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Human power circumnavigation update: Dimitri Kieffer heading towards The Road of Bones

Posted: Aug 05, 2011 05:47 pm EDT

(Correne Coetzer) From The Missing Link to The Road of Bones, that is Dimitri Kieffers next stage in his human powered circumnavigation. He is now leaving the snow and his sled behind and will be travelling by bicycle. Dimitris girlfriend Gulnara Miftakhova will be joining him. Gulnara Miftakhova is a Russian Tatar who was born in the city of Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation.

Dimitri and Gulnara are already in Russia on their way to the start point. During this cycling section between Omsukchan (Magadanskaya Oblast), and Yakutsk, (Republic of Sakha), they will be covering approximately 1760 km.

Dimitri explains the following info about this summer route:

Part 1:. The first 251 km from Omsukchan to the intersection with the Kolyma Highway, aka "Road of Bones": This promises to be a busy dusty and potentially dangerous narrow road where we will be passed by countless supply trucks coming in/out of Omsukchan and Ducat silver and gold ore mines.

Part 2: We will then travel the next 404 km on the wider Kolyma highway until we reach Kadykchan, this time side by side with a greater number of large Kamaz and Ural trucks travelling at high speed between Magadan and Susuman.

Part 3: In Kadykchan; we will definitely be glad to leave the trucks and the "dirt highway" behind and get on the more bucolic/rustic "old road" for the next 405 km, via Tomtor all the way to Kyubyume in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

I am actually really looking forward to this more peaceful section away from the large trucks commuting between Magadan and the gold mining communities in Northern Magadanskaya Oblast.

Part 4: In Kyubume, we will get back on the main Kolyma "dirt highway" and travel 320 km further to Khandyga.

Part 5: In Khandyga, we will travel 380kms further to reach Yakutsk.

Note on River crossings

In April 2011 while in Magadan, I was able to meet several bicyclists and truckers who are familiar with the Omsukchan-Yakutsk route and I now know the following:

a. In August, the rivers tend to be much smaller than in early summer and therefore can be crossed easily.

b. In the case of a downpour, we may need to wait 1-2 days for a river to recede before we can cross it.

c. For the larger rivers we will have to find an alternative solution such as using inflatable kayaks or something similar to cross the river and ensure the continuation of this "human-powered" expedition.

Total distance Omsukchan to Yakutsk: 1760kms / 1094 miles

Gulnara Miftakhovas background, courtesy of Dimitri Kieffer:

In 2001, she graduated from the Kazan Pedagogical University (Philology Department) with a Russian language and literature teaching degree. Thereafter, she applied her pedagogical skills while working as a governess for 2 years.

In February 2006, Gulnara moved to Moscow, where she was hired by the "Cinescope Production" and "Unikum-Center" movie production companies. There, she organized and coordinated the creation of films, musical concerts and fashion shows. In 2008, she started working as a manager for the Russian music recording company Studio Monolit".

Since 2007, she has been a member of the travel club "Miry". In association with this club, she travelled in India and volunteered to help the organization of the "Pustie Holmi" music festival.

Gulnara has also volunteered to help design the seaside style of the Moscow restaurant "More vnutri" as well as the design of art projects for the "Pustie Holmi" music festival.

In June 2009, she organized and guided with her drum circle teacher Yuri Rubin a trip through Morocco for 18 Russian artists. While in Morocco, she met Dimitri Kieffer at the Gnaoua Music Festival.

Since then, they have been mostly spending their time together except when Dimitri was pulling a sled!

Gulnara has travelled through Russia, India, Morocco, Mexico, USA, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belarus, Latvia and Andorra. Gulnara enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, cross-country skiing, running, hatha yoga and poi spinning.

In 2010, she had the pleasure to hike the Half Dome trail in Yosemite park, USA as well as the GR98 Trail in Les Calanques between Marseille and Cassis in France.

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 62° 25.040'; E 163° 05.160'
Paren, Northwestern Kamchatka
Total kilometers covered Spring 2010: 707.2 km
Manily to Paren 199.4 km

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 covered this section on 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.

This section completes the missing link. Dimitri: One can drive year around from South America to South Africa on permanent roads except through the Darien gap and between Anchorage and Omsukchan the missing link.

Position: April 25, 2011:
N62° 30.987, E155° 46.342 Omsukchan
595 km travelled

In an article on AskYakutia.com Dimitri gives a detailed description of the route he has taken from the farthest point of Chukotka, Uelen, to Omsukchan in Magadanskaya Oblast.

Dimitri plans to complete the entire expedition by 2016, upon reaching Knik Lake, after having circumnavigated the globe via human power.

Eighth section:
Omsukchan, Magadanskaya Oblast to Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha.
August 2011 with Gulnara Miftakhovas
Approx. 1760 km

Dimitri: After Yakutsk, our goal is to travel on our bicycles southwest towards Mongolia and continue further through Kazakhstan, and through some of the Central Asian states (Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan), some of the Middle Eastern countries (Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel), and some of the Northern African countries (Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal) where it will be time to row!

Of course, the exact route will be determined as we progress, partly depending on geopolitical conditions.

Dimitri Kieffers expedition videos.

Dimitri Kieffer is blogging over CONTACT 5


Gulnara Miftakhova will be cycling with Dimitri Kieffer along the Road of Bones, where large Kamaz and Ural trucks travel at high speed. Their bicycles and cargo have arrived in Moscow where they take one of the few flights to Far Eastern Russia.
courtesy Dimitri Kieffer, SOURCE
The route: Omsukchan, Magadanskaya Oblast to Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha (Russia)
courtesy Dimitri Kieffer, SOURCE

courtesy Dimitri Kieffer, SOURCE