The Siberian Express – Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely
On March 13, 2010 Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely made it!
They had run and trekked across the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia in record time traversing the 640km frozen surface of the oldest, deepest lake in the world in 13 days 16 hours, bettering the previous mark by over a week.
Lake Baikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds more fresh water than three of the largest North American, Great Lakes combined.
Ray and Kevin ran to raise awareness of the worldwide scarcity of clean water and inspire young people to push beyond their perceived limitations.
“We contoured our way around pressure ridges and jumbled ice to average over 50-kms per day all the time pulling sleds weighing 55-kgs.”
They duo covered ca 25-35 miles a day, sleeping four to five hours a night, battling snowstorms and consuming freeze-dried meals of spaghetti and chicken tikka.
Any school, student or interested individual could join the expedition “at no charge” by following along on this interactive website.
World water issues were addressed including the history, chemistry, biology and culture of water and its life-giving properties and the central role it plays in all cultures and civilizations. The goal was to raise enough funding to complete 2 clean drinking water projects in support of Ryan’s Well Foundation and GivingWater.org to help combat the world water crisis.
“We faced raging winds and snowstorms that clawed at us as we moved and hammered us we slept. The humidity was so severe that by the middle of the journey, our sleeping bags, along with all our clothes and gear, were soaking wet. The temps dove down to -40C and drained the life out of the batteries in our electronics. We still maintained our 1:00 a.m. web updates with students back home though. Connecting with the kids was the reason we were out there and it inspired us to push even harder. What an adventure!!”