Adventurer Yuri Klaver has just returned from a remarkable solo-expedition into the far east of Siberia. With a kayak he travelled over the Russian Indigirka River from Oymyakon to Belaya Gora, nearby the Arctic Ocean. In 45 days he covered a distance of 1000 kilometers and was the first westerner to climb the high Porozhny Mountains. A report on the adventure is in progress at www.outdoorempathy.com.
The expedition was not without danger. Klaver reports “I mostly feared the gorge through the Porozhny Mountains, halfway the route. A satellite picture clearly shows the whitewater sections, twenty white spots over a length of one hundred kilometers. The only available report had been made by Russian rafters many years ago. As the report didn’t mention the category of the whitewater, I was left in complete uncertainty. It could be anything up to class V, roaring masses of water that could easily tear apart my fully packed sea kayak.”
The real danger however came completely unexpected. “The very first day I paddled the Suntar River without any suspicion of what to come. I approached a large forest to make a sharp turn to the right. It was too late to discover that the river went straight under a large pile of driftwood, made from large trees that were ripped from the riverbanks by the river. The kayak was parked against the wood and was almost pushed under the water. I could barely leave the boat and get my equipment on solid ground. From that moment the journey didn’t impose any serious problems.”
Most strenuous were the multi-day hikes into the mountains. There were fallen trees, loose rocks and marshes. And of course there were the mosquitoes. During one of these explorations the rain came pouring down, and I started to worry about the kayak far away on the riverbank. According to Klaver “A river like the Indigirka can rise two meters within a short period of time. With a little bad luck, your boat will be lifted from the riverbank to be carried all the way to the Arctic Ocean. The nearest village was two hundred kilometers downstream, so I shouted with joy when I found the kayak at the same place I left it, with the help of GPS.”