last few days.

Mike Stevenson. Photo: Mike Stevenson


James Redden (GBR) was first to cross the lake this season and completed his crossing on February 29 in just under 13 days, despite a mild case food poisoning.

Carlos Garcia (Spain) met Mike Stevenson on the lake and finished his crossing on March 8 in 15 days and 7 hours, despite strong winds, fuel leaks, broken stoves and frostbite.

Carlos Garcia and Mike Stevenson meet on Lake Baikal. Photo: Carlos Garcia

Charlie Smith’s crossing took 17 days. This was the Brit’s first cold-weather expedition.

Lukasz Rybicki (Poland) abandoned his attempt at a crossing and speed record after 300km and six days out on the ice. He had a few injuries, and on February 21, he fell into the water. A day later, he decided to stop.