Pinnacle expedition to Lake Baikal

Our first Pinnacle expedition takes Young Explorers to Lake Baikal located in southern Siberia, Russia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.

Lake Baikal is the world’s largest (by volume) and deepest freshwater lake and contains more than 20% of the world’s fresh surface water. The lake is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts exceptional biodiversity, with many species of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. Formed in a rift valley, Lake Baikal has a fascinating geological history and offers a remarkable range of study opportunities.

The physical challenges of this expedition will be considerable; you will be living and working on the frozen lake with temperatures dropping as low as -20 degrees and you will need to haul all the kit and equipment you need using pulks (sleds) which you will drag behind you. The expedition will be a considerable test of endurance.

As an Explorer on this challenge you will be given access to remarkable opportunities to develop your character, knowledge and skills, both pre and post expedition. Working with exceptional Leaders for an entire year before departure you will have the opportunity to work together as a team to plan your expedition, taking into consideration; required provisions including sustenance and equipment, logistical requirements, navigation, risk management, itineraries and setting your science goals.


What's involved

• Trek across the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake
• Learn to live in freezing temperatures
• Develop specialist skills for living and travelling in harsh winter environments including trekking and camping on ice, dragging pulks and undertaking field research
• Enjoy a diverse programme of scientific study and research
• Take part in creative media projects to document your expedition
• Develop life skills in areas such as communication, teamwork, organization and leadership
• Work towards completing your John Muir Award (Explorer Level) for environmental awareness and conservation 

Facts and figures

• Age: 21 – 25-year olds
• Expedition Dates: Three weeks in March 2021 (exact dates TBC)
• Location: Lake Baikal, Siberia
• Selection event: March 2020, Scotland TBC
• Briefing weekend: April 2020
• Explorer training event: TBC
• Visa: Russian tourist visa required
• Vaccinations: Further info to follow
• Fundraising amount: Up to £2,000 (more details available on application)

“If I’ve learned anything in nearly 12 years now of dragging heavy things around cold places, it is that true, real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and from challenge, from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown.”
Ben Saunders, polar explorer, Fellow of British Exploring Society

The expedition has been designed to take you out of your comfort zone in a challenging environment, with a real focus on the skills and personal development you will gain from the experience. The safety and support of our explorers is the cornerstone on which we build and develop an expedition from conception through to departure and return. Visit our safety and support page for more information.

A selection weekend will be held in March 2020 in Scotland for all those who have applied. This expedition can only accommodate 12 Young Explorers and we are looking for those individuals who can demonstrate outstanding commitment, determination, resilience, teamwork and a ferocious appetite to learn. All Explorers must have previous expedition experience and be able to demonstrate a level of skill and comfort operating in challenging outdoor environments.