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Human powered circumnavigation update: Dimitri Kieffer safe from the tsunami

Posted: Mar 17, 2011 09:08 am EDT

(By Correne Coetzer) He is still quite a bit inland and has not been affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Dimitri assures ExplorersWeb. He says he is still in the northern far eastern part of Russia; battling his way alone through snowstorms, and trying to get rid of a cold and blisters on his feet.

About the routes that he and Karl Busby are following, Dimitri explains to ExplorersWeb that he is still very much in what is considered to be the northern far eastern part of Russia. When Karl and I splitted in 2007 in Anguema, Chukotka, he chose a Chukotka northwestern route and I chose a Chukotka southwestern route which lead me into Kamchatka Koryak Okrug and afterwards Magadanskaya Oblast, where I am now.

Dimitri also sent ExWeb his latest news. He covered 131 km in 9 days since his start in Paren and 70 km since his last village in Vernhiy Paren. Although, he added, he spent two days in Vernhiy Paren.

As a result of a few days of two major snow storms he is moving very slowly. On the first few days he dealt with lots of hills, deep snow, ravines, a small river crossing with open water, and even broke his two harnesses on steep hills that he somewhat temporarily repaired with carabineers as well as broke a bloody tent pole that I fixed with duct tape.

I am also trying to get rid of my cold and my wounds on my feet, which is not an easy thing to do out here. But at least I am moving forward. It seems that I am for now out of the hills on to flatter lands where I might be able to gain some speed.

One night during the snow storm, Dimitri slept at a "emergency/rest tirala/cabin. It is the only dwelling in 160 km, he says, and he pushed hard to make it there during his last snow storm.

Despite the storm he experienced magic; I saw 2 foxes play in the evening a few nights ago.

Position: Day 10 start, March 15, 2011:
N 62째18.026
E 161째 28.641

Karl Busby

No new news.

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)

Fifth section:
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).

Sixth section:
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.

Seventh section:
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

British Karl Bushby, an ex-paratrooper, born in 1969, has already walked through South, Central and North America, Alaska, across the Bearing Strait and through a part of North-eastern Russia where he stopped on May 18, 2008 at Bilibino, Chukotka.

#Polar #Trek

Magadanskaya coastline where Dimitri Kieffer is trekking (as photographed by him from the airplane). Dimitri told ExplorersWeb, I am safe from the tsunami! I am still quite a bit inland. Just got a lot of precipitation (snow).
Image by Dimitri Kieffer courtesy Dimitri Kieffer (sent over Contact5), SOURCE