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Russian photographer sets off on 1,800-mile journey across the Arctic

Published time: February 08, 2011 20:00
Edited time: February 08, 2011 23:25

RT joins the icy training of a Russian photographer who is preparing to do a 1,800-mile run across the world’s coldest destination.

Travelling above the Arctic Circle alone might not be everyone's idea of a good holiday, but Vlad Minin, explorer, photographer and adventure journalist, says that nothing can be better than a 3,000-kilometer trek across the permafrost.

The aim of Minin’s expedition is to investigate and compare the standards of living between native Alaskans and northern Russians. He also hopes to explore environmental and ethnographic tourism potential in polar areas.

“I love deep travel, not just sitting on the beach drinking some cocktails,” Minin told RT. “I love to explore my homeland, which is much more than Moscow.”

During his unusual holiday, Minin plans to cover 3,000 kilometers of permafrost and tundra from Anchorage, Alaska, to Cape Prince of Wales, attempting to reach the most eastern border of Russia on drifting ice.

In such icy conditions, nothing is more important than proper equipment. As the median temperature in Alaska is -30 degrees Celsius, an adventurer needs a very tough sleeping bag.

“Sometimes you wake up in the night and everything around is frozen,” Minin said.

Another important thing is a tent. It should be very light, as an Arctic traveler carries everything on his back. Minin has also bought special clothes and shoes.

“My arctic boots have eight layers of insulation,” Minin explained. “This is exactly what you need in -100 Celsius. They have a special waffle system for water. When you are walking, water gets inside, but these boots take moisture away from your feet, so that it doesn’t freeze your legs.”

It is also important to wrap snow shields around your pants. Hunters and explorers alike can sit for hours without danger from frostbite, which can creep up without warning.

Although this is not Minin’s first icy trip, he is still engaging in rigorous training with an expert before taking off.

The training includes different experiments with arctic conditions. One of the exercises replicates a situation when a traveler suddenly falls through the ice. By taking the plunge, adventurers teach their bodies to respond automatically.

In the Arctic, there is no dry tower: you can only run across the ice to dry snow and roll in it to get the water off you. Then you have to stand up and rub it all over your skin and hair.