Cold, constant, and crazy, but it just might be soo AWESOME

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by xuare, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    The goal would be to go before the breakup happens. 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?

    I think it will only be answer by a preliminary trip to AK to experiment with the ice. If the crags are as "small" as Going South's images imply, then it's doable. I think they will be bigger, though, as many of his pictures were not fully frozen areas, which will compact the ice flows more and exacerbate the problem.
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  2. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    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.

    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.
    [​IMG]
    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. :baldy

    If a "reasonable way" includes a helicopter to lift the bike over the rough spots - it will be a piece of cake. :lol3

    Undoubtedly. :nod 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.
    #22
  3. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    Thank you, excellent comment. I found another site that put to sea many of my other hopes:

    http://www.angusadventures.com/beringstrait.html

    Noteworthy items:

    1) The sea ice is not fully hard at any particular time, which would make a motorcycle crossing impossible
    2) Chukotka is the only Russian state that still requires Soviet-style permissions to enter, cross, etc. While entry into Provideniya is allowed, it seems like you would need a minder or some manner of communication with the state government, which would be difficult

    Further, from some of those custom Russian vehicles on Youtube you can see some of the non-permafrost tundra areas aren't rock but essentially ground floating on water. That would be physically impossible to cross without flotation tires and a 3+ wheeled vehicle. If expansive, I don't see a feasible way to cross without a purpose built 4x4 (or 6x6) flotation, amphibious vehicle:
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/C6j5NQbNb8s" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
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  4. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    Adding some more information. It appears to be traversable, however by foot / CC skis:

    http://asksiberia.com/2011/05/<wbr>dimitri-kieffer-knows-how-to-<wbr>get-from-uelen-anadyr-<wbr>chukotka-to-magadan-via-<wbr>anadyr-kamchatka-far-east-<wbr>russia/

    http://www.google.com/search?<wbr>q=siberian+tree+line&ie=utf-8&<wbr>oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:<wbr>en-US:eek:fficial

    If the "Traversing the sea via ice" section would need to be revamped to include a boat crossing instead, The problem then becomes water saturated ground conditions and the NE Siberian rivers... is there any possible way to cross without them being frozen? Hmmm...
    #24
  5. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    There was a French explorer, who wanted to become the first woman to travel solo to the north pole. Soon after setting off in 2004 she vanished, and nothing has been found, that might give a clue, what happened to her.

    While it would be nice to sound more supportive, I think what you dream to do, has an extremely high likelyhood of ending in a similar fashion.
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  6. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    I take solace in knowing that going something like this alone would indeed be foolish, and that I don't possess stereotypical French arrogance or a will to surrender :D

    One other thing to keep in mind, if this becomes both possible and a summer event is that visa's for Russia may be lessened to becoming nil for the 2018 FIFA Tournament...
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  7. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    It appears that INMARSAT has a coverage hole near the Ideterod Trail going to Nome:

    [​IMG]


    This is an additional safety hazard if a SAT phone is used as a mitigation for mishap.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regarding the crossing of rivers, it may be possible using two inflatable pontoons mounted to the bike at the highway pegs and passenger foot pegs. I think the ideal level for flotation will be with the crankcase and transmission just below the waterline. This would be used for a summertime crossing of NE Siberia. Mud will probably be too big an issue during the summer thaw though...

    Some tips possibly from http://www.searoader.com. See the image of the KDX. My plan was to row, but powered transit it worth asking about. Tire type / profile will make a difference...
    #27
  8. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

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    I just saw this picture and it reminded me of this thread.


    [​IMG]
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  9. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    A few Poles tried this very thing (at least going East towards Anadyr:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=239330&page=58

    Further, Colebach suggested a different route with better roads. Based on the map, It can be done to connect Anadyr to Magadan, but it would be really long. Basically, there are some trails that go North to Egvekinot (he recommended a boat, but there are some trails on the map). From there is a "graded road from Egvekinot thru Pevek, Bilibino and Chersky. From Chersky find a barge to take you up the Kolyma River to Seymchan."

    I am adding this to the GPX file and recalculating the map. I am not sureif it is possible to get from Provideniya to Egvekinot on a vehicle due to mountains and rivers. However, there is a road going N and then W I found on the new SATNAV data, but part of the images are in winter and the road can't be seen when the map switches to snow covered landscape.
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  10. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    How about a 'warm-up' trip first: see, if you can reach the seashore on a completely roadless terrain in winter conditions?

    That's no walk in the park, it would be challenging, and potentially very dangerous, too, but at least you'd stay on solid ground, so there might be some sort of hope of a rescue in case of emergency.
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  11. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    Winter would be very treacherous. I would agree it's probably not safe without, at minimum, a guide and some artic survival training. I would like to reiterate from earlier I do not believe enough of the Bering Sea or the Chukchi Sea is freezing to make a safe passage. The continuing records being set for sea ice melting are definitely not helping...

    Right now I believe the best plan would involve going via boat to Anadyr from Nome or Mys Shmidta [or other options] from Point Hope during warm weather.

    There are a lot of other factors for arctic expeditions in winter that would be a planning nightmare. It would affect everything from fuel loads (must bike be kept running, even overnight since -40 or lower?) to type of bike. I also think it would require a "snowbike" conversion kit, and apparently those things can struggle on a 250cc (without baggage, tools, and extra fuel loaded on them) and are not really designed for / stable on ice. They also don't work well on ice, apparently and it would be a guessing game on where to leave it (to big to take with you). If you went bigger than a 250 your bike may not be nimble enough for the no-trails areas after reaching land, etc., etc. It would be a difficult trade space to work with
    #31
  12. crewwolfy

    crewwolfy Adventurer

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    I would also caution in putting too much weight into anything done or stated on Top Gear. While I love the show, it is an entertainment series, not documentary. Truths are stretched, scenes are scripted, and footage is edited to create an exciting, but not always truthful, viewing experience.
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  13. OneTraveller

    OneTraveller Social Reject

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    If you are interested in some experience gaining efforts, they Iditarod trail is run every year by snowmobiles. This would give you a good experience on the types of conditions you might face and expose you to some beautiful country.

    Mike
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  14. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Even thinking about being alone on a floating mat of crumbling ice scares the living shit out of me. Good luck with this one, you're far braver than me.
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  15. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    Probably need to update the objective based on current evidence:

    The ocean, she don't freeze. Current best plan is to take a boat from Nome to Anadyr via Provideniya as a boat-stop (using Iditerod to access) or the shorter option of Mys Shmida (sp?) from Point Hope (going up Dempster and across the tundra). From either point in RUS, mainland should be accessible as long as fuel is planned (portions where 1200km w/o fuel stops are found according to "3 KTM go East, revisited"). Other than fuel management, most of the unexplored-route risk gets shifted to Alaska and that can be controlled by changing departure points within the state if needed. The other research item is boats and where they can leave from. For instance, Point Hope has no discernible harbor...

    I no loneger think a route south from Anadyr is going to be possible without building your own trail along the way.
    #35
  16. kuroda_tadayoshi

    kuroda_tadayoshi Kuroda

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  17. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    When my dad took my brother and I salmon fishing in Alaska, he had a saying:

    "You don't have to be able to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the slowest person in your group."



    He also neglected to mention the speed of the slowest person goes up as the party gets smaller...
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  18. rick3foxes

    rick3foxes Been here awhile

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  19. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

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    More info. The Amarok Polar Expedition used the northern strech I was debating, they just went east then way south of my anticipated landing spot of Mys Shmidia.

    [​IMG]

    Link to website.

    I'm also curious how much they needed various bodies of water to be frozen to complete the trip. I'll have to ask. My intent was during summer after all...
    #39