(By Correne Coetzer) Since mid-January, Dimitri is on his way to Paren, Kamchatka, where he stopped on May 13, 2010. No easy task to get to this remote area in the Russian Federation. Already 17 days in Evensk, his departure from Evensk to Paren has been delayed again, Dimitri told ExplorersWeb yesterday.
Dimitri has a 90-day visa for Russia and plans to sledge-haul on skis and snowshoes to Omsukchan; a distance of 423 miles (680 km) on tundra in the absence of roads.
Three days ago a hopeful Dimitri said to ExplorersWeb, I have just found out a few minutes ago that I might leave very soon with an ambulance wezdehod/tank on its way to Paren, but the very soon is now February 26, he has been told.
The 280 km journey from Evensk to Verniy Paren (via Chaibura and Ghiziga) can take anywhere between 2 and 30 days on the winter, practically non-existent trail, depending on the snow conditions and how hard it is for the trucks to move forward, explains Dimitri in his blog.
Leaving Paren and getting back
After the completion of the sixth section of his human powered circumnavigation last year, getting out of this remote area was not easy.
When Dimitri finished his trek he was unable to leave Northwestern Kamchatka promptly because he faced a complete unexpected lack of transportation. He reported. No land (wezdehod, urals, snowmobiles), air (helicopters, planes) or water transport (barges, small or larger boats) were available in this remote part of the Russian Federation and I had to wait for 18 days for transport to leave the town of Paren in Koryaki Kamchatka Okrug.
Getting back there is again a mission. He went eastbound from his home in Seattle (USA) to Moscow in Russia, onward to Magadan and Evensk, and eventually Paren.
Moscow to Magadan
During the second half of January 2010 Dimitri had a training session in Western Russia, mostly in Moscow and in Kazan, in the Republic of Tatarstan, and already getting acclimated to milder temperatures varying between -5째C and -25째C, he added.
During this time he assessed with local authorities and contacts in Magadan and Evensk how he would be able to then transport himself and his gear from Magadan to Paren via Evensk and Vernyi Paren.
He also purchased and shipped dehydrated food and white gas stove fuel for this trek of 680 km between Paren and Omsukchan.
On February 4 Dimitri took a flight from Moscow across eight time zones to Magadan. There he was welcomed by old friends and enjoyed their company for four days. He had to register with the local police for his stay in Magadan, as it is required for any foreigner staying in Russian cities for more than 3 days at a time, explained Dimitri.
Read more in his blog about the town of Magadan; its helpful people, the native populations, history, activities, lakes and the large number of beautiful large modern wooden homes spread around a hill. Dimitri pondered if they were belonging to local gold or seafood oligarchs and/or politicians; but no, he was told, they belong to shopkeepers. If you want to make a fortune in Magadan, the way to go is to open a few shops/stores."
One of the locals gave Dimitri a very detailed map of the region he is about to trek. He explained, This Kamenskoye map had been classified as "secret" during Soviet times but has been clearly stamped as "declassified" since then and therefore I was good to go!
Evensk: police meeting, potential dangers and open water
From Magadan Dimitri flew to Evensk, Magadanskaya Oblast. There he met the chief of the local police to ensure that he was well registered in Evensk, explained his planned route, exchanged phone numbers in case of a potential emergency and clarified one more time that the coastal zone was now open to foreigners without requiring any additional permit. Indeed, until recently, I would have needed a special permit to come within 1 km of the coastline and/or to get on any island in this strategic "border region".
He added, I was also clearly reminded of the dangers that I was about to face and of the disappearance of a Yakut [adventurer].
He met with hunters to review his maps and learned what could be the best alternate route to follow as well as learned where are the potential cabins to look for along his way, when he will want to take a break from camping in his tent.
One of the hunters named Sanya was particularly eager to share with me the location of the rivers where I will be potentially encountering open water. I clearly understood why, when I heard that Sanya has lost all of his toes and noticed his badly scared face as the result of having been exposed to open water and hypothermia. This happened after having been stranded with a broken snowmobile and apparently inadequately prepared to make his way home by foot.
Food and gear
Dimitri managed to transport 140 kg of new gear, clothes and food on the airplanes to Evensk.
He brought 8 kg of shredded US beef, about 30 kg of prepackaged dehydrated meals, plenty of Russian sesame and honey nutritious bars, and new sled runners, straps and buckles to repair his badly battered sled stored in Paren.
Dimitri explained that as an unaccompanied foreigner in Russia, he is not allowed to carry any type of firearms and therefore need to look for alternative options such as US made bear spray and Russian local fireworks to protect himself against wild animals.
Read more in the blog about Dimitri Kieffers planned details about his winter/spring 2011 route (Paren - Omsukchan).
Dimitri Kieffer was born in France and moved to the USA when he was 17. He runs ultra-marathons and participates in adventure races. Since 2005, Dimitri has continued to evolve, transferring from adventure racing to full blown expeditions, like this Circumnavigation around the Globe with only using human power.
The circumnavigation started on February 26, 2005 at Knik Lake, near Anchorage, Alaska. Dimitri plans to complete the entire Nexus Expedition by 2016.
Stages already completed:
First Section: Knik Lake (near Anchorage, Alaska) - Nome (Alaska)
Feb April 2005, 37 days, 1100 miles 1770 kilometers
Completed by foot (trekking & snowshoeing) the Iditarod Trail Invitational race
Second Section: Nome (Alaska) Wales (Alaska)
Feb 2006, 9 days, 115 miles 185 kilometers
Completed by foot (Trekking & Back Country Skiing)
(with Goliath Expedition - Karl Bushby)
Third Section: Nome (Alaska) Uelen (Russia) Bering Strait Crossing
March 17-31 2006, 14 days, 5 days where swimming was required
200 miles 322 kilometers
Completed by foot (Trekking & Back Country Skiing) + Swimming
(with Goliath Expedition- Karl Bushby)
Fourth section: Uelen to Egvekinot (Chukotka, Russia)
April 12- May 16 2007, 34 days, 425 miles 684 kilometers
Completed by foot (Back Country Skiing and only trekking after Vastoshisno)
Uelen- Anguema(with Goliath Expedition - Karl Bushby)
Anguema- Uelen (solo)
Egvekinot to Vayegi (Chukotka, Russia)
April 15- June 7, 2008
exact amount of trekking days still being tabulated
Approximately 600 miles / 965 km
exact number of miles still being tabulated.
Completed on foot (back country skiing, trekking with a backpack and pulling the sled simultaneously, swimming and using the sled as kayak while going down rivers).
Vayegi (Chukotka, Russia) - Paren (Kamchatka, Russia)
March 11 - May 13 2010
707 km completed, 63 days.
Location May 17, 2010:
N 62째 25.040'; E 163째 05.160'
Paren, Northwestern Kamchatka
Total kilometers covered Spring 2010: 707.2 km
Manily to Paren 199.4 km
In March 2010, Dimitri return to the village of Vayegi and continued by foot and skis while pulling a sled moving Southwest towards Kamchatka. He completed the first month in company of Yakut trekker Nyurgun Efremov who stopped in the village of Slautnoye, Kamchatka.
From there on, Dimitri completed the next 200 km in company of three beautiful erring dogs and reached Kamenskoye. After having left the 3 canines in good company, he continued solo, mostly following the coastline where he could still find barely enough ice to slide his sled on, swimming and backpacking along the way and was finally able to reach the remote Koryak fishing village of Paren.
Dimitri was also enthused to be able to meet and stay for a few days along the way with two different "brigades" of reindeer herders, a Chukchi one and a Koryak one, where he was able to learn and appreciate their nomadic culture.
Paren (Kamchatka, Russia) - Omsukchan in Magadanskaya Oblast.
Dimitri is returning in Kamchatka in February 2011 to continue trekking and skiing 423 miles (680 km) from Paren in Kamchtaka Koryak Okrug to Omsukchan in Magadanskaya Oblast. He plans to cover this section by skis and snowshoes, while pulling a sled on tundra, considering the absence of roads in this remote part of the world. His route should take him from Paren to Omsukchan via Verniy Paren, Chaibura, Ghiziga, Evensk, Tavatum and Merenga.
Dimitri: At that point, I will have completed and therefore connected by human power, what I like to call the "missing link" between Omsukchan, Russia and Anchorage, Alaska, USA. This "missing link" is indeed where no connecting paved roads exist between the European and Asian continents and the American continents.
Once upon reaching Omsukchan, he will switch to biking and continue Westbound towards Europe, connecting the European, Asian and American continents. He will be able to join the
M56 Kolyma Highway also known as the infamous "road of bones".
Dimitri plans to have completed the entire expedition by 2016, upon reaching Knik Lake, after having circumnavigated the globe via human power.
Dimitri Kieffers expedition videos.
Dimitri Kieffer is blogging over CONTACT 5
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