I first came across British polar traveller Alex Hibbert a few years ago thanks to the wonders of Wikipedia. Two things struck me. First, the audacity of his breakout polar expedition – the Long Haul. Second, he appeared to be only a few weeks younger than I (and incidentally grew up a stones throw from me). The latter holds importance as shortly after I finished my first degree, Alex also aged 21 was skiing into the record books for achieving the longest unsupported polar journey in history. What on earth was I doing with myself at 21?!
I’ve selected thirty or so of the best photos from my recent Lake Baikal expedition for you to peruse. Enjoy!
You may or may not be aware of the website Explorers Web. ExWeb for short. Founded in 1999 by ‘self-made’ adventurers Tom and Tina Sjogren, it has a cult following worldwide. Its purpose is to provide updates and editorial on serious adventure and expedition news – Everest, K2, Polar, Ocean, Desert, Jungle etc. When I say cult following, I mean 100,000 page views in a day (of the Everest rubber necking kind) type of following. For a period, it was the first website adventure fans logged onto in the morning, and the last one they visited at night.
In cold environments your face is usually the only part of your body that will be exposed to the elements. The obvious reason being of course, you need to breathe, and you need to see where you’re going! That usually means that you play a delicate balancing act of combining hats, balaclava’s, hoods and fur ruffs, neck liners, and sunglasses or goggles. Protect yourself too much and you accumulate ice on your face and fog your goggles up, or expose yourself too much and you risk frostnip or frostbite.
Here’s some interesting news as regards polar history. The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) at the University of Cambridge, UK are planning a scientific expedition to Antarctica to study the Larsen C Ice Shelf – and explore the area where Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous ship was last seen.
Outdoor filmmaker Terry Abraham’s newest film is available to cinemas from Friday 13th April, and screens around the UK in a series of special events – with more to come.
Back in December 2017 I managed to get a look at Terry’s latest film – a portrait of arguably Britain’s most successful high altitude mountaineer and proud Yorkshireman Alan Hinkes. I thought it was pretty good, and gave it the thumbs up in my review for UK Hillwalking and UK Climbing.
I’m pleased to report that Phil and I successfully completed our expedition to cross Lake Baikal on March 18th. We walked into the town of Severobaikalsk, our finish point, having walked 634 km over 19 days. By the end of the trip we were comfortably putting in 30-40 km days, and arrived well within our predicted 20-22 day schedule.
I write and review scientific manuscripts as part of my day job, but up until 2017 the only thing I had published relating to the outdoors was a letter to Adventure Travel following a rock climbing fall in 2005.
An intimate and light hearted portrait of a world class mountaineer. Big on mountain scenery, and big on inspiration.
For those of you that follow me on social media, you will have seen that my plans to take a three man team to walk across Lake Baikal next spring have come undone a little.