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Lake Baikal wrap-up: Windstorm and spectacular scenes

Posted: Mar 09, 2010 08:05 pm EST

Both the Canadian and Czech teams had a battle in a windstorm, which slowed down progress and flattened the tents at night.

The ice breaks and form spider web like cracks and blocks of ice that pile up.

Both teams experience the beauty of the lake along the shore line and at Olchon Island.

Vasek Sura and Pavel Blazek

The guys experienced fierce winds; like a hurricane, said Pavel. They stopped skiing early because of the windy but then had a hard time keeping the tent up.

Pavel said they tried to support the poles and hold the tent in its shape but after three hours they gave up. The wind raged outside and we just lay down hoping that once the poles break, wed be at least lucky enough to spend the night in what remains from the tent.

The next day was calm again.

On another night their stove gave problems. Without realizing it the oxygen in the tent was used up and the stove gases poisoned them.

Pavel got out of the tent first and said when Vasek got out he almost blacked out. For some time he was confused and talked nonsense.

The two Czechs changed their direction and started to move a bit east to the middle of the lake in order to avoid Olchon Island, which would be in their way if they kept following the western shore, they reported. The island is in sight.

Vasek explained what he meat by the word toroses. It is a Russian word and is used in English and Czech as well - theres no exact equivalent for it...it basically means masses of broken ice.

The two men are doing well, although Vasek reported a swollen shin.

Vasek explained why he endures the challenges, Just because... because of the love of ice, frozen barren lands and adventure, I guess! I know, it probably sounds weird to some of us but Im sure theres someone who understands my passion... at least Pavel is one of those people

The team has covered 300 km. They made short videos which can be watched on their website.

Zuzana Pinova from Vasek and Pavels home team sends over the English updates to ExplorersWeb (check out their website for more news).

Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab

The heavy winds on Lake Baikal reminded Ray of Antarctica, but despite the wind they covered 42 km during the day.

Their home team reported on their website that they maneuvered through fields of massive ice blocks that blocked their path. They said it wasn't easy pulling the sleds up and over the blocks, but they had to do it. Once they got clear of the ice fields they saw huge expanses of clear beautiful ice which enabled them to run unobstructed for miles at a time.

Along the way they took a slight detour to visit Olkhon Island.

The weather conditions have been constantly changing, reported Ray and Kevin, the terrain has been filled with challenges, and the heavy humidity has left all of their gear (even sleeping bags) wet.

Distances per day that Kevin and Ray have covered lately: 53, 42, 50, 42 kilometers.

Watch a video update on their website. Check here.

Vasek Sura and Pavel Blazek started their ski across Lake Baikal in Siberia on February 23. Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab started their speed attempt across Lake Baikal on March 1. Both teams started from the small village of Kultuk on the southern side of the lake.

The distance is 650+ km. Ray and Kevin aim to run 60-70 per day.

Links to Lake Baikal teams:
Vasek Sura and Pavel Blazek - Czech Republic
Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab - Canada


Pavel: What also keep us sane are all those beautiful things we see here every day [] we watch the cracking ice, mountainous sceneries along the coastline or the spectacular sunsets (click to enlarge)
courtesy Pavel Blazek and Vasek Sura, SOURCE
Kevin: "The ice is not a static covering; it moves and has a life of its own. Never take its quality for granted." Image Kevin on Lake Baikal (click to enlarge)
Image by Ray Zahab, SOURCE
A crack in the lake ice (click to enlarge)
courtesy Pavel Blazek and Vasek Sura, SOURCE
Lake Baikals shore line (click to enlarge)
courtesy Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab, SOURCE
The great "Shaman Rock" in Lake Baikal (click to enlarge)
courtesy Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab, SOURCE
Ray Zahab (click to enlarge)
Image by Kevin Vallely , SOURCE