Two British adventurers have completed an astonishing 400 mile trek across one the world’s largest frozen lakes – with the ice cracking beneath their feet.
Phil Sturgeon, 50, and Ash Routen, 32, first met on a ski touring trip in 2016 and challenged themselves to cross the enormous Lake Baikal in Siberia.
The pair walked for ten hours a day in -35C temperatures to walk the entire length of the frozen lake in 19 days.
Incredible footage of their adventure shows the ice, which was 40cm thick, cracking underneath them as they hauled an 80kg bag on a sledge across the frozen surface.
The pair, from Derbyshire, survived on porridge which they boiled up using water which they melted from the ice on the lake.
Plumber and dad-of-two Phil said: “Ash called me up one day and said ‘I’m putting together this adventure are you interested?’
“I immediately said yes, for me it was more about making time to get off work – I needed about a second to say yes.
“Ash had done a lot of leg work and research into the trip – you could say he’s the brains and I’m the brawn.
“No one had told us that the ice would crack as we walking along it.
“The noise was like a cross between fireworks and computerised battle ships, it was quite phenomenal.
“One day Ash was having lunch on the ice by himself and a block of it had broken off and fallen into the water – that was pretty scary.
“The coldest ever temperature we felt out there was somewhere between -25 degrees and -28 degrees.
“But with a wind-chill it was close to -40 degrees – I had been in minus temperatures before but nothing like that.
“Once you were moving it wasn’t that bad but it was important to keep moving.
“There were sometimes were you felt like packing it all in, two weeks into the trip and
knowing we had another week to go was hard.
“If something had made us stop and bail out I wouldn’t have minded at all.
“The last third of the trip was harder as it was more remote – but when we set off we thought this is the quickest way home so let’s go for it.
“We were on a 5,000 calorie diet a day, in the morning we would have a 1,000 calorie breakfast which included porridge and a few hot drinks to keep us warm.
“Through the day it was be chocolate bars, flapjacks and sugars really, would couldn’t have bread as it would just freeze.”
Ash, a PhD student, added: “We kind of got really fed up of sugars by the end of it.
“In the evening is where we would have the most calories it was be eating meats and fatty foods – such as salami and cheese, also oat cakes.
“If I’m honest we pretty much lived off melting ice into hot water.
“Even thought it was gruelling hard work it was worth it – the beauty of the ice was phenomenal.
“We saw all sights such as the mountain range and wildlife – I even saw a bear, which was great.”