Lake Baikal

Start your journey 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.

  • No longer accepting applications
  • Age 21-25
  • March 2021 (exact dates TBC)
  • Up to £2,000 (more details available on application)
  • Lake Baikal, Siberia
  • Russian tourist visa required
  • Further details given nearer the time
  • Selection event: March 2020
  • Briefing weekend: April 2020
  • Explorer training event: TBC

It will turn whatever you have into something great

Young Explorer

What's Included?

  • British Exploring Society Expedition Certificate
  • John Muir Explorer Award Certificate
  • Support with your Duke of Edinburgh Award (residential only)
  • Participation in Next Steps
  • Lifetime membership of British Exploring Society
  • Support to continue your development journey after expedition

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

Join us. You are about to change your life

The details

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.

Trek across the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake

It doesn't matter where your starting point is; you'll return with more confidence in your own abilities; greater resilience, determination and courage - and a sense of self-belief that will stay with you for life.

“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

‘Five weeks in the Zara Valley has been an experience of a lifetime. Trekking to the highest peaks, battling altitude, the crisp ice as we scaled the glaciers… What an incredible adventure. I am not only taking away memories, I am taking home a wider appreciation for the environment.’ Jennie, Himalaya 2017

Jennie - Himalaya Explorer

I loved every minute of what was a life changing experience with some amazing people. I feel I learnt valuable skills and am now in a position to go on to do an awful lot more than I would otherwise have been able to.

Isaac - Himalaya Explorer

From seeing Woolly Monkeys on the Pini Pini ridge, to a snake in our latrine, the British Exploring Peru trip was an unforgettable and unique experience. Although it was sometimes challenging physically and mentally, looking back on it now, I can safely say I enjoyed every minute.

Charlie - Amazon Explorer

Wow! What an expedition. This has undoubtedly been the best 5 weeks of my life. Some of the best moments have been summiting peaks, listening to the Dali Lama and going on 2 glaciers. I have found all the Science really interesting and have learnt so much about the world and myself. I would recommend this to all young people as it really has been amazing.

Katherine - Himalaya Explorer

It’s been life changing. This has been the first programme I've gone on that's worked for me and has really impacted me. I’d describe myself before expedition as a shy and nervous kind of person who worries a lot, but after finishing the expedition I've really changed and I now feel confident in myself and my ability to push my limits.

Young Explorer

Applications for Lake Baikal 2021 ARE NOW CLOSED

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