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Old 07-20-2012, 07:42 AM   #22
Alcan Rider
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Originally Posted by xuare View Post
The goal would be to go before the breakup happens.
Apparently you misunderstood my comment. It wasn't meant to imply you would be traveling during breakup (which is one of the worst times to attempt travel in the far north), it was meant to offer a comparison that might be somewhat familiar to you regarding the ice blockages you would encounter. As stated in my original post, "...your imagination cannot possible conjure up the difficulties you would encounter as you've never come even close to what a trip like that would entail." Nothing in your life's experiences has given you a peek at what it would be like, and until you see it firsthand, your imagination is incapable of visualizing it.

Originally Posted by xuare View Post
If the crags are as "small" as Going South's images imply, then it's doable.
Too bad there's nothing in those photos to give a scale to the ice. In this photo that chunk of ice could be five feet thick.

You can often find ridges of ice 15 feet high or more that you would have to literally carry the bike over. You could probably ride it less than 20% of the distance; the rest you would be pushing it, pulling it, or lifting it - and more often than not - cussing it.

Originally Posted by xuare View Post
As it appears, the sea will thaw before the inland Siberian rivers and marsh (due to colder temps and freshwater) so the heading-west works in that regard. Once anything begins to thaw, we have discontinuous ice which will represent enough of a hazard on it's own. The real question is, can the kraggy parts be either circumnavigated, or be dealt with in another reasonable way?
If a "reasonable way" includes a helicopter to lift the bike over the rough spots - it will be a piece of cake.

Originally Posted by xuare View Post
I think it will only be answer by a preliminary trip to AK to experiment with the ice.
Undoubtedly. Fly into Nome, then take a mail plane flight out to Wales, get some villagers to take you out onto the ice to get a close-up look at what you would be facing. That's probably the only way to really understand what the obstacles would be just to get across to Siberia so you could begin the cross-country phase.

One little consideration you haven't mentioned: Getting an engine started in the extreme temperatures you would encounter. It can be done, given sufficient logistical support. My Gold Wing has two oil pan heaters under the engine that can be plugged in so it will start reliably in well-below-zero temperatures. But you won't be carrying a generator and large quantities of fuel, presumably. Cold-starting an engine only works to a point, and if you were to beat break-up by any margin, you would be traveling when the temperatures prevented getting the engine started without supplemental heat. When I worked at Prudhoe Bay during the winter back in the '70's we left the engines running 24/7, and only shut them off long enough to change the oil every Friday after work. But we had plenty of fuel available.

For a venture of this magnitude you would need so much air support that it would end up looking like a commercial operation. Unless you have unlimited resources, you might consider something a little less challenging, like riding from Prudhoe Bay across the Arctic Coast of Canada to Labrador in January. That would at least alleviate the language barrier that crossing Siberia would entail.
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