Lake Baikal | Russia

Polar Expedition on Frozen Lake Baikal

Season

February is the peak season

Group size

6-12 people

Duration

12 days

Skill level

Advanced

Experience the polar wonderland of Earth’s oldest lake

In the heart of frosty Siberia lies Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake in the world. This geographical wonder freezes over in the winter and becomes one of the most unique treks imaginable. 200 km of icy vastness, daredevilish traversing on frozen water, and engulfing silence. Join Dixie Dansercoer, accredited IPGA Master Polar Guide, as he takes you on a 12-day polar expedition unlike any other.

Book This Adventure

Traversing Frozen Lake Baikal

$5660 per person · 12 days

For the first few days, you’ll take care of everything needed for your polar expedition, get acclimated with the polar climate, and take your first steps on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal. Once you set on your adventure, expect to crunch the fresh snow for six hours a day —  be it by sledging or trekking. Your expedition comes to an end at Olkhon, an island famous for its traditional culture and friendly locals.

Tour Highlights

Every polar traveller worth their salt has their eyes set on Lake Baikal. The ice will crack and seem alive under your snowboots, the terrain will change as you traverse it, and freshwater seals will emerge for air. Dixie’s expert instructions will be the only sound accompanying you for 10 days! You’ll spend the days trekking and sledging, free to enjoy the vast wintry landscapes surrounding you and take advantage of many unreal photo ops. At night, in your tent, you’ll hear the bustling water life, with only a thick layer of ice between you.

Things you need to know

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • AA certified IPGA Polar Guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • 12 day adventure with 8 full days of guided polar expeditioning
  • All the technical gear you need

What equipment is provided?

All of the logistical equipment and some of the personal technical equipment will be provided by your guiding service, including:  

  • GPS & location beacon
  • Pulkas with a large storage bag
  • Draw harness 
  • Ski poles 
  • Tents 
  • Tent brush 
  • Snow pegs 
  • Insulating mattress 
  • Self-inflating mattress 
  • Pool sleeping bag 
  • Snow shovels 
  • Rope 
  • Carabiners 
  • Ice axe
  • General parts and repair kit 
  • Ski mask 
  • Fur collar
  • Cooking fire & fuel
  • Eating utensils
  • 1.5L Isothermal water bottle

If you have your own equipment, feel free to bring it. 

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need you bring:

Personal equipment:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35L bag)
  • Solid waterproof bag or backpack (60-70 L)
  • Polarized sunglasses or goggles for the glacier
  • High index sunscreen and lip balm
  • Water bottle
  • Toiletries and pee bottle
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • Pocket knife
  • Three lighters
  • Headlamp like Petzl® + spare batteries 
  • Four to five waterproof bags of different sizes to compartmentalize your belongings in your bag, which is handy 
  • Small quick-drying bath towel 
  • Two toilet paper rolls 
  • Biodegradable wipes and paper handkerchiefs like Kleenex® 
  • A sewing kit with needles, son, buttons, safety pins, etc. 
  • Camera — optional

Clothing and gear list:

  • Waterproof jacket like Gore-Tex® 
  • Face mask (neoprene works best)
  • Waterproof over-trousers like Gore-Tex®
  • Thick fleece jacket
  • Sweatshirt or thinner micro-fleece jacket
  • 2 pairs of fleece pants
  • 4 long sleeve thermal t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of thermal tights
  • 2 pairs of thin thermal socks
  • 3 pairs of warm socks
  • Thermal balaclava
  • Fleece balaclava
  • Fleece neck scarf
  • 3 pairs of thermal gloves
  • 3 pairs of fleece gloves
  • Thick wool mittens
  • Fur-lined mittens
  • Over-gloves
  • Snow boots + Madhus skis + climbing skins (possible to rent for 250 euros)
  • Waterproof tent booties for inside the tent
  • Regular walking shoes for prior and after the expedition

Medical supplies:

  • Any prescription you might have
  • Pain, fever: Ibuprofen
  • Antibiotics: Pristinamycin (2 boxes per 1 treatment 8d), Amoxicillin + clavulanic acid
  • Analgesics: Paracetamol 500mg
  • Corticosteroids: Solupred 20mg
  • Antidiarrheals: Smecta (prepare a dozen bags), Intetrix (treatment of amoebiasis), Imodium
  • Antiemetic, gastric dressings
  • Antihistamines (for bites, skin rashes…)
  • Antiseptics: Betadine, Biseptine
  • Ointments: Anti-inflammatory
  • Biafine
  • Powder Antimycotics (feet): Econazole, powder and ointment
  • Eye Drops: Antibiotics, Anti-Irritation
  • Set of adhesive bandages and some sterile gauze pads

This list will be finalized and clarified while preparing it finely with Dixie Dansercoer. 

What's the itinerary?

Day 1:

  • Arrival at Irkutsk and transfer to Bol’shoye Goloustnoye
  • You’ll spend the day in preparation for your expedition
  • Spend the night in hotel accommodations

Day 2: 

  • Final gear and equipment check
  • You’ll take your first steps on Lake Baikal
  • Last night at the hotel before your 10-day adventure!

Days 3 to 10: 

  • You’ll set out to do the 200 km long trek
  • 6-hours a day of trekking/sledging per day
  • At night, you’ll sleep in tents under the starry skies

Day 11: 

  • After your 10-day long expedition, you’ll arrive at Olkhon
  • You’ll get the chance to meet the locals and experience the culture
  • Your last night will be spent in hotel accommodations

Day 12: 

  • On your last day, you’ll leave for Irkutsk
  • In the afternoon, you’ll catch a flight for Moscow

What is the level of difficulty?

Due to distances covered, the isolation, the fact that you’ll be transporting your own baggage in the sleds and the overall climatic and environmental conditions, this expedition is rated as challenging. Good technique pulling the sleds is essential, and experience of the far North and of alpine hiking and winter camping is also highly recommended. Each participant is responsible for applying safety rules, for his/her equipment and its upkeep, for setting up camp and preparing meals. As such, participation in the pre-preparation course with Dixie (date to be confirmed) is essential.

How fit do I need to be?

The Lake Baikal expedition will challenge you both physically and mentally, thus you need to have an excellent fitness level. Participants carry their baggage in sleds weighing initially around 35 kg and will spend about six hours a day traversing on terrain that requires full attention, for a total of 200km of trekking over the course of this 12-day adventure.  

What is the minimum age requirement?

The minimum age requirement for this expedition is 16 years old. If your party has teens younger than 16, contact us prior to booking.

What about group sizes and pricing?

  • Rates for Polar Expeditions on Lake Baikal are $5660 per person (€4950)
  • Group sizes are usually 6-12 people per guide

What about bad weather?

An important skill needed for enjoying polar regions is flexibility, especially when dealing with weather and ice conditions. Preparation is key and your guide will make sure you’re properly equipped prior to the expedition. Rest assured you’re in good hands. Your guide has extensive knowledge of the area and climate, they’ll know just what to do if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Do I need an insurance policy?

It’s highly recommended that you cover all your bases with travel and medical insurance. Serious accidents can happen in alpine terrain and we recommend insurance to avoid paying out of pocket for costly medical expenses. And as we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to have cancellation insurance that also covers lost baggage. It’s tried and tested and it works. 

If you have not taken out insurance with Expeditions Unlimited, specify your registration, the name of your insurance company, policy number and the telephone number. Expeditions Unlimited offers insurance with the European Insurance Contract n°304243. Details are available upon request or downloadable from www.tamera.fr.

The percentages include the full cost of travel, including airline taxes. In summary, Expeditions Unlimited offer three additional insurance formulas: 

▪ Sherpa Insurance (1.7% of the cost of the journey): for medical expenses, research, repatriation and trip interruption; 

▪ Zen Insurance (4.0% of the cost of the journey): insurance in case of theft and loss of luggage; 

▪ Zen CB Insurance (2.8% of the cost of the journey): for clients paying for their trip with a credit card and already offering insurance coverage even restricted.

Cancellation policy

All policies regarding cancellation, rescheduling and trip insurance will be clearly laid out by your guide prior to booking your adventure. Contact us if you’d like more information on a specific adventure.

Getting there and meeting location

Most people board a plane from Moscow and make their way to Irkutsk, Siberia. From there, you’ll meet your guide and they’ll take care of transportation to and from your adventure on Lake Baikal.

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